“William Devine likes to play Risk. While this fact may not set the 21 year-old e-Marketing and Advertising major’s board game interests apart from many other students, Devine’s enthusiasm for social situations, computers and Risk is about to extend ‘CrossCampus.””
William Devine likes to play Risk.
While this fact may not set the 21 year-old e-Marketing and Advertising major’s board game interests apart from many other students, Devine’s enthusiasm for social situations, computers and Risk is about to extend ‘CrossCampus.’
Devine’s goal is to establish a new social network on campus – with a twist. Rather than a Facebook or MySpace scenario, GoCrossCampus or GXC promotes personal relationships through alliances based on competition.
The first step, according to Devine, is to divide the campus into different affiliations, or territories. Devine pictures the competition between residence halls here at Akron, or between rival Greek life organizations.
The first few days of the game involves recruiting, Devine said. Once you have your territories established, you elect commanders. You then place your armies, like in Risk, and make the decision to defend or attack. There are daily initiatives that each person has to follow, given to them by their commander.
Like Facebook, the network game was created by Ivy League students to invent social networking and encourage the already infamous Ivy League rivalries. According to a New York Times article, over 11,000 Ivy League students and alumni have played the game. Today, about 25 universities and high schools are involved as well. Google Corporation has also picked up GXC to play amongst employees.
What makes the game so addictive, though? According to Devine, it’s the social aspect.
It encourages offline relationship building, he explained. Because it only involves about two minutes of online activity a day, most of the game is played offline.
Devine said that the offline factor of the game was mostly built around recruiting, strategic planning and, oddly enough, spying.
Spies, or people playing on your team who don’t belong, make up one of the most interesting parts of the game, he explained. Spies normally exist to bring down a rival team while playing along with them. There can be a mass team vote where spies are weeded out.
That’s where personal relationships come in, according to Devine. Half the fun is figuring out who the spies are in real life, he said.
A message board from Johns Hopkins University illustrates just how devoted players can become to GXC.
I’m the guy from AMR ii who attacked OCA without following orders. I’m sorry, team, one anonymous message on jhuconfessions.com read.
His message was met with a slew of complaints. Among them were comments such as, Lame, dude, lame, Not cool, dude and What a toolbag.
Even people who don’t normally get into online gaming enjoy GXC, Devine said. Campuses need ice-breakers, and some events don’t tailor to every single group. This is a great ice-breaker, making friendships outside of the regular realm.
According to Devine, many people, especially at Ivy League schools, are referring to it as the new Facebook.
Facebook, however, forces relationships online, Devine said. GXC encourages offline relationships.
The launch date for GXC at the University of Akron is next Monday, April 21.