Student Life

The Benefit of Playing Video Games in College

Building bonds with other students is all part of the college experience.

Student Contributor, Jason Macaranas

November 23, 2021

The Benefit of Playing Video Games in College
How video games can be beneficial for a student’s self-care and mental health.
You can easily get burnt out during your college experience. After a long week of studying for midterms, you just want to get your mind off of the college bustle and do something for fun. For me, when I head to my college dorm after taking notes in a two-hour lecture, Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe and Super Smash Bros Ultimate are the games that I love to unwind myself in. There is a sense of accomplishment you feel when you complete a level of Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. Unlike those college midterms, it isn’t the end of the world when you tragically fall into a pit or get eaten by a piranha plant. The only thing that matters is that you are having fun. According to a Geico article called, “9 Benefits & Positive Effects of Video Games”, one of the benefits of playing video games is that it can act as therapy. Playing video games is supposed to be a recreational activity that actually makes you excited, helping you destress.
A stereotype of the college student is that he thoroughly takes notes during class, then the second the class ends, he goes straight to his dorm to study for another midterm. He does this nonstop, seven days a week, with no exceptions! However, this is beyond what college students actually do. Not everybody has the tenacity to handle sitting at a desk for five hours straight just to cram for the final a day before it. The successful college student, instead, is able to balance personal well-being and academics. Moderation is the key. Gaming is really another way to achieve this yin yang balance. One of the ways I hung out with my roommates is through playing Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
The main characters I play in the game are Little Mac and Sonic. When I’m playing those characters, I completely demolish them. There wasn’t even a contest when I was playing with my roommates. However, there came a point when my roommates wanted me to face off against an extremely competitive player. Let’s just call him Steven for anonymous reasons. Steven was considered the GOAT of Smash, and for me, I like to compete with someone who is a challenge. I was warming up with my roommates once again, then Steven came into the room--everybody was waiting for this very moment when Jason and Steven would compete against each other. It was as though we were in the semifinals of the Super Smash Bros championship. It felt like one.
We both sat at adjacent chairs, and the winner would be determined out of three games. Of course, I always picked my main, Sonic. That wasn’t a surprise. Steven, however, picked Dark Pit. I hadn’t played with a Dark Pit player, but I knew how to improvise when I needed to. Then, the battle began on the stage, and I could feel that everybody in that room had their hearts pumping. The only people that were playing were Steven and I, but I remembered one of my roommates stating, “Man, I’m stressed out and I’m not even playing the game!” I laughed at that comment, because if I was being honest with you, I actually wasn’t stressed out. My mindset was that I’m simply hanging out with them. I’m usually a person who feels alienated and isolated, so doing something where I’m having fun with them is quite a relief. I was just glad that I was playing. Speaking of the game, the match was extremely close--but I managed to beat Steven in the first game. Steven put his head into his hands, shaking his head that he made many strategic mistakes during the fight. I pat Steven’s back, knowing that his winning streak was finally broken. One of the guys, however, thought that was an unfair match, and he did have a point: I warmed up before Steven played a single match. Steven can still get me in the last two games, so it definitely wasn’t over. We played our second match, and Steven started getting the patterns of my movement, which enabled him to predict where I was moving. The second match was difficult for me to get damage, and despite all my effort, Steven managed to get me in the second, making the match 1-1. “Good game, good game,” I told him. The third match wasn’t really my best--I unfortunately didn’t execute the combos that would remove Steven out of the stage. I ended up losing the match, with Steven beating me 2-1. However, I wasn’t sad because I ended up losing those last two games. I had fun, and that was the only thing that mattered to me. I was only concentrating on doing my best, being immersed into a hobby that I find exhilarating. I was just glad that I beat Steven in a game. It goes to show that college is also the time to bond with friends that you will remember for the rest of your life. Gaming is one of those outlets that can create these friendships.

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