Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Video games come with new incentive

Want to learn a language, cook a dish or even read a book from the comfort of your own home or on the go? I’m not talking about the Internet, either. I’m talking about video games.

Video games have become so ingrained in some of our daily lives that, beyond traversing other worlds or shooting up space aliens, they can teach us something about proper nutrition, social interactions and even allow us to read classic works of literature in an interactive format.

Video games are such a part of life that economics professors have used MMOs (Online Massively Multiplayer) games, such as “World of Warcraft,” to study inflation and supply and demand because of the game’s ever-changing economy, with some players even paying with real currency for the game’s virtual gold currency. And, if you can believe it, some players will even trade other video games or material possessions for in-game gold.

In some circles, video games are even considered a sport with prizes in some tournaments, such as the “League of Legends” World Championship reaching the million dollar mark. If one were to attend these competitions, they’d find teams with names such as “Fanatic” and “Against All Authority.” Also among these athletes, you can find sponsors such as Samsung and the Air Force Reserve.

Recently, Robert Morris University, located in Illinois, has started a program in which 35 students compete in “League of Legends” and other multiplayer games. It became the first school to categorize playing video games as a varsity sport, even offering scholarships for these student athletes. The team practices from 4-9 p.m. on weekdays with an hour break and competitions every Saturday.

In an ABC News article, Kimberly Young, a New York psychologist, criticized the school’s decision, saying, “We are promoting something that’s clinically addictive, so I think we need to be very cautious.”

While she is not wrong that the Internet and video games can be addictive, I think what she is saying can be applied to any other extracurricular activity. A baseball player or whoever else can get too caught up in the game, much like someone who plays video games. While video games don’t demand the physical prowess of other activities, it is also a competition like other sports. As with all things, in the case of competitiveness, it has to be taken with moderation.

It is a good idea to have scholarships for alternative sports such as video games. These competitive video games let those who aren’t as athletically inclined invest themselves in a team and get the same lessons out of it as someone who plays a more physical sport. On that same note, the beauty of video games as a competition is that it gives more people a chance to be competitive who, for one reason or another, won’t or can’t get competitive in more physical and traditional sports.

If Plattsburgh State started a similar program offering scholarships for those on an e-sports team, it would certainly level the playing field.

Email Luis Reyes at luis.reyes@cardinalpointsonline

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