Games have been an important part of human history. From ancient times to our times, games have evolved to reflect the values, culture, and the lives of the people who created and played games. For me, games have been a way to learn, explore, and create things in a way I was not able to with other forms of media. Because of this, I decided to ask other students about the games that have been impactful on their lives as a way of encouraging others to engage with this media.
The sound of a joystick moving around, headphones on, friend on the other end of the call. Focused attention on the screen, pixels bouncing all around as he moves from one side of the screen to the other. Nathan Ferguson is playing a game on the PlayStation 4.
Ferguson is a sophomore trumpet performance major and member of the Black Student Union, Brother to Brother, Gaming Club, Intramural Basket Group, Golf Club, Symphonic Band and Trumpet Ensemble. He commented, “I try to interact with different people around campus. That is basically it.”
When asked about a game that has been impactful to him, Ferguson’s first response was a joke. “Since I have come to Lawrence, I would say…the game of life,” he said. After laughing, he answered seriously, “A literal game that has impacted me would either be ‘Rocket League,’ ‘Assassin’s Creed IV’ or ‘Dragon Ball FighterZ.’”
To give a short snapshot into each of these games, “Rocket League” is a game where, according to Ferguson, “you play solo or in a team with one, two or three other players. You score goals with these rocket-powered cars.” The game is similar to soccer. “I hope to get really, really good at the game just so I can do different special tricks,” Ferguson said. “I would like to do aerial tricks; if the ball was flying towards my goal, I would go up the wall and block it in a flashy way.”
When Ferguson talked about “Assassin’s Creed IV,” he mostly referenced its online multiplayer. Here, you try to complete different assassination missions to beat other players.
“Dragon Ball FighterZ” is a game where you can select different characters from the “Dragon Ball” series to go up with one another in head-to-head combat. “This is a game I like to play with one of my friends from high school,” Ferguson said. “It is one of my ways to keep in contact with him.” Games are a great way to stay connected, as many Lawrence students know. For Ferguson, these games have also been a good way to find relief. All students know that Lawrence can be a very stressful place. Games are a way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind and enjoy another world for a while.
Ferguson selected these games mostly because they are what he has been playing since he has come to Lawrence. However, he feels a greater connection to games in general. “I feel like games are a way to escape into these different worlds and universes where you can be this person who saves the world,” he said. “You could also be this person who destroys the world. Those gateways into different realities and the opportunity to go into them with friends bring a lot of fun.” He continued, “I feel like games are the reason I am the way I am today just because of how many games I have played in my life.”
If you are lucky enough to catch Ferguson, you may be able to sit down and watch as he scores a goal from halfway across the field in “Rocket League,” stabs someone in the back before subsequently getting stabbed in the back in “Assassin’s Creed IV” or mashes out some wicked combos in “Dragon Ball FighterZ.” Or, you could just sit down and have a nice conversation and catch up on the news since your last visit.