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Gaming Room Opens in Leverett

New ‘Harvard Gamespace’ boasts Xbox 360, Wii, 13 games, and 3 chairs

By Andrew Okuyiga, Crimson Staff Writer

Residents of Leverett House now have yet another way to procrastinate during reading period. A student gaming group has set up a “Harvard Gamespace” in Leverett House where students can get their video game fix.

Tucked away on the first floor of Leverett F-Tower, the Gamespace boasts a big screen television, an Xbox 360, a Nintendo Wii, surround sound, and 13 games. The room’s library includes popular titles such as Madden 2007 and Wii Sports, and organizers said that plans are in the works to add a Playstation 3 by next week.

According to Harvard Interactive Media Group (HIMG) President Benjamin S. Decker ’08, much of the equipment was donated by Microsoft and the video game company Electronic Arts. He said that both companies have been “incredibly supportive” of HIMG’s endeavors since its founding this fall.

Now Harvard students who desire to test their skills with a “Wiimote” or want to challenge their friends in “Tiger Woods Golf 2007” can get a key from the Leverett security guard’s office to access room F-3 and all of its gaming resources.

Decker, who estimated that 20 to 30 percent of undergraduates play video games, said the Gamespace is designed to further his club’s goal of making video gaming more accessible and social for students.

“You can play computer games alone in your room, or you can play with friends and make a memorable experience out of it,” Decker said.

A similar initiative was attempted for a trial period in Lowell House two years ago, but did not draw enough interest to remain open. The Lowell gaming room required players to bring their own gaming systems, and according to Lowell House Administrator Beth Terry, the space was simply too small to hold large groups of students.

For all the gaming power the Leverett center houses, the space itself is rather modest. The small room contains only three chairs, and the paint brushes and other art supplies lining the shelves are relics of the room’s previous use as the Leverett Arts Space.

Current plans call for the room to be used as the Gamespace’s interim host for the rest of the semester, with the possibility of a move to a bigger home in the fall if the project is successful, according to Leverett House Building Manager Paul J. Hegarty.

Hegarty said he was open to HIMG’s idea because TV watching in Leverett’s other common rooms often precluded any gaming activity, and the art space was under-used. Hegarty also revealed an ulterior motive for supporting the space.

“I can practice on Madden to finally beat my 12-year-old nephew,” he said.

—Staff writer Andrew O. Okuyiga can be reached at okuyiga@fas.harvard.edu.

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