Gunder Hosts Virtual Game Night

Language teacher Dylan Gunder hosted and streamed on Twitch a gaming event for students and teachers to play games such as Among Us.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Language teacher Dylan Gunder hosted a virtual Game Night on May 12 with students and faculty coming together to play popular games like Among Us. The event was two hours long and was streamed live on Twitch for spectators to watch. The Game Night was an opportunity for members of the Stuyvesant community to come together for leisure while staying in the comfort of their own homes.

Gunder, who teaches French II and Spanish II, was inspired to host such an event by the teacher-student sports events that he attended as a child. “Teachers [played] against students in [...] volleyball and then basketball,” he said. “I was like, oh, we can do something similar with gaming.”

Gunder cooperated with and received input from other staff to host this event. “I had to talk with [Director of Family Engagement Dina] Ingram, and I also talked with [Assistant Principal of World Languages Francesca] McAuliffe. And I kinda asked them for their ideas and we collaborated on ideas via e-mail and [language teacher Manuel] Ramirez also had [...] some good ideas,” Gunder said. “So I kinda used a combination of their ideas and what I thought might be feasible to accomplish, and that’s how we came up with it.”

The game selection was conducted through a student poll that had been sent out earlier in the week. The top contenders were Valorant, a first-person shooter game, and Among Us, a multiplayer survival game. Gunder had initially decided to include both out of popular demand. “Valorant was actually the top result. There [were] also a ton of people in the ‘other’ section that had put Among Us. Based on a combination of what people wanted to see and also what was feasible and realistic to do at the time, I decided to do Among Us and Valorant,” he said.

However, Gunder ultimately decided to only play Among Us to accommodate members of the staff and for more simplicity in live streaming. “I had to get rid of Valorant because I think it was going to be too difficult for the teachers to learn, so I wanted to pick something that might be easy to learn if anybody wanted to join in [...] I [also] didn’t really know how to stream the audio of [Valorant’s] two teams at the same time [or] the video,” he said. “It [would have been] really complicated to figure out so I figured for the first event of this kind, just keep it simple.”

Spectators watched the game live through Twitch, a video live-streaming service selected for its widespread use and gaming characteristics. “I wanted to choose something that everyone was familiar with,” Gunder said. “I wanted to use [it] because it has some fun chat features and fun things for gaming-specific things that I could use in the future.”

To participate, students signed up through a Google Form and were randomly split into two groups for two rounds of the game. “The way that I selected the students was based on the people who signed up [...] I divided it into two and I did [the selection] via random name generator,” Gunder said. Rather than a tournament-styled game, there were different team wins each round, with either the imposter or the crewmates coming out victorious.

Sophomore Shreya Roy, a student in Gunder’s French II class, moderated the chat throughout the livestream. “I heard about the event after Mr. Gunder e-mailed his classes asking for a moderator. I, addicted to Twitch, took the offer,” she said in an e-mail interview. “I overlooked the chat and made sure everyone was staying school-appropriate, even if it’s Twitch.”

To accommodate for all participants, Gunder faced a challenge of making the technology easily approachable to all. “There’s a lot of teachers that don’t know this world of gaming. It’s like a mystery to them,” he said. “You need to buy the games, oftentimes, you need to use different platforms [...] I know some of the students are recommending using Discord, [but] using Discord then requires that people download Discord. There are multiple opportunities for things to mess up.”

There were also technical issues during the live streaming and playing itself. “The stream was sometimes laggy, the stream echoed, the Zoom had security issues in which people weren't allowed to join,” freshman Ivan Li said.

Despite some of the technical drawbacks, those who participated thought positively of the event, especially with teacher involvement. “I found it quite entertaining. [...] It was exciting, and something new for me. I'm sure most students can't say they've ever watched or played video games with their teacher before,” freshman Talin Schlachet said in an e-mail interview. “What's not to like about an event where you can do some of your favorite leisure activities all while getting to know some of your fellow students, and while being able to see what your teacher is really like outside of school?”

Many hope to participate again. “Watching Among Us made me really yearn to play, so maybe next time I'll attend as a player rather than a viewer,” Roy said. “My favorite moment has to be when Mr. Gunder, as an imposter ghost, flew across the map randomly closing doors. The other imposter and two players were in Electrical when Mr. Gunder closed the doors on one of the players about to leave, basically sabotaging a potential kill. He didn’t notice, but I could feel the other imposter’s frustration through the screen.”