Building a Community Through Gaming

My name is Calvin Webster. I am a foreign trainer at school 2 in Nanjing, but not only that - I am also the WeChat administrator of soon to be organization Nanjing Video Gamers. A big part of my childhood growing up was playing video games. I’ve always enjoyed video games and what I enjoyed most about it was how it was able to build community and the enjoyment of a shared experience between everyone playing. I started working at EF in the summer of 2018 and I have been living in Nanjing for a little over 7 years. In that time I never really found a community of expats or foreign students who were into it as much as I am. 

One summer my old roommate and I were at a bar talking about the world cup and we came up with the idea of trying to host a PS4 FIFA tournament. After much on and off discussion about the event we eventually decided to go all out on it. Both of us never really had much experience hosting a video game tournament so this for us was a very exciting endeavor. First, we visited many bars and we found a few suitable for our needs. The one we decided to go with in the end was a bar called Tap Planet. Secondly, we decided that before hosting the tournament we will do a few trial runs at the bar as an event called “Open Game Night” where we would bring our ps4s and have people just come and play a lot of couch multiplayer at the bar at the same time collecting WeChat information from patrons who participated. We ran several of these events and posted flyers for our event on WeChat and Facebook. 

Finally, the big day arrived we hosted our first ever video game tournament in November. Even though I myself am not a huge FIFA player, I did enjoy watching the games and the intensity of some of the matches especially in the final rounds where it came down to penalty kicks.  Since then we’ve hosted 4 tournaments - 3 FIFA tournaments and one Tekken 7 tournament. All of which were very entertaining not only for the players but also for the spectators. 

There was a lot I learned and gained a lot throughout this whole experience and I think the three biggest takeaways from this experience were these:

One understanding that if 10 people say they are interested in doing an event expect only 1 of them to actually follow through on it. This really gave me a newfound respect of the CC role at work having to call so many prospective parents only to have 1 show up for a demo.  

The second is community. Finally there is a community of gamers in Nanjing. There wasn’t so much of a community, at least none of that I know of, the 7 years I’ve been here and there is so much potential to do big things around Nanjing with our group. As host of the WeChat group I’ve been taking a little initiative to invite people to my house once a month or so or meeting in a public place to game and hang out together or even trying to “squad up” with random people in the group in games.
  Lastly realizing that this has become a lot bigger for just two people to handle. If I want to be serious and build a more prominent community in Nanjing, I will need help the community to help our group become a large social group. I hope that this year that the group will continue to grow and one of the many gaps in language between foreigners and Chinese will be filled through the shared enjoyment of playing video games together. 

By Calvin NJ2

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