The sound of aggressive clicking fills the room as the opponent attacks the character on the screen. After hours of grinding, the character dances victoriously as the word “You Win,” appears on the screen.
Due to the pandemic, the amount of time spent playing video games has increased for gamers across the Bonita Vista High (BVH) campus. According to a poll conducted by the Crusader on Feb. 8, out of 444 students, 10.2 percent reported spending five to six hours playing video games as a result of distance learning, where another 4.6 percent of students said they spend 7 or more hours playing video games.
“[Video games] just provide me with an outlet to talk to people. With distance learning it’s a lot of being by yourself in your room rather than being at school and being able to socialize with others. So just having video games allows me an outlet to communicate with others,” senior Tyler Carter said.
Due to strict COVID-19 restrictions, it has made it difficult for students to socialize with their friends or peers. For Carter, playing video games allows him to have a place to socialize with other people. Juniors Lilliana Mancilla and Marcello Garbo and senior Gerardo González stay connected with friends during the pandemic by playing video games as well.
“I feel like video games [are a] benefit because it’s a way to have fun during this stressful era. Students have a lot of things piling up, people are getting jobs, they have homework, their teachers have stricter deadlines because it’s all at home. So I feel like video games are a really good way to have fun and be able to bypass all the stress,” Mancilla said.
For Mancilla, playing the online video game Fortnite on her Nintendo Switch has helped her bond with her siblings. As for Garbo, Playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on his Nintendo Switch helps take his mind off his school related responsibilities.
“When you play competitive games, like Super Smash Brothers or Valorant, it’s always nice to see your own skills improving and you have that sense of satisfaction when you notice that you’re getting better,” Garbo said.
However, having easy access to video games also creates more at-home distractions for students. Now, students are able to play on their video game console without their teachers ever knowing.
“To some extent I would say, especially during distance learning, it’s become a lot harder [to focus on school] because I’ve still had to maintain that balance, and sometimes I’d rather pick up a controller than pick up a pen,” Carter said. “It’s become more challenging to do my schoolwork during distance learning.”
Nonetheless, playing video games has allowed students to develop personal skills. González, for example, developed micro-managing skills, planning skills and analytical skills from playing video games on his Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and personal computer.
“A lot of games present a narrative and you have to understand it and you have to analyze it just like you would when reading a book. Games present the greater challenge where you have to be good at them, you have to beat their rules and usually that involves managing your time or whatever you’re doing in the game,” González said.
Students who consider themselves gamers now have more access and time to play video games at home.
“A lot of people argue that you get nothing out of playing video games which I disagree with. I think video games can be just as formative as reading a book or watching a good movie,” González said. “Nothing is really a waste of time if you’re enjoying it. I would argue that if you’re doing something that you actively don’t enjoy doing, that’s a bigger waste of time.”