Super college entertainment system
Last semester, my friend Amy was all excited because of what she was bringing back with her from home. It wasn’t her new iPhone (which she might have by now) or a new TV, it was something much more awesome: a Super Nintendo.
Featuring advanced titles like Street Fighter 2 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, the Super Nintendo offered entertainment like our dorm had never seen.
Now, keep in mind, we weren’t deprived of 21st century technology. In a two-room radius of Amy’s dorm, there was a Nintendo Wii, and Xbox 360, a Playstation 2 and a Nintendo Gamecube available. We had Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Resident Evil 3, but the presence of that gray and purple box brought too much nostalgia.
You could say that we made a weird choice. But the truth is, to a group of poor, overworked college students, 18-year-old technology is just more fun.
Look at it this way. For the past four or so years, most kids in high school were playing the newest games thanks to funds from the bank of Mom (or Dad). But now that these kids are in college, the funds are gone and all that’s left are the same games you’ve been playing on your PS2 for the last three years (Madden ‘06 for me).
So, the only way to get a new game is by going back to one you haven’t played in nine years. And hell, you remember all the tricks of the game, so you’re right back where you were in seventh grade.
It’s that sort of “back in the day” feeling that you’re going to find on any dorm floor and at almost every floor meeting. Not everyone knows what’s going on in Lost or plays Halo, but everyone watched Hey Arnold.
At the beginning of the year, and especially for freshmen, there’s a lot of insecurity and awkwardness because of the fact that dozens of kids were just thrown into living within 10 feet of each other and want to make some friends.
How do you do that? Not by showing off your new iPhone (no one cares about that), but by keeping your door open and playing Mario Kart 64. People complaining about getting blue-shelled are much more approachable than those with their doors closed playing Final Fantasy XII.
Now, you could argue that having a Playstation 3 or an X Box 360 is a big deal (and making you, by proxy, a big deal as well), but those things cost money and their games take forever to get into. Got Goldeneye? There are at least 20 people on your floor that want to play it – now.
If you’re the kind of guy – or girl – that has their door open, you’re going to get at least one solid friend out of it. Half the reason I have my current roommate is because we both played Super Smash Bros. Melee, Starfox 64 and Earthbound.
You don’t have to get plastered to have a good time (especially on a weeknight, go to class). It may help, but it gets expensive and you shouldn’t be drinking anyway (if your RA asks). But I digress.
No one cares about your new iPhone. Unless you bought it yourself, then everyone knows you’re loaded. Cars are annoying. If you have one, everyone’s your best friend on a weekend and wants you to be their designated driver or to take them to Wendy’s. But if you have an N64 in your room, you’re the coolest kid on the block.
Video games, especially the classics, are a uniting force for college students. The Mario Karts and Mario Parties of the world can sometimes bring people together better than a half a handle of Captain Morgan’s you bought off a senior for 25 bucks.
And if you don’t like videogames, find something you and other people do like. Whether it’s reading, listening to music, or exercising the new laws set forth by Proposition 2, there are other people that want to do the same.
Regardless of what you do, keep your door open.
Nick O’Malley is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.