By Hilary Connelly
The increasingly competitive nature of video games encourages students to rearrange their priorities from studying to competing to save the world – virtual reality style.
“It”s a big distraction. I want to keep playing it, but I have to study sometime,” said Alicia Peterson, 21, a junior from Flower Mound, Texas majoring in exercise science.
Video games have consistently been a poplar outlet for students as well as an entertainment venue for all ages.
Peterson said she plays the popular Xbox game “Halo” with friends for two hours every night – a time when she used to study. She also said the fierce competition among friends often remains even after the game is over, and is a cause of her Xbox addiction.
“It”s such a rush when you kill someone. That”s my favorite part of playing,” said Heidi Mortensen, 19, a freshman from Fresno, Calif. majoring in Psychology. “You can”t stop playing. We get so competitive because we are all racing to kill each other, and I take it personally when I lose.”
Mortensen said she hasn”t played video games since the days of original Nintendo. Halo allows Mortensen to play with up to 15 friends, and has sparked her interest in playing video games again.
Halo has a unique feature that when hooked up with several Xbox systems, up to 16 players can compete against each other at the same time.
“It”s so much more fun when you get to compete as a team instead of as an individual player,” said Kaye Mortensen, 22, a senior from Fresno, Calif. majoring in marketing. “We get so into it while we”re playing; we”re always yelling at each other and arguing. It has become addictive.”
Sisters Heidi and Kaye Mortensen said they enjoy playing Halo on the Xbox every night because, “it”s not studying.” They also said it”s a great distraction that allows them to take their minds off their hectic school schedules and problems of the day.
Taking time out of one”s busy academic schedule to play video games isn”t a priority for some students.
“It”s all about balance,” said Joel Crockett, 22, a junior from Danville, Calif. with a pre-med major. “It”s not affecting my schoolwork because I am not letting it.”
Crockett said he is not a huge video game fan, but Halo makes playing videogames fun because of its multi-player capacity. He recently talked a friend into buying another Xbox so they could hook them up and compete against even more people.
“We have rearranged our furniture and brought in another TV, so it”s definitely a focus of our apartment now,” Crockett said.
Students are now finding the usual John Madden sports games or Sega racing competition are not as fulfilling as the new high tech competitive games.
“I used to have PlayStation 2, but I traded it in for the Xbox,” said Devin Wilde, 22, a junior from Alamo, Calif. majoring in accounting. Wilde said the new game system is more interactive and very addicting. “I usually hate the other team”s members when I lose. I usually won”t speak to them for a few days; there”s definitely a big grudge.”
Wilde, who brought the Xbox into his apartment, struggles to keep his focus on his schoolwork. “I used to do homework all the time,” Wilde said, “until we got the Xbox.”