People stream audio and video of them playing video games as a profession. There are a few reasons for this. First, the technology allows for it. Second, good entertainers communicate directly with their audience and enjoy the success or failure of a game in real-time. Finally, for this article anyway, video games are not what they were in the '80s, '90s, or even 2000s. Billions of people play video games on their phones in addition to those who buy Nintendo's and Xbox's. Schools and companies are gamifying their procedures to hook students and employees on a level-up system pulled right from video game "achievements" innovations.
This is all to say that video games are not something we should frown upon when it comes to fraternity recruitment. Given that more of our social experiences are online than at any time in the past, we should learn and teach the use of video games in a fraternity (or even corporate) recruitment setting. May I explain? Great, keep reading:
1. Potential members can see how well brothers work together (and vice versa)
There is possibly no greater test of brotherhood than a competition. Whether it's an internal election or intramural tournament, the willingness for members to help one another will be put to the test. A potential member can easily determine whether the brothers of a chapter are willing to help each other and the less skilled in a team video game.
Brothers, too, can get a better idea of how a potential member plays on a team. Many modern games are designed to make teamwork and collaboration an essential element to success. How do potential members solve problems? During my interview process for my job at the fraternity, the interviewers took us golfing. I had never golfed before, but winning the game of golf was not the point of the trip. The interviewers took us out to observe us in a competitive setting. I do not know their criteria, but I know that I was a terrible golfer and it did not tank my interview.
2. How well does someone adhere to specialized roles or functions?
In Nintendo's Splatoon, two teams of four players compete to cover the floor of each stage in as much of their team's color paint as possible. Teams that do well usually employ a variety of weapons and roles. Some players kill opponents to prevent them from covering the floor, while others focus on covering as much area as possible.
But trolls are not limited to social media. Some gamers get a kick out of standing in a corner and jumping around, contributing little to the game. (They're called "parties" and they can be hilarious or frustrating depending on how many of your teammates take part.) You can easily determine which people are there to goof off, which people can stick to a position/role, and which ones observe the playing field and act accordingly. Now, someone's lack of interest or attention in a video game is no reason to write them off. So rather than making a video game a legitimate test, use them as a way to let some people show you a better side of themselves.
3. Jerks are jerks no matter the venue
A poor sport is a poor sport. Whether it's a video game, a card game, or a ball game, they will not lose gracefully. A person who needs alcohol or drugs to enjoy a team activity (i.e., someone who only seems to find ways to turn games into drinking games) is likely going to try to inject alcohol or drugs into every activity. (Sidebar: throw good parties)
As nice as it is to have competitive and outgoing men in your chapter, it is never fun to be embarrassed in front of your peers. So if you notice someone being a jerk during your video game sessions, it may be helpful to pull them aside and discreetly explain that they need to display better sportsmanship. Whether or not someone joins your chapter, it is never a bad thing to offer true and respectful advice.
4. Creativity can shine in Video Games
Games like Minecraft, Animal Crossing, Super Mario Maker, and more encourage players to get creative. Some games emphasize developing longer-term relationships with other players to advance. These types of games can be utilized - short or long term - to explore another person's creativity or mindset. YouTube user MagicGum put together a little experiment of observing how people organize, cooperate, or in the game Minecraft.
You do not need to turn your game into a research project, but don't be afraid to create your own games or challenges unrelated to the purpose of the game. Create an obstacle course in Animal Crossing. Other, more accessible "games," like "House Party" blend gaming with video chats. They may be a better way than Zoom to practice and observe all of the above.
We should be cautious, as always. Competition can bring out the worst in some people. But as long as your chapter is not basing its criteria on "Who is the best Fortnite player?" it can probably use video games to its advantage. It's a hell of a lot more fun than a Zoom call and can be far more informative.
(This article was originally published in August 2020 and has been updated for clarity and to update and add references.)
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