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Eight-bit and beyond: Get a life with Level Up, JSU's group of gamers


Jared Starr, founder and administrator of Level Up, JSU’s gaming club, says of his club,“We do a bit of everything. We play, we share stories, and just try to have fun.”

Dedicated primarily to video games, the club covers all platforms and periods since the hobby began. 

You can drop by for a discussion on the latest physics engine or the newest patches to your favorite game, or you can stop by just to learn about the hobby.

“Walk-ins are welcome, we’re always looking to expand and bring new players into the club,” assured Starr.

Starr says he also tries to plan group events each semester: “We held a tournament last semester, and we’re thinking of trying to organize release parties for some of the newer games coming out now.”

The club is also dedicated to discussing the history of video gaming.

The rise and fall of the industry, the Great North American Video Game Crash of 83, to the medium’s revival a few years later, thanks mostly to the NES—and a certain nameless plumber.  

“We were just talking about the fall of Sega at the last meeting,” said Starr. “We might pick that back up next time, or switch to something completely different.”

Topics range from the historical evolution of gaming, to the designs and philosophies behind it.

The discussions also delve into the reasons why some developments held on and led to sweeping changes in the medium, and why some fell by the wayside.

Learning about the hobby, and the thoughts and motives behind it, is another focus of the club.

Of course, there comes the actual playing of the games—the club provides its own systems at most meetings.

As Starr himself puts it, “I’ve got a collection stretching back to the Atari all the way up to the most recent-generation systems, so I’m usually bringing something different every week.”

Attending members and prospects are also more than welcome to bring their own consoles: “Especially anything that’s relatively obscure,” said Starr. “We’re always looking to learn about hidden gems.”

Games and systems brought out to the group’s meetings have ranged from Sega Saturns, old Nintendo consoles, handhelds, and there’s even an Atari or two floating around in the pool somewhere.

Whether you’re a diehard gamer that can recite your achievement list by heart or a newbie who’s only video game experience are of a world full of mushrooms and pipes from days gone by, there’s a home for you with JSU’s gamer group.

Meeting times may be found, as well as further information, by inquiring at the group’s Facebook page—simply enter “JSU Level Up” in the search bar.

Grab your controllers, pull up a chair, and join Level Up for a tour of worlds of wonder, fascination… and perhaps an entertaining Easter egg or two.

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