Eat, sleep, and play.
Video games, that is.
Growing up, playing video games has always been something that just made sense.
It’s an unfortunate fact of college: my time for doing things I really love has decreased. I need to study more, do homework, go to class and… sleep. The thing is, college drains you—mentally and physically. By the time my day is winding down, the only mindless entertainment that I’m interested in is watching anime. Figuring out the labyrinths of the Legend of Zelda or uncovering secrets in Assassin’s Creed is way too exhausting for a brain that’s been overworked by calculus, physics, and economics. Most of the time I’m too stressed from my extracurricular activities and academics to play a video game. I have to manage my GPA and my job. I have to think about internships and scholarships. Where could I possibly find the time to play video games?
Time is precious in college. I’m envious of my sister who can play an entire game throughout the week without worrying about three midterms at once. She can do homework, have dinner, and enjoy a good game. I remember when I could spend my entire weekend with her and marathon the newest game for our console. Now, I’m lucky to finish a game on my handheld throughout the semester.
Confession: I haven’t completed one new game since I’ve been in college. I waited for the release of Omega Ruby for a long time and played for a few days only to become swamped by midterms. The game has been collecting dust in my game case for weeks. My roommates have been begging me to finish “The World Ends with You,” a game I started semesters ago. Every time I pick it up, it just feels like the college fairy is telling me, “Come on, shouldn’t you be studying for that French exam next week?” Being in college has made me feel a lot more guilty about marathoning things that isn’t my math homework.
Video games, however, are the perfect reason not to do your math homework. A friend of mine (we’ll call her Jamie, knows all about video game procrastination. She once spent an entire day playing “Dragon Age.” She spent nearly 100 hours with her eyes glued on the screen; one or two of those weeks probably would’ve been helpful when she was scrambling to finishing an art project at the end of the semester. But this semester, she’s been working on it.
“I tried to do the things I need to do first. If I need to take a break, I might play a video game. But I’ve been working on finishing things early so I don’t have deadlines looming over my head while I play,” Jamie said.
Video games can seem like mindless entertainment to some, but a good video game is a unique experience unlike anything in the real world. It can take you to places far beyond your imagination and tell you the stories of characters you fall in love with. And sometimes, in the struggles of college and the impending pressure to “grow up” and “prepare for the real world,” video games are the kind of escape that takes us far, far, away, even if only for a little while.
And when you’re in a relationship, you can take that escape together. One of the best parts of being in a relationship is doing activities that make you both happy. My boyfriend is a gamer, and playing video games is enough to make us both happy. On a lazy weekend, I don’t have to worry about being forced to go to the gym or to go rock climbing if I don’t want to. We can lounge in my dorm and play “Super Smash Bros.” for hours without getting bored. He can teach me all about Borderlands on multiplayer. And since we’re both gamers, Christmas lists can get… interesting. He told me he wanted to spoil me this season with new jewelry and I replied, “But think about how many amiibos you could buy with that!”
Knowing I’m an avid collector of the video game figurines, he just laughed and rolled his eyes. Video games and Xbox gift cards have been staples of our giving spirit.
An Instagram post I made for our one year anniversary!
And my relationships with others are stronger as well because of a common love for video games. All three of my roommates are gamers, and you can imagine what an unproductive atmosphere that can be! The rumbling sound of explosions, the screams of failure, and the triumphant victory chant. We joined our University’s Republic of Gamers together. We all bond with each other over the games we play and how competitive we get. We run down to the closest GameStop to shuffle through the endless used DS games. We share game cartridges and play different files on the same game so we all get a chance to play. For the upcoming “Fire Emblem: Fates in 2016. We all plan to buy opposite versions of the game so we can share the copies and swap once we finish our version. In college, friends that will still love you after a game of Mario Party are friends you’ll want to hold on to.
And if they forgive you for hitting them with a blue shell in Mario Kart, then they’re definitely keepers.
Balancing your academics, relationships, and games isn’t easy. If you start to slip up and forget exams or due dates it can be game over (pun very intended). Knowing how to multitask and prioritize can help you to still enjoy the things you love. I have another confession: Video games make college a lot easier for me. Knowing that some of your favorite worlds are a button away is soothing.
Video games and college follow some of the same rules. Manage your health, monitor your stats, take a break and save often. Don’t seek out enemies, and prepare for every boss ahead of time. And if you fail, it’s not the end. Get stronger, level up, and press on. You can overcome anything, whether it’s a sinister final or a wicked boss. Use your allies, your friends and family, and college just might be a game you can beat after all.