A Gamer’s Life: Students Who Spend Their Time In Front of a Screen

In the beginning, there was Pong. But for some, bouncing a ball between two paddles wasn’t enough. As the years went on and technology became more advanced, so did the games — and those games are now forever embedded with certain aspects of our culture. The Talon takes a look at the lives of three students who have been wholly consumed by this new gaming era.

Stephen Hine ‘09
Alias: Soratha
Though junior Stephen Hine remembers going over to his neighbor’s house every weekend to play videogames at the mere age of five, he did n’t really take gaming seriously until seventh grade.

“[Playing games] gives you something to do when you do not have anything to do,” Stephen said.

Stephen often finds himself playing games on the computer as well as “any games for the Game Cube or the X-box.”

Not only do these “absolutely amazing” games help Stephen find something to do, but they also help him “develop his typing skills,” as well as give him the opportunity to “meet knew people.”

“People say you don’t have a social life, and that’s not true,” Stephen said. “Now you get to be with your friends [online] on weekends. Games don’t take over your life.”

Stephen often plays games at friend’s homes as well as with them online. Whenever one of his friends is doing well in the game, he “pops his collar and starts dancing,” without really realize he’s doing it.

Not only does Stephen know how to play games, but he also knows how to create some of his own, including Pong, Space Invaders and a basic version of Super Mario.

Andrew Willard ‘08
Alias: RedWillard
Senioritis may have taken its toll on many aspects of his life, but senior Andrew Willard has not let it get in the way of his gaming.

According to Andrew, his gaming career began “all the way back [in the days of] Nintendo 64, Mario Kart and Super Mario.”

Now he spends time on different games — perhaps too much. When Andrew recently checked his computer to see how much time he’d spent playing World of Warcraft (also known as WoW), it reported that he had played for over 2,400 hours (more than 100 days).

“I don’t know how to explain how [gaming feels],” Andrew said. “It brings a better sense of purpose to my life.”

Andrew has some unique experiences while playing computer and video games, both in the virtual and in the real world. One day, Andrew was playing Counterstrike and rescuing hostages from a bank. Little did he know that at the exact same time, a real bank across the street from him was being robbed — and the thief had taken several hostages.

As for his thoughts on video game violence, Andrew disagrees with those who believe that violence in games transfers over to the lives of the people who play them.

“The only way something drastic is going to happen is if the kids are dumb, and the kids are in school, so they’re smart,” Andrew said. “Playing games is my choice.”

Andrew continues to play games because they allow him to “do things [he] otherwise couldn’t do.”

For beginners, Andrew recommends easier and more slow-paced games.

“For more casual gaming go with the Wii; it’s more fun than the rest,” Andrew said. “But for hardcore gamers, definitely the Xbox 360 or the PS3. [Having] a job is preferable, for gaming does not come cheap.”

Ryan Hanni ‘09
Alias: Free Tacos
Although gaming does not play a big part in junior Ryan Hanni’s life during the school week, that all changes when school officially ends and the weekend begins. On some occasions Ryan “wakes up and gets out of bed” then stops playing for nothing but “water and going to the bathroom.”

“I am a gaming nerd, and I am proud of it,” Ryan said.

Ryan spends most of his gaming time playing WoW, although he does often play Jetman and Halo. In order to improve his gaming skills as much as he can, Ryan has found himself playing up to “16 hours straight [of games] with friends, 8 hours by myself.” But gaming has not hurt his social or academic life, because Ryan “does not let [gaming] get in the way.”

There have even been some cases in which his favorite pastime has helped him with schoolwork.

“I met a girl online that was majoring in quantum physics, and she would help me with my math,” Ryan said.

Yet this frequent gaming does not come with consequence. Ryan recently had a bad experience with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, caused by repeated movements in this case of the wrists.

Put on Your Game Face!
Games have come a long way from Solitaire and Doom and have permanently embedded themselves in our society. With those games came avid gamers, and although some have been playing from childhood, it’s never too late to start playing. All it takes is a controller, the right game, a bit of practice and determination.