The UTA Central Library hosted The Basement Launch and Level UP event on Saturday morning, introducing a video gaming, tabletop gaming and virtual reality space for students.
Located in the Central Library basement, students can check out games for consoles such as the PS4, Xbox One, Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Vive VR System, as well as PC gaming systems. It offers monthly workshops, console gaming, and space for role-playing games.
Attendees received T-shirts and pizza and were welcomed by a plethora of both modern and retro video gaming consoles during the event.
The space is open Tuesday through Sunday from 2 to 10 p.m. and also hosts “Magic Nights” for Magic the Gathering games on Friday evenings, library specialist Britt Lariviere said.
“It's not only a place for students to come down and relax and wind down and for general entertainment, but it's also space for learning and exploration," Lariviere said.
The Basement aims to curate new title releases for students such as the action game Borderlands 3, which will be available once it’s released Sept. 13, he said.
It serves a dual purpose — to entertain and to educate, said Gretchen Trkay, Experiential Learning and Undergraduate Success department head.
A space within the basement is dedicated to virtual reality and PC gaming, where students can use their Steam gaming accounts to play games.
Gaming is entertainment, no different than a person enjoying their favorite show or sports team, Trkay said.
“What we wanted to create was a space that was great for the casual gamer who wanted to connect with their fellow students and make friends,” Trkay said.
It also aims to engage students with workshops around game or app development and game critique, she said.
Tristan Arnold, musical theater sophomore and library employee, came to The Basement with his group of theater majors who have been playing Dungeons and Dragons weekly for a year.
Most of the time it is difficult to find a space that will accommodate their noise, Arnold said. He has constantly been looking for spaces to play D&D.
Arnold, also a video gamer, was fascinated by the retro Nintendo consoles, Alienware computers and virtual reality.
“It's very nice to actually find a place that there are a lot of nerds,” Arnold said. “There's always been kind of a stigma against nerds. And it's always a little bit refreshing to know that there are a bunch of gamers in the area.”
The Basement can help build a community and connect students to UTA, dean of libraries Rebecca Bickle said.
Finding a community can encourage students to finish their degrees, Bickle said.