By Stacy Cummings
Comic Con and Gen Con are on the rise here at IUPUI and the School of Informatics and Computing’s gaming clubs are growing in members. Clubs such as Anime, Cosplay and 3D Game Developers Group are newer here on campus, but there’s one gaming group that been around for a while and becoming increasingly popular. The Gamers’ Guild Club was founded more than 10 years ago and its slogan describes it best, “If you bring it, we will play it.”
While the Gamers’ Guild has been around for years bringing in hundreds of members, there’s something different about 2014 that is bringing a specifically huge change to the club for the first time in five years. The long-running president, Jon Rick, has decided to step down and members have elected Michael Burt to replace him.
“I feel bittersweet about it,” said Jon Rick, 28. “When I first announced that I was for sure going to step down. People started to freak out. That made me feel needed, and that’s a wonderful feeling.”
Rick said he is removing himself from the position now in order to make the transition of the next president smoother as well as focus on graduating this May. He plans to graduate with a degree in non-profit management and public affairs with the School of Public Environmental Affairs.
The Gamers’ Guild meets every Friday from noon until midnight. It is a non-committal organization where people come to play games, and thanks to conventions such as Gen Con, Gamers’ Guild is becoming more popular.
“It is fantastic,” said Rick. “It happens right before the start of the fall semester.”
Gen Con is a 40-year-old convention that happens once a year. It features board games, card games, role-playing, computer games, etc. It is one of the largest conventions in the United States and has been held here in Indianapolis since 2003. The Gamers’ Guild takes pride in being a small version of Gen Con.
“People will go to Gen Con and they’ll come to school and we’ll be like ‘Yes! You know Gen Con? We do that stuff. That is our thing. We’re like a mini Gen Con every week,’” said Rick.
While Gen Con has definitely been a great asset drawing in newer people to the Gamers’ Guild, Rick has been the main reason why numbers have drastically increased over the past five years. Members, as well as the academic advisor of the club, Mathew Powers, agree.
“We’ve gone from maybe 20 or 40 members to a couple of hundred now,” said Powers. “We’ve done charity works, Halloween parties, and live-action wizard chest games on the lawn. None of this would be possible had it not been for Jon.”
Photograph provided by IUPUI Gamers’ Guild
The Gamers’ Guild now includes sub-groups such as: LARPing group (live action role playing), red-ring club (In reference to the Red Ring of Death for Xbox), Magic: The Gathering, etc. The club also runs silent auctions and tournaments throughout the year. Other clubs such as Cosplay and Anime team up from time to time and each group is considered families to each of the members.
“I’m really just proud of him,” said Powers. “The next president will have some extremely huge boots to fill.”
Other members such as Allison Cardona, 21, and treasurer of the Gamers’ Guild, also express their gratitude towards Rick for everything he has done.
“Jon was the president we needed not the president we deserved,” said Cardona. “He built guild up to what it is today and has created the great community that has become like a family to me.”
Rick expresses what it is like to see so many enthusiastic people come and have a great time despite what others may classify what a geek is.
“There’s this stereotype about geeks and nerds being this wall of people who don’t know how to handle people, and when I get 80 people in there laughing and playing games I know that’s a lie,” said Rick.
Michael Burt plans to continue the growth of the group. Events will be held to incorporate what the members want to do.
“Jon made guild into what it is today,” said Burt. “I don’t plan on making any major changes to that. Guild has always been something made by its members for its members, and being president just means I get the honor of facilitating that.”
As Rick leaves the club this semester, he still plans to be around and help Burt if needed. He leaves us with his last and final advice to students who are not involved in anything on campus and wish to be a part of something.
“Sometimes being a commuter campus, IUPUI may not look like it’s got the best community life on campus, but if you look for it you can find it,” said Rick.