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Tyler’s Tirade: There’s more to life than videogames

Tyler Davis, Opinion Columnist
Tyler Davis, Opinion Columnist

Tyler Davis, Opinion Columnist

I am slightly embarrassed to admit that a few weeks ago I succumbed to a friend’s constant badgering and finally applied for a 10-day trial of World of Warcraft. I played for two days and enjoyed it as a time-waster before thinking: “What am I doing?”

It is a fun distraction, because that’s what it is: a distraction and nothing more.

A lot of people cannot handle distractions, especially those with addictive personalities. When you reach the point where you can no longer focus on schoolwork because you are so compelled to start WoW and go on ten-hour gaming binges, a distraction becomes a problem.

“I play [videogames] because I find it very enjoyable – [playing as] alter egos, other worlds, [doing] things you can’t do in real life,” said senior Deanna Obos. “They’re interesting and stimulating.”

According to Nick Yee, an American researcher who studies self-representation and social interaction in virtual environments, the average player spends 22.7 hours a week playing World of Warcraft. In a year, that’s 1180 hours spent sitting at a computer, mindlessly clicking to earn worthless virtual rewards.

Can you imagine doing anything for 1180 hours straight? That’s a whole month, and then some.

“I originally started [playing videogames] because it was just in the house, but I got more into it because it was entertaining, fun, and generally time consuming,” said junior JT Benz.

“Entertaining, fun, and generally time consuming” are all something that could be said for recreational drug use, but videogames do not develop a physical dependency in the same way that most drugs do.

“Addiction is more of a ‘you have to have it’ kind of thing,” said Benz. “When people talk about videogame addiction nowadays, they’re just saying people spend too much time. It’s a choice, really.”

Excessive videogames are simply another way for people to project their desire for gluttony and mindless addiction.

“Are they [videogame addicts] any different from the people in society who go on 12 hour drinking binges? Or party every Friday and Saturday?” said Benz. “They do what they enjoy.”

The classic representation of a videogame nerd no longer stands true as videogames have become more and more mainstream, especially with the advent of Xbox Live. Most videogames are played with friends, whether these friends are local or international. Videogames can help build relationships if the player is into that kind of thing.

I personally am an isolated player. If I don’t play with friends, I don’t talk to other players. For me, videogames are an escape from people. I don’t want to log onto Xbox Live only to hear two ten-year-olds jabbering at each other in screeching prepubescent tones (“You’re a cheater!” “No, you’re a cheater!” “No, you’re a cheater!”). For people like me, videogames would become a very antisocial addiction.  There are better things to do.

The key to videogame addiction lies in knowing one thing: all things should be taken in moderation.

“In all honesty, yes I do [think there are alternatives to spending all your time on videogames],” said Obos. “Lately, I haven’t been playing much…but I still enjoy my time – going out, drawing, singing, even just sitting there and thinking.”

There is a time and a place for everything. Videogames are not an inherently negative activity. I love videogames, but it is just painful seeing friends spiral out of control and refuse to even leave the house anymore. There needs to be something more in life.

“In the summer, going outside is [important],” said Obos. “Summer nights are a good time to play… No school for a while, no need to wake up early, videogames until 6 a.m.”

When you turn 30 and look back at your high school years, what do you want to remember? The serene summer nights spent driving around with your friends, breathing the fresh air, and listening to good music? Or do you want to remember the never ending raids in your cramped, stuffy bedroom? It’s your choice. Just make sure you won’t regret your decision.

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