December 15, 2023
By Chloe Arrington

The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering is full of faculty and staff with unique hobbies, like Associate Chair for Inclusive Excellence Jonathan Gaines who is an avid video gamer.

“I’ve enjoyed video games since my mother purchased an original Nintendo console for me when I was about five years old,” said Gaines.

Since then, he has owned just about every console. Today, Gaines says he focuses on one game, playing casually and for fun, but as a college student, he was a very competitive player in a variety of games. 

“In my prime, people far and wide used to come to my dorm room to challenge me in Tekken Tag Tournament," said Gaines. "I also like to think of myself as the greatest of all time (GOAT) in NBA Street and went undefeated for my college years, although I have no evidence to back this up."

Gaines’ go-to game in college, and one he revisits today, is Halo. “I spent summer vacations with some of my closest college friends, and I still dominate in Halo online to this day,” Gaines said proudly. “Video games have been how we have kept in contact for over 20 years.” 

Gaines treasures this bond and believes networking like this should be encouraged amongst students who are passionate about gaming. “We should tell the parents of our students that gaming is a great networking tool that can foster a great sense of belonging and it can be used to forge lifelong friendships, but students should finish their homework first,” he said.

Gaines also enjoys sharing this hobby with his children. His daughter is eight and his son is three, and they like playing and Crossy Road on his iPhone. "I am also enjoying Marvel Snap and I probably play this the most since games only take three to four minutes at a time,” he said.

When asked about his dream gaming setup, Gaines said there is nothing officially on his wish list, but when it is time to start showing his children the ropes to uphold the Gaines legacy, both will be getting gaming headsets.

“I also will probably use them as excuses to purchase the new consoles when they come out,” he added.