I have a confession to make. I am a gamer geek. And I am always looking for new ways to introduce new people to the games I love.
One game in particular has grabbed my attention for the last three years and has taken up a big part of my free time in both game play and game development. Its called Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator.
What the heck is that, you say?
Well, think Star Trek. The players are in the roles of Captain, Helm, Tactical, Engineering, Science, and Communications, and they all have to work together to defeat the enemies, survive, and win the game! It uses a series of linked computers that act as duty stations for the roles that the players take on. The action takes place when all of the players work together with the info and abilities their duty stations provide to make it all come together as a cooperative team and crew. Together, you win. Alone, you lose.
Like I said, I have played this game a lot and have taken it to local game conventions, private parties, and at home and seen how much fun people have in building a team to win the game. It was also after a discussion about how to bring people to Parkland College, especially younger, potentially future college students, that it occurred to me that maybe something like the Artemis game could be presented at the Staerkel Planetarium as a fun event and, at the same time, expose the players to the planetarium and the college!
I recall that something like this happened to me as a grade school student. A writing contest was presented to local grade schools and winners were brought to the college for writing workshops. I was one of those students who came to Parkland College those many years ago, and whether it was intentional on the part of the writing workshop organizers or not, I knew then that I would be attending Parkland in the future. If it worked back then, maybe it would work now.
I spoke to Director David Leake and the staff at the planetarium about my idea, and they pretty much did not bat an eye at the suggestion. I set up my personal “bridge” and did a play test for him to show how it would work, and over a few weeks we put together a plan to offer this game event on a day when the local schools were not in session. We sent information and promotions via social media and WPCD and before we knew it, the registration list was full, with all time slots filled.
It remains to be seen what comes of the experience of “gaming under the dome” will have on the players in relation to future students at Parkland College, but I know it will be fun, and they will have a good experience with the college. We hope the event will be well received and would like to maybe do it again. If you are curious about it, stop on by the planetarium on Monday, Oct 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and check it out! (Fee is $2 per spectator.)
If we decide to do it again, you just might want to tell your friends about it and join the fun!
[Deane Geiken is WPCD-FM 88.7‘s radio director.]