The motion bluntly states that “all electronic games consoles connected to a television are to be removed from the JCR and that any future additions of a similar nature be voted upon by the JCR”. It was argued that the presence of the PlayStation meant that four people could, and did, dominate the TV and the bar, making it a less sociable environment. A further point of contention was that, whereas the installation of a darts board in the JCR had required a motion, the PlayStation and FIFA had been put there, without a vote, and somehow allowed to stay for two years.
FIFA has previously had a stormy relationship with the Permanent Private Hall’s authorities. The College Valediction Dinner, attended by parents and the principal, was interrupted two years ago by shouts of “you f***ing f**k I can’t believe you f***ing won” from gamers in the bar, after a particularly competitive match.
Although the motion has little to do with this previous incident, the JCR believes that episodes such as this are indicative of the divisive and anti-social nature of having a PlayStation, FIFA and other games. Indeed the game has proved so dominant that the bar room is colloquially referred to as the ‘FIFA room’ within the Permanent Private Hall.
Opinion within the PPH is generally receptive to the measure, with one student commenting, “For me, although it regrettably means I can’t hone my frankly enviable FIFA skills and spend my days dominating the pitch, it does mean I finally get to watch real men running around on the screen instead of fake ones, which really don’t have quite the same appeal.”
Even a self described “FIFA addict” declared his support for the PlayStation’s removal stating, “Whilst I am certainly addicted to FIFA, I’m even more addicted to having a congenial atmosphere in the bar room so I am all for the motion.”
Another anonymous FIFA-playing member of the college similarly welcomed the motion commenting, “We have a particularly sociable JCR and the absolute priority is to keep it that way. If banning the PlayStation means more people in the common room, then I am very happy with that – besides, I might get some work done!”
Not all voices were so positive however. Thomas Fawcett, who opposed the motion, dubbing it “fascist”, told Cherwell, “The ban on Regent’s PlayStation 3 represents a saddening concession to ignorant populism. I did my very best to offer a spirited defence of the console’s importance to our enjoyment of university life here at RPC, but the outcome of the vote was apparent before debate even began.”
Although many other colleges have games consoles in their JCRs and bars, students seem unconcerned that such a measure could spread. Emilia Demetriades, a first year law student from Jesus, which has an Xbox and PlayStation, declared herself in opposition to any similar action stating that, “In the same way that FIFA and other PlayStation games create anti-social behaviour they also encourage those members of college that would not enter the JCR except for the PlayStation, to come and socialise within the common room, surrounded by their fellow peers.
“With the right games and the right attitude towards the games they can be used to encourage people to get together and participate in activities, rather than them isolating themselves in their rooms. Perhaps an allocated time and day for when group gaming sessions could take place would overcome this problem of so-called ‘anti-social behaviour.”