Computer gaming: Too much is never good

Dimapur | January 30 : Computer gaming is a fast growing phenomenon among the young people and with the popularity of online games; youngsters have become more engrossed to the virtual world than reality. It is an era where you can sit on your comfortable chair and play your favourite sports or become a knight, a vampire, a hitman, an elf, an ogre, a king etc. Technology has made the virtual world so fascinating that a loser in reality becomes a winner in the virtual world.
For many youngsters, playing computer games is the foremost element of their social life experience. Sit in front of their PC, play their favourite game online and make friends as internet allows numerous players to be involved in the same game though physically from different locations. Multi player games allow gamers to interact and help one another in the game.
As far as Nagaland is concerned, the most played game is Defense of the Ancients (commonly known as DotA). Also to name a few, the other popular games are - Counter Strike, Perfect World, Rise of Nations, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft etc.
An owner of a game parlor in Dimapur has disclosed that the age group of his customers begins from around 12 to 30+. He said that at least three to four tournaments are conducted in a year, which mainly happens in Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung. He said he only entertains people who are a member of his game parlor, which operates in pre-paid system. Moreover, when it comes to minors he makes sure that they avoid playing violent games.
In regard to students bunking classes and spending their time in game parlors, he said he doesn’t allow students to enter nor hang around near his parlor during school hours. “…there were some rare cases of students coming to the parlor after changing their uniforms during school hours but later I came to know about it and did not allow them to play,” he added.
But a school teacher from Kohima had a very different story to say about the game parlors. He said some of the game parlors entertain students during class hour. “…students run to the game parlors instead of libraries or getting involved in some physical activities like sports,” he stated.
Lamenting on youngsters getting addicted to computer games, he said: “…people have realized the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol, HIV and AIDS and lately tobacco, but many have not realized the effects of computer games. A child who plays violent games is aggressive and arrogant.”
On the same subject, a parent said that parents should monitor what computer games their children are playing at home. “…you have to allow your children to play only those games appropriate to their age and if one doesn’t know then it is better to get the background checked over the internet or to ask someone who is well-informed about computer games,” he said.  He also added that time management should be maintained at all cost.

What some gamers had to say:
Ale Angami admitted that computer games are more interesting than watching TV. “Playing games take you to another world where you are so engrossed that you forget the real world.”
In regard to the psychological impact of computer games on players, Ale said: “I don’t think it makes anyone aggressive, but that depends on the mentality of the person and the kind of game he plays. Every game comes with ESRB rating which tells which game is suitable for what age. The retailers and gaming centre should be made aware of this.”
He also added: “…computer game improves hand eye coordination. However Gaming is an addiction which transport you to another dimension where time cease to exist. Before you know it, it is morning. Too much is never good.”
Another gamer, John said that games like DotA makes a person addictive because  it  involves a lot of planning and coming up with the smartest workable strategy to outsmart the opponent. “It would require a person weeks of gaming just to get used to the basic layout of it, let alone master it. So it is these features (competitiveness and creativity) of the game that keeps a person hooked onto the system for a very long time. I would say when you are hooked to gaming all other thing becomes secondary - food, family, friends, career…”
He also added that size doesn’t matter when one is gaming. “…even the meek, the nerds can be a hero. It gives a chance, a platform for these guys to showcase their talents.”
Also Imti, a skilled gamer said: “…we tend to forget everything while we game. I used to forget to have meals or pick up calls while I play. And I had problems telling the time of the day/night. I personally haven’t played games to forget about other things as I find it hard to concentrate on my gaming on such times.”
Enquiring on how socialization takes place in game world, Imti said that games, such as World of Warcraft, have online communities that mix people from parts of the world into one online world, adding that Second Life, another online game has its own economy and in-game currency (Linden dollar) which can be converted into real money. “It has become known that there exist a few Second Life entrepreneurs, who have grossed in excess of 1 million USD per year,” he said.
Emphasizing on parental guidance, he said that there should be some kind of restriction on what kind of games a child plays as children sometime find it difficult to differentiate between “real and virtual reality”. He also suggested: “There are some computer games such as Math Blaster or Math Muncher, that would help students learn mathematical skills. There are other games such as Sim City that force the students to be able to manage some of the many variables that are in play when running a city.”
In addition, Aaron, another player revealed that in some multiplayer games, a player can marry in the game world with any of the players making them husband and wife. Also a player can sell his hero (game character) in an online auction and shopping websites. “The higher the level, the more cash he will get.” Aaron also said that the game world is so captivating that people get carried away and play for more than seven to eight hours causing health condition downfall. “One should know when to stop as overdoing anything would always have negative effects.”

EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
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