Monopoly-themed pinball, Pac-Man and Robotron are just a few of the games available for free to students when they visit the dining hall.
“This is something specifically for Rams,” said Brandon Thomas, a spokesman for Carolina Dining Services. “Carolina Dining does several things like this. They call them monotony breakers.”
Today is the last day the games will be at Rams Head. Thomas said CDS rented the machines for three days, which cost about $800. The money came from its marketing budget. The plan was never to keep them long term.
Sophomore Dylan Bruney said he was ecstatic about the games’ appearance at the dining hall.
“I’m an avid gamer, so I absolutely adore them,” Bruney said. “It’s like Christmas came early.”
Thomas said many ideas Carolina Dining Services gets are from student suggestions. There is an online survey students can fill out for the rest of the month to send in suggestions.
“It’s just kind of an advantage of having a meal plan and the experience that comes with that,” Thomas said.
Students think it is a great way to pass the time.
“You know, when it’s really busy at night in here, it’s good to do while you wait for a table,” sophomore Angela Johnson said.
Crowds pile up to see their friends play the games. Each person thinking they will be better than the last pinball gamer.
Occasionally, students get frustrated with the difficulty and walk away from the game, but only after slapping the side of the machine as punishment. Some stop for a moment to simply recognize a good Instagram picture when they see one.
They’re not the only ones curious about the machines, though. Dining hall staff walk by curiously on their break to see what is up with the games. Some even take the time to stop and give the games a whirl.
Sophomore Bryan Lester said he could see how some people might be annoyed with the games because of the crowds and noise they create.
“I’m pretty sure my girlfriend would kill me if we sat over here,” Lester said.
Harriet Spears, a dining hall employee, enjoys the presence of the machines.
“I think it’s a good idea to have a pinball game in here because it gives students something to do after they have a long day in class,” Spears said.
Although the arcade games are just a pop-up event, some will be sad to see them leave.
“I’m going to be kind of heartbroken because I wanted to play the games,” freshman Ayoola Ajani said.