Always game for it

Always game for it

Video games are an entertaining pastime. Almost every person with a smartphone has a game or two installed. Many even have gaming consoles that enhance the experience. However, the evolution of this virtual world brings with it a huge problem — gaming addiction.

Compulsive gaming is a condition that strikes both adults and children. It leads to sleeping disorders and backaches as gamers sit in the same position for hours (sometimes days), glued to a monitor. But gamers don’t take these consequences seriously. “My mother thought I needed therapy when I binge played for 13 hours straight once,” said Dianne, a student who passionately plays ‘God of War’.

But gaming has also been proven as a brain developer; it improves one’s co-ordination, motor skills and thinking abilities. “People who play video games think faster, are more independent and their hand-eye co-ordination is better than non-gamers,” says Sudarshan, who heads game testing at Indium Software.

A BE student, Nabeel, who plays ‘Defense of the Ancients’, ‘Counter Strike’ and the like, says, “It is more a passion. Just like how people enjoy shopping, some are passionate about gaming.” Aparajitha, another student, says, “I like playing video games because they give me a chance to live someone else’s life.”

Game makers are now conscious of the negative effects and are trying to make gaming as healthy as possible. Sudarshan says, “The market has video games that require body movement; this reduces the risk of any physical problems.” Some even let you know how many calories you have burnt or how much cardio you have done.

“Game makers also make sure that the gamer doesn’t sit on it for hours. Sometimes there are duration warnings within the game or you run out of lives. This makes it easier to control addiction,” he adds. Nabeel, who plays a minimum of four hours a day, says it is almost impossible to quit. “It’s like asking a smoker to quit smoking,” he says.

Gaming de-addiction is one other solution to this problem. De-addiction centres have been set up in the City. Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) Clinic has been set up to help internet and gaming addicts fight their obsession with technology. Manoj Sharma, a clinical psychologist with SHUT Clinic, says, “We get  cases between the age groups of 14 and 20 years. The majority of the cases are video game addicts.”

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