Courtesy of Drue Sokol

Video games are awesome. I can literally spend hours glued to a screen, whether it’s to complete a quest in Skyrim or keep Nyan Cat from falling into the dark abyss that is space. The fact that I use my computer to complete nearly any academic task makes it easier for me to fall prey to these kinds of distractions. All I have to do is make a few clicks and, within seconds, I’ll be absorbed into another much more entertaining world. Indeed, technology can be a cruel, double-edged sword.

Unfortunately, there are instances in which this temporary escape from reality can be so engaging that it interferes heavily with academic pursuits and life in general. Although I’m only speaking from personal observations, I find that this kind of addiction is more prevalent among the online video game community. For instance, I know a group of students that are really into this game called League of Legends. They absolutely love this game, and at times they will literally miss Danforth’s hours of operations just because they were so fixed on their ranked match. Now, I’m not trying to say these guys are starving themselves because of this game, but I find it slightly disturbing that they are able to lose track of time to such an extent.

Honestly, though, I don’t really care if they eat ramen every meal of the day. What annoys me more is the kind of people they become. If I’m going somewhere to eat, and I invite one of them, they’ll tell me to wait up for them. And to make this even more frustrating, if you tell them anything while they’re playing, they will completely ignore you, except for the occasional, “only five more minutes!”

I’m already used to this vexing little fact, so I don’t tell them anything anymore. Instead, I just wait. Just 30 minutes later, they’re sulking because they’ve lost to “a noob,” and, now that they’re finally ready to eat, are just in time to find out that it’s 10:04 p.m. and Danforth is closed.

I find this extremely frustrating. Just because you can’t really pause a multiplayer game doesn’t mean you can’t quit. Nobody is going to fill you with lead just because you quit a video game, for fuck’s sake.

Unfortunately, these games are inherently designed to discourage the player from leaving; if you quit midway, you are abandoning your team or surrendering a potential win. In some games, you are even penalized for leaving early. However, gamers still have the choice to quit, but for the most hardcore, this choice is rarely exercised.

Now, the complaints I’ve expressed so far are only petty. I’m just bitching, if you will. What should probably concern students like these is the effect a serious addiction can have on their life. The students I’ve talked about aren’t so bad. They play a lot, but they’re not dependent on the game like a baby bird in need of nourishment from his mother. However, it’s probably true that there are a few students that are so obsessed with these games that their grades — and quite possibly their lives — are in serious peril. Like anything else in life, moderation is key. Whether it’s video games, alcohol or anything else that can develop into a vice, one cannot afford to not exercise it.

Diaz is a member of
the class of 2015.

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