An eclectic crowd gathered at the University of Houston Libraries for the first-ever Game On, Cougars! event this month.
Over 130 gaming enthusiasts enjoyed an afternoon of friendly competition in board games and video games at the Rockwell Pavilion in the M.D. Anderson Library.
Activities included a Mario Kart tournament, a booth with library pong, and a game library where users checked out picks like Marvel Legendary, Smash Up, Small World, and Dominion.
The Street Fighter IV tournament was the spirited highlight of the event, with 20 contenders and many spectators.
In addition to a wide selection of games, food and over $100 in prizes donated by gaming vendors, UH students and community guests were also treated to game demos by librarians and discussions with local game designers. An unexpected benefit of the event involved the connections made by computer science students and game developers for potential internships in the industry.
The event drew a range of visitors, including alumni, faculty, staff, librarians, prospective students and other walk-ins from the Houston area. Anecdotal feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and boosts the likelihood that this will become a recurring event at UH. Many students were pleasantly surprised that their campus library held such a fun, nonacademic event.
“It was really nice to see students interact with the community,” said Rachel Vacek, head of Web Services and co-chair of the event. “There were people who came with their own games and taught others how to play.”
Vacek, a gaming enthusiast herself, drew support for the event from colleagues who are interested in gaming, as well as UH faculty who teach gaming design. She hopes to develop more campus partnerships for future events at the UH Libraries.
The UH Libraries hosted Game On, Cougars! in conjunction with hundreds of libraries around the globe in celebration of International Games Day @ Your Library, an initiative of the American Library Association.