1 Up Game Club Overview and Tournament News.
Even the greatest ideas come from humble beginnings. For Eastern Oregon University’s 1 Up Game Club, what started as a chance encounter between two friends in Hoke Union slowly blossomed into a staple of campus culture. Now, five years later, the 1 Up Game Club continues to host a diverse and welcoming community of tabletop and video game enthusiasts of every platform, genre and niche, with a few events along the way.
“It’s basically just a place to hang out, relax, forget your studies and worries for a while, make new friends and play games,” founding member Chris Youngman told The Voice.
The origins of the game club are about as college as it comes, being the brainchild of two students, Chris and AJ Fangman. Inspiration for the club began after Chris decided to bring a PlayStation to Hoke Union for a quick escape from the college grind.
“It was just one day I was really tired of school…I just grabbed my PS4 and PlayStation controllers…and just started playing Borderlands and left a note on the second controller saying join if you want. No one did, but AJ saw that I was playing games and within the next week he approached me and asked if I wanted to help him start the game club here on campus. And I was super pumped for it and then we had our first meeting a month or two later,” Chris said.
The club has continued to hold meetings since, bringing all numbers of students and games to their roster. Currently, the club has about 12 active members that participate during in-person sessions on Fridays, though the numbers have been restricted slightly due to Covid according to Chris. During the club’s legendary 24-hour, and more recently 12-hour, game nights, as many as 40-60 people would join in the fun, with Chris reflecting
“The ones I like the most and the ones I hate the most are usually the same ones, it’s like the 12- and 24-hour events. I love seeing everyone just come together and play games for such a long time, there’s no requirement to stay the whole time, you can leave and come back after you’ve had a nap or something. And the reason I hate it is I’ve been up for 24 hours, and I have to put everything away.”
Whether you’re staying for a 24-hour binge or just popping in to say “hi” for a few minutes, the game club has you covered. As Chris noted, “We try to keep a variety, so we don’t focus on one type of game,” giving people an opportunity to find something they enjoy. Current favorites among the members include various installments of Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers along with other fighting games like Tekken and Dragon Ball Z Fighters. If you’re a tabletop fan, then don’t worry, as Chris explained, “we have a whole shelf of different board games that we bring out every Friday and just have people play games, whatever they want… I think the most popular one is either Werewolf or Haunting on the House on the Hill.” If nothing strikes in their inventory appeals, then the club has a few TVs on hand where anyone can set up their own console or PC.
Fighting game fans also have something big to look forward to. The Game Club is hosting the “Mountains of Might” Super Smash Brothers tournament Friday Feb. 11 in Hoke 339. Registration opens at 6:00 p.m. with brackets starting at 7:00 p.m. Signups are free, and casual matches of Mortal Kombat, Tekken and Street Fighter will take place in between matches. According to Chris, the tournament is meant to be accessible to new and casual players.
“We’re just trying to get the beginner players to try it because we know that those kinds of fighting games are hard to get into, especially when you go to tournaments, and you have all of these people that have been playing for years and will totally kill you.”
For those still interested in the more competitive side, the EOU Esports program will also make an appearance at the tournament as part of a collaboration with the Game Club. Though now a distinct group, The Esports Program and the Game Club still often collaborate and support one another.
Beyond the “Mountains of Might,” no further events have been confirmed, but according to Chris the club might organize a follow up tournament to include the EOU football team, who were originally planning to join in “Mountains of Might.” There are also some talks about running a Magic the Gathering event.
“We’ve been trying to get collaborations with a lot of different clubs, and we have, it’s just always nice, especially after Covid, to boost our presence on campus because a lot of people have forgotten what everything offers after almost two years,” Chris said.
From a solitary night of Borderlands came five years of laughs and late-night binges on the top floor of Hoke. The EOU 1 Up Game Club continues on as a welcoming venue where students relax and nerd out for a while. And it’s not just on-campus students that can get involved. For anyone looking to keep up with club news, play remotely or just have a chat, check out the 1 Up Game Club discord server.