Some students are taking their gaming love to the next level.
Game Mechanics Research Studio, or GaMeRS, is a Registered Student Organization that promotes video game research and development. Robert Craig, the RSO’s faculty advisor and information technology computer specialist, said GaMeRS consists of three main components: game design, preservation and industry.
Craig said the RSO provides students a way to learn game design they otherwise cannot learn in class.
“My hope is that at some point game design will have a place in the curriculum,” he said. “Seeing that moment will be awesome.”
Craig said GaMeRS also celebrates gaming history. The RSO focuses on maintaining or restoring older games, specifically ’80s-era titles, he said.
“A part of our pop culture history of that era was dropping coins in games, and that was really the only place you (could) play them,” he said.
Craig said GaMeRS has also hosted Skype interviews with such industry speakers as David Ellis of Vicious Cycle design, and Eugene Jarvis of Raw Thrills design. Jarvis said he designed arcade games Defender, Robotron, Smash TV, Cruisin’ Exotica and Target Terror.Andrew Clausen, RSO president and senior from Dwight studying electronic systems technology, said he enjoys the guest speakers Craig invites because they give him a realistic portrayal the industry’s extent.
“Any industry portrayed in a textbook is often very different than what it is in reality,” he said. ”It is very interesting listening to our guest speakers, as they describe they’re own decisions as they go through something.”
Clausen said the club exists to examine and develop video games.
The organization offers something the university’s curriculum does not, he said.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “Ever since I was very young I wanted to be able to control the images inside the television, and so video games, computers have been always been a great interest to me.”
GaMeRS is working on making their own video game this semester and will develop its plot and mechanics, Clausen said. However, it may be difficult because game design is not taught in any university classes, and some members are not familiar with the design programs, he said.
“It’s been difficult because there isn’t an existing video games program in place at SIU,” Clausen said.
The club is exciting he said, but it may not be for all gamers.
“The club isn’t for everyone, and I know that because I have friends who don’t want to know anything on how games are made,” he said. “They just want to play them.”
Clausen said the ability to educate himself and others in Gamers is rewarding.
Alan Franklin, GaMeRS secretary and sophomore from Marion studying psychology, said the RSO could give him an edge in his dream career as a producer, computer action specialist or an artificial intelligence creator.
“I personally joined the RSO since I have always had an interest in gaming,” Franklin said. “I have been considering even looking into developing a degree toward gaming as well as trying to find a job in it.”
Franklin said the RSO welcomes those interested in the creative side of video game design as well as the technical side.
“If people are interested in creating video games, we’d love to have them here at GaMerRS” Franklin said.
GaMeRS meets every Tuesday at 3 p.m. in Applied Sciences C212.