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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Club spotlight: WWU Button Mashers

By Drew Stuart

Under the cover of darkness, students meander their way through the rain into the Communications Facility. It’s a Friday night, and a particularly bleak one at that. So what’s the deal with these students hauling their video game consoles and laptops to school when they could easily play at home?

It becomes apparent once the rain has stopped and the consoles are set up. At first, it’s quiet, but slowly the energy in the room builds to a cacophony of laughter and shared enthusiasm for gaming. These are Western’s Button Mashers.

The Button Mashers were formed in 2010.

“The club is left open to vastly different members of all play styles with the intention of growing friendships and having fun,” according to the club’s statement of purpose.

Statements of purpose are fine, but only offer a vague image of what a club really is. Seeing the Button Mashers come alive is entirely different. Each section of the room has something for everyone.

The Button Mashers busily type witty responses to text prompts in The Jackbox Party Pack 4. Party games are a popular attraction at the Button Mashers, often holding the attention of over half of the club. // Photo by Drew Stuart

Are you interested in playing Dokapon Kingdom with a few friends on your Wii? Excellent choice. Just want to spend some time alone playing Super Mario Odyssey? Go for it. The Button Mashers encourage you to game however you see fit.

All-night gaming sessions are held every once in a while, and people come and go as needed. The club doesn’t exist for the purpose of achieving some goal, the club is the goal.

The club has allowed several club members, many of them computer science majors, a space to breathe and relax. Preston Carroll, vice president of the Button Mashers, is one of those people.

“You go here for games, but what you really get out of it is being able to share and connect with other people,” Carroll said.

Carroll has been a part of the Button Mashers since fall 2016, and in that short amount of time, Button Mashers has had a big influence on his life.

“It’s been significant. I met my current roommates here, and I’ve met more people within the school because of the club,” Carroll said.

The main event would have to be Jackbox Party 4, a party game where up to eight people can participate in whacky trivia and text-based challenges. Well, everyone besides Izzy, a club member’s dog. She was content to collect pets and wag her tail amidst the laughter and competition.

Izzy, 7, patiently waits for a session of petting. Izzy is a labradoodle who loves to greet members of the Button Mashers with open arms. // Photo by Drew Stuart

The WWU Button Mashers meet at 6 p.m. every Friday in CF 226.

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