Morales immerses self in world of video games, engineering


Coppell High School junior Marcos Morales plays the video game Overwatch on his Cyberpower PC and Ace monitor. Morales is not only a gamer, but an aspiring engineer who has mastered 3D printing as well. Photo courtesy Marcos Morales

Alishba Javaid, Staff writer

It only takes a few clicks to dive into the engineered virtual world, but much more to engineer 3D printed products yourself. For Coppell High School junior Marcos Morales, gaming is something that fuels his engineering as well. Being a part of the CHS Gaming Club for two years and the engineering endorsement pathway for the past three years, Morales finds gaming to be one of his biggest influences. 

When did you start gaming?

The first memory that I have of playing games is probably in second or third grade when I got the first console, which was a Nintendo DSI. It’s not much, but I remember that it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. I remember running throughout the house screaming that I got it on Christmas Day and ever since that point, I’ve just been engrossed in video games. 

Why do you like gaming?

In elementary school, I didn’t have that many friends, so when I went to video games, it was just a different world for me to immerse myself in. It’s the same reason I used to like books. For books, you’re putting yourself in a brand new world. That’s what video games are, but with video games, you actually have the dialogue happening and you can see the characters physically. You don’t have to imagine them for yourself, and pretty much everything is built out for you so you actually have a memory of it. 

That’s a big part of why I remember video games and why I like them so much – it’s because of the memories they give me. 

What do you like about engineering?

One of the biggest aspects is something called the engineering design process. No matter what kind of engineer you are, you’ll always be given a problem and you’re going to have to solve it. That’s the main reason why the engineering design process is so great.You need to brainstorm your ideas, make sure they satisfy the criteria and constraints of whatever you’re doing and make sure it’s a viable solution. 

I really want to be a material science engineer, mostly because I like the prospect of making brand new substances. The best part is there’s not really a limit on what you can do. We keep having new problems and relationships. 

What is the relationship between engineering and gaming?

A lot of engineering situations I think of as gaming situations. A video game has steps to it, which you need to follow in order to win. For example, if you’re playing against another opponent, it usually starts with you trying to kill them and then capturing some kind of objective. In engineering, I need to make sure I kill any problems that are posed to my own design first and then start working towards my goal. The most important part is taking care of anything that could go wrong before it goes wrong. 

How did you learn to 3D print? 

A few years ago, I got a 3D printer for myself. It’s not the best 3D printer ever, but it taught me some of the fundamentals of printing. We actually got new 3D printers at this school this year, so I actually ended up developing an entire training course for [students] to go through for these 3D printers. Now over half my own class know how to 3D print. Once I had a 3D printing guide completely written out for everyone in my class, I first started 3D printing something. My friends and I love playing Uno, so I ended up printing a [case] for it.

What advice do you have for non-gamers?

I really do think it’s a good thing for anyone to play some kind of game. It doesn’t have to be a video game, but something they can use to unwind. Video games aren’t the only thing I like to play. Board games are super fun with my friends and sometimes we play games in the park. So a gamer doesn’t necessarily mean only video games, which is what the stereotype is today. 

Gaming is like a culture – you share the experiences you’ve had gaming and then through this conversation, gain new ideas about what you can do. There’s pretty much a game for everyone out there. There is something for you out there to relax and have fun if you just look for it.

What is a stereotype about gamers that isn’t true?

A lot of people think that gamers are kind of introverted and don’t like to get out much. For me, I don’t see myself as introverted and I do have quite a few friends that are extroverted. They’re super outgoing and they still love video games. Even myself, I used to believe that stereotype and that’s kind how I formed myself into who I am, but I’ve let myself go from that because I’ve seen there’s so many different types of people who play games. 

The view of someone just staying in their house all day, playing without any social contact is just not true these days. A lot of the best games are multiplayer, so you are forced to have social contact. The best part of games is not just playing them, but talking about them with someone else. 

Why is gaming important to you?

Gaming is one of my biggest connections to my friends and pretty much a part of me. Without gaming, I’d probably not have as close of a relationship with my friends. It gets me away from real life sometimes. Gaming has definitely gotten me through some tough times. Sometimes, I felt like gaming gave me that little push to keep moving forward. 

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