The sounds of laughter and the clicking from video game controller buttons resonate from the Rattler’s Den every Friday night. Since fall 2010, the FAMU Video Game Club has been inviting hardcore gamers and curious passersby to video game nights and tournaments.
In 2008, friends Kreston Shirley and Garrett Bey invited friends to their fifth-floor room at Gibbs Hall to play video games. Shirley, a junior Computer Information Systems student, said “word got around.”
When Shirley and his best friend Bey moved off campus in 2009, their gatherings moved with them. Their Friday night get-togethers became a weekly ritual. Their small gatherings grew in size.
During the summer of 2010, the two gamers and their friends started taking steps toward making their video game obsession an official club at Florida A&M.
“We thought it’d be cool if we could branch out to get more FAMU students,” said Shirley, a native of Washington D.C.
The pair’s friend Troy Ferguson, a third-year physical therapy student from Kingston, Jamaica, helped them “formulate the plan.”
The group pitched their idea to the Office of Student Activities, filled out the necessary paperwork, and became FAMU’s first video game club.
The club is dedicated to gaming and introduces members to new games on a regular basis. They boast 60 members, and have a core group of 30.
Ferguson said they have grown because people were curious. When the club was in its early stages in the fall, people would come into the Rattler’s Den and sit and watch them play.
“We’ve seen a variety of people come in,” Ferguson said. “In the beginning people would come in and ask. Eventually they’d end up joining in.”
Although the FAMU Video Game Club has used fliers and social networks to spread the message about their meetings, Shirley attributes the club’s growth to word-of-mouth marketing, similar to its growth in Gibbs Hall in 2008.
The Rattler’s Den is the perfect place for the VGC, said Shirley, the club’s president.
“It’s a big open room, and until last semester, no one was really in there,” he said.
Shirley said the VGC has “livened up the place with more equipment.” The multipurpose entertainment room owns two Xboxes, but members of the club have donated gaming equipment as a way to give back. Members have given games and consoles of every shape and size, like Guitar Hero and a PlayStation.
Still true to its humble beginnings, the FAMU Video Game Club is a meeting place for friends.
“It’s not a club that aims at a specific audience of people. You can meet a variety of people. It’s a great way to meet friends,” said Ferguson.
They meet each Friday, from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the Rattler’s Den.