New casual gaming club at CMU

One of the many gaming computers available for use in Student Activity Center (SAC) Room 202. (CM Life | Courtney Boyd)

Glowing neon monitors lit up an otherwise all-dark room in the Student Activity Center at Central Michigan University. 

It is where a new gaming club is meeting, with a focus on more casual gaming experiences. Students can play games for fun as opposed to playing for a competition.

The club is supported by Luke Theis, the senior assistant director of Competitive Gaming at CMU. Theis said that a majority of the gaming clubs on campus focus on Esports and competitive gaming, but they want to change that.

Theis said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a more broad gaming club on CMU's campus that branched off into smaller esports clubs. Once the university announced support for Varsity Esports teams, the clubs shrank and merged. Now, he's hoping to widen that umbrella again.

"The main idea is to have a central club for people to join under a larger umbrella," he said. "Then if they want to branch off to Esports or create their own clubs based on certain games, they can. We want to try and support their uniqueness by being under a different roof."

The old club had over 500 members before the pandemic, and Theis is hoping to see this new club reach those same numbers eventually.

Theis said he was approached by Spencer Noggle, a current e-board member for the club, who pitched the idea to them. Noggle said he has been working to get the club off the ground since Fall 2023.

Noggle said he wanted to create a more relaxed and casual space for gamers that wasn't intense and competitive-driven. He said he has been planning to attend CMU since he was a child. When he got here he wanted to create a space for people to relax, hang out and share the same passion for gaming he has.

"I wanted to make sure people like myself could find like minded individuals ... who don't like the pressure that competitive gaming brings," he said. "It's a community for anyone who wants to play any game, and a hub for more niche games and clubs."

Madison Schamber is the treasurer for the club, and she said she was one of the first people Noggle went to once the club was approved.

"He was the first inspiration for it," she said. "He got the idea into my head that it'd be nice to have a club to meet with friends and have more casual spaces for gaming without the competitive pressure, be it cozy games or something else ... We share the same vision."

Schamber said that being at events is the best way to learn more about the club and sign up for it. She said they will be hosting Esports Open Play from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 in SAC 202  as part of Recreational Sports & Wellness Week. 

A sign-up sheet will be provided at the event, and those who sign up will receive emails on future events. Additionally, the club is still looking for more executive positions to be filled. Theis said they are aiming to have 10 to 15 executive positions total.

Students who are interested in learning more about the club or signing up can visit the club's Engage page or join their Discord.