NerdFest Returns With Great Fanfare

It may be Valentine’s Day today, but nerds ruled Stony Brook yesterday.
The SBU Gamers Guild hosted its second annual NerdFest (appropriately dubbed NerdFest 2.0) in SAC Ballroom A on Feb. 13. The event showcased a wide variety of clubs associated with video games, comic books, anime and more entertainment deemed nerd-worthy. Students rushed to NerdFest filling up the room well within the first hour and more continued to show up throughout the night.

Full house in SAC Ballroom A for #NerdFest #JRN320

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The outpour of students at the show kept the members of Gamer’s Guild running around the Ballroom through the night. One member in particular was Gamer’s Guild President Alice Quiros. The 21-year-old senior computer was running from table to table and club to attendant. Quiros and the Gamer’s Guild have taken great care in NerdFest’s setup.

“[NerdFest] took about a month to put all this together,” said Quiros, taking a break from her duties to enjoy one of the cupcakes available at the back of the ballroom. “It definitely took longer to book the room and contact the clubs to attend. The clubs come for the free advertisement and to be a part of the community.”

While sharing the space with organizations like Stony Brook’s Anime Club, Book Club and WhatCon, the Gamer’s Guild made its presence known with four stations at the event for gaming. Using primarily Nintendo systems (specifically the Wii and Wii U), players surrounded by a crowd button-mashed their controllers on games like “Super Smash Bros. Melee” and “Mario Kart 8.”

Oh NOW the party can start #NerdFest #JRN320

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NerdFest hosted clubs that were preparing for future events on campus, including one of the biggest draws on campus: Humans vs. Zombies. The campus-wide hunting game, where students with Nerf guns (humans) would try to hunt down or evade other students with a deadly touch (zombies). The head organizer of the game, 21-year-old senior computer science major Asher Kaufman, was at NerdFest looking for participants in the game this spring. Even with the many attendees at NerdFest, participation doesn’t sound like a problem to Kaufman.

Humans vs Zombies at #NerdFest #JRN320

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“Last year at NerdFest, we had 20 to 30 people sign up,” said Kaufman, “and we normally have about 500 people playing on campus.” So why is there such a draw to hunting the living dead in-between classes? “People just love zombies, with shows like ‘The Walking Dead’,” said Kaufman. “Zombies are part of nerd culture now.”

Students sat around to play various board and card games like “Sentinels of the Multiverse: Vengeance,” and “Kittens in a Blender.” Other students were seen designing and assembling magic wands or miniature models of the giant robots featured in the popular “Gundam” anime series. With all of this activity surrounding the SAC Ballroom A, the common feature in it all was conversation and connections amongst fellow nerds. Smiles, excitement, in-jokes and pop culture references filled the room with 8-bit dance music in the background. There was no shame in being a nerd at NerdFest, but pride and joy.

Among those enthusiasts was Veronica Johnson, a 19-year-old freshman biology major dressed up as comic villainess Harley Quinn from the “Batman” franchise. The words “cool” and “awesome” were brought up many times when she chatted about her love for the comic book killer. Johnson went so far as to describe a particular moment in the “Batman” series where Quinn and Batman crash through a toy store and Ms. Quinn just laughs in sheer bliss. That same bliss was seen on Johnson’s face as she describes the scene, along with on faces of everyone in attendance.

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