GW at the millennium: Students find solace in art of playing video games

Delivering a bone-crushing check in a National Hockey League game. Shooting down space cruisers on a run through an asteroid belt. Killing devils in the bowels of the Earth.

All of these things become possible for the average person in the wonderful world of video game systems such as a Sony Play Station and numerous incarnations of Nintendo and Sega.

There’s something about video games that college students love. Maybe it’s the fact that we can go into fantastic worlds different from the real world. Maybe it’s because we can take on roles that we’ll never get a chance to fill in real life.

Of course, that might be a little too philosophical for video games. They are fun, and they are a great way to procrastinate.

Senior Seth Greenberg said he plays Madden 2000, a football game, four or five times a week when there’s nothing else going on.

More often than not, it’s just something to do before class or before we go out, Greenberg said. I don’t come back to my place and say `Oh, I really want to play Madden.’

Many young people are addicted to video games. According to a 1998 study printed in Globe and Mail, 25 percent of all 11- to 18-year-olds play more than seven hours of video games a week. That’s the group that will become the college-age population.

Sophomore Don Pitz is far from addicted, but he has been playing since he was eight years old. He owns a Nintendo-64 system and a holdover from his youth, an older version of Nintendo.

I like to master a certain game, and once I have mastered that, and honed my skills, I move on, said Pitz, who plays four or five hours a week and calls himself a recreational user.

While video games might be an idle pastime for some, video games can also be taken more seriously. Junior Dan Rouhier calls himself a video game guru, putting 20 or more hours a week into the hobby. He also owns four gaming systems and 120 games.

To be honest with you, I spend more time than just about anyone I know playing different games, Rouhier said.

Despite the amount of time he puts into video games, Rouhier said he doesn’t take them that seriously. He likes them because they’re enjoyable and because he’s good at them.

It also gives him something it seems many college students are looking achieve through video games – a release from the pressures and stresses of everyday life.

Number one, it’s a diversion, Rouhier said. There’s a lot of stuff that’s full of pressure, and playing video games doesn’t have any pressure.

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