By Megan Rooney
While walking through the tunnels of Canisius College in a hurry, one may not immediately notice the club room tucked in the right corner of the common area under Palisano. At a second glance though, it is impossible to miss the meeting space for Canisius’ gaming club: Fusion.
Marked with a sign spelling out “Fusion” with the symbols of periodic elements, the club room is tightly packed with computers, games, and members at nearly all times of the day. This is part of being in Fusion: there is a welcoming atmosphere for all members to come and hang out, even if there is no set meeting on that particular day.
Fusion, as defined by club Vice President Nicholas Foraker, is a “community of different, diverse people with one thing in common– games.” To any person who has never been to a meeting, Fusion may seem like a club in which members just play video games, but it is so much more. The club sets a high priority on the social and bonding element of the meetings, emphasizing that all games are played together as a part of the Fusion community.
There is no experience required to join the Fusion gaming society. All that is required is attending a meeting, which take place every Friday at 7p.m. Meetings include playing games on the XBox 360, Gamecube, and Wii U, as well as card games and board games. In choosing what will be played at each meeting, the e-board always chooses games that are multiplayer and that can be used as a tool for bonding and social interaction. Some of the most popular games include Super Smash Bros, League of Legends, Cards Against Humanity, and Risk.
Members can look forward to themed game nights as well. These may include themes such as space night, in which games are played based on Star Wars and Star Trek, fight night, or Pokemon night.
But Fusion does not limit itself to playing games in the basement of Palisano; they also do many activities outside of Canisius. Last Sunday, Fusion had planned on going to Canalside to play Pokemon Go, but it was cancelled due to rain and rescheduled for Sunday October 25. At this event, the members will split into their designated teams, as decided on the Pokemon Go app, with each team led by experienced representatives from the club. The teams will capture Pokemon and battle in the gyms alongside the beautiful inner harbor. This event will give new members and freshmen an opportunity to bond with e-board members outside of school, and have fun playing one of their favorite games while doing so.
Another event that the Fusion e-board hopes to host this year is an overnight stay at Lasertron. This has been an annual event for more than three years and allows all of the members to spend time together in another affordable and enjoyable off-campus event. At the event, members will play laser tag and arcade games, as well as “cyber sport,” which is a combination of lacrosse and basketball played by teams of two on highly-maneuverable cyber cars.
The e-board is also looking to take other trips this year to places such as the Strong Museum in Rochester. This museum has many exhibits that are based on games of all kinds, both digital and not technologically-based. Some of these exhibits include a Star Wars game exhibit, a pin ball exhibit, and an exhibit entitled “Field of Play” in which visitors can play different racing games. The visit will let members try games outside of their usual repertoire, as well as learn about the history and nature of gaming.
In addition, Fusion also hopes to begin sending gamers to compete in collegiate e-sport competitions. The rise of electronic sports has made this possible, and the popularity of these games is increasing rapidly. Games such as League of Legends have been streamed in football stadiums to huge energetic crowds, and there is speculation that e-sport video games may be displayed on ESPN. The former e-sport club on campus became inactive as all the founders graduated, so Fusion has taken this opportunity to include e-sports in their meetings.
These opportunities allow students to simultaneously meet other people and participate in activities they love as an energetic, active community. Sophomore member Tyler Morano commented on the first meeting he attended, saying that it felt as if everyone “was on an equal platform, regardless of age, and just enjoyed having fun.” Morano’s comment embodies the entire Fusion environment, where all games and gamers are welcome and new games are played at nearly every meeting. It is not uncommon to see games spill over and nearly overtake the lower Palisano common room.
“Fusion is an acronym for ‘Fantastic Underground Systematic Incorporation of Nerds,’” said Foraker. “But my personal spin on the name is that Fusion is describing nuclear energy, in which particles are brought together to make something big.” This definition goes a long way to describe what Fusion is: a society of diverse and enthusiastic students coming together to make something great.