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The Scarlet & Black

Cribz: It’s GAME time

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Evan Hein
From left: Joe Brown `25, Nathan Hoffman `24, Marisa Goffman `24 and George Matthes `25 are always GAME for a good time.

An official “Game House” sign standing outside 1128 East St. marks the building as one of the College’s six project houses. Passersby might assume that it serves as a shared living space for video or board game enthusiasts, but its residents seek to correct that misconception.“I wouldn’t say any of us are real gamers,” said Marisa Goffman `24, house coordinator.

The sign outside actually overlooks the fact that GAME is an acronym. “GAME stands for ‘Grinnell’s Alternative Methods of Entertainment,’” said Goffman. “It’s literally anything that’s not substances. So that could include video games, card games, board games, cooking, painting, haunted houses, smashing watermelons.

Goffman lives in GAME House along with nine other students –– Nathan Hoffman `24, Sam Takahashi `24, George Matthes `25, Joe Brown `25, Em Huss-Lederman `25, Maya Albanese `26, Saki Ehara `26, Isabel Smith `26 and Anne Mester `26. The house was established in 2019 by students who wanted to plan substance-free events, a goal that resonated with Goffman when she applied to become house coordinator. “I really liked the mission of the house and the people,” she said.

A haunted house and “watermelon bash” are two of GAME House’s most popular fall semester events, each recurring annually. Even in February, the remnants of 2023’s haunted house remain around every corner –– and in the memories of GAME House residents.

The house’s living room contains an ornate, green-tiled fireplace, several cozy armchairs and small tables piled with board games –– “Comically small tables,” joked Matthes.

“We have games because we’re GAME House,” said Albanese. After a pause, she added, “I have yet to play a game in here, actually.”

From behind one of the living room’s chairs, Matthes unearthed “Richard,” a halloween mask outfitted in a bright red babushka-style kerchief atop a cellophane-wrapped torso. “We’re still cleaning out,” Goffman laughed.

Maya Albanese `26 with “Richard,” the house’s own mannequin mascot.

Behind another chair, Albanese revealed another creature hiding in the living room –– Rummy, the concrete frog, purchased at the Grinnell Farmers Market. “He just kind of chills in the corner,” she said. “He’s shy,” added Brown.

To the left of the living room, GAME House opens into a large kitchen-dining room hybrid. It is in this room that the “pivotal moment” of each haunted house occurs, said Matthes. Asked if it is ever hard to cook and eat meals in the same room as a bloody scene each October, Matthes responded, “I think it’s easier.”

Other residents seemed to disagree. “We have all these fake cockroaches in a box somewhere,” said Hoffman. “I swear they were out for an extra month after we were done before somebody finally put them in a box.”

Not far from the kitchen, Hoffman lives in a bright, colorful single room. The walls are covered in vinyl album covers, including records from Pinegrove, King Crimson and Norah Jones. “I definitely put all of the more visually appealing ones on the wall,” Hoffman admitted. The room is full of projects created by Hoffman himself, including a patchwork bedspread, cajon drum and record storage crate.

Nathan Hoffman `24 brings his A-GAME to wall decoration. (Evan Hein)

Up the house’s stately wooden front staircase, Matthes and Brown share a large room decorated with posters featuring Icelandic singer Björk and (another) King Crimson album cover, as well as an espresso set-up. Their room serves as one of the only sites in GAME House where video game-playing actually occurs. “I play a lot,” said Brown. “We play a lot of the same video games, actually,” added Matthes, naming “Europa Universalis IV” and “World of Warcraft” among his favorites.

 

Matthes and Brown might secretly be traditional gamers, but, according to Goffman, “People don’t live here for the games. I think people live here because it’s a really chill house.”

“It’s not like you have to be really into something,” she said. “You can just be cool.”

Though the residents of GAME House may have their own separate interests, the process of planning and executing the house’s events serves as a unifying experience. Residents emphasized that the substance-free aspect of events is not necessarily their focal point. Instead, fun always comes first.

“The sense of community is nice,” said Matthes. “The focus is just on making them [events] really fun.”

“We do events we want to go to,” added Hoffman.

As for events this coming semester, Goffman asked that students “Stay on the lookout.”

Applications for GAME House residency, along with other project houses, should be released later in the fall semester. To be added to GAME House’s email list, contact [gamehouse].

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About the Contributors
Nora Kohnhorst, Staff Writer
Nora Kohnhorst is a third-year history major from Queens, NYC. This is her first semester as a staff writer, but it is her third semester at The S&B. She is a retired bread baker and active knitter. She also works at the Stew Makerspace in downtown Grinnell!
Evan Hein, Staff Photographer
Evan is a second-year psychology major from Kansas City, Kansas. He once had to ask his friends to describe him in one word for a psych project. 33% of the twenty-five descriptive responses were the word “ginger,” followed by a small chortle.
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