Video gamers reflect on pros and cons of the hobby

Video gamers reflect on pros and cons of the hobby

Mrudula Sriram

 Master Chief wakes up. He doesn’t know how many years in the future it is, but the only reason he’s alive is because his body was preserved in his suit. He finds out Cortana, his Artificial Intelligence, is dying, and he must do what it takes to save her. But when he goes through the portal and ends up on an unfamiliar planet, he’ll have to battle the aliens, eventually led by ancient, evil foe Forerunner, in order to meet up with the UNSC and save Cortana.

Junior Ben Coutilish lives this reality often when he escapes to the video game land of Halo 4.

“It’s kind of like an escape from reality when you play,” Coutlish said. “ It feels like you’re another person in a totally different world. When you win, there is an amazing sense of accomplishment, knowing that you actually succeeded in something apart from real life.”

While gamers do love the rush of excitement associated with video games, some admit constant gaming comes with drawbacks as well.

“Playing about 3-5 hours a day, I have noticed they are a major distraction factor and take up a lot of my homework time, which definitely leads to less sleep and poor grades as the end result,” sophomore Lauren Lauth said.

Like Lauth, there are also other people who believe too much gaming can be hazardous toward the mind and body. Despite being an avid video game lover himself, English teacher Andre Harding is familiar with the effects of a video game addiction.

“Like a drug, they can be addictive and rob one of time, health and mental growth,” Mr. Harding said. “In America, we tend to overindulge in things that give us pleasure, so too much of a good thing can be deadly!”

In addition to gaming’s impact on academic achievement, there is also a debate over the effect of video game violence on society.

“Violence in video games doesn’t exist; the only reason why people think it does is because of careless parents getting their four year old kids games like GTA 5,” Coutlish said. “When kids are exposed to that from a very young age, they start to copy things from those games and act out in real life.”

Mr. Harding thinks the video game violence would be resolved if parents were more involved.

“Parents [should] do a better job of regulating time spent with video games and actually parent their children,” Mr. Harding said.

In the Harding household, his kids are only allowed to play video games on the weekend, but Mr. Harding said it can be an enjoyable family experience.

“[I play] whatever my kids play,” Mr. Harding said. “They are fun! My family loves competing in board games or video games.”