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[Y-SPACE] Procon: Video Games as an “Escape”?

By: Patricia Allen C. Yuma

There are tons of video games released last year, to name a few: "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" and "Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town" on the Nintendo Switch; "Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout" on the PlayStation 4 and PC; "Genshin Impact" on PlayStation 4, iOS, Android, and Microsoft Windows; and "Valorant" on Microsoft Windows. These video games have increased the number of gamers worldwide, making them their favorite leisure activity. Some say that video games served as an escape, distraction, and stress reliever. However, there are factors also to consider that can cause a negative outcome in playing video games. Considering those pieces of information, it left us wondering if playing video games helps people escape and create a new imaginative virtual world to be who we want to be (temporarily). Do we have to face some consequences by just playing a game?

Over the years, there are influential negative causes that video games have, such as but not limited to, exposure to violent media, anxiety, lack of physical activities, addiction, and the likes. In 2019, the World Health Organization recognized online game addiction as a mental health condition. For example, someone is well-focused, cannot be disturbed, and addicted to a game that they don't want to leave their seat until they win, until the game is over, or until they feel satisfied with the game's outcome. Excessive gameplay can harm one's well-being and lifestyle.

On a personal note, my gameplay habits were as low as once or twice a week, but when the COVID outbreak happened, it increased to almost every day. I used to play single-player games on my mobile just to kill time; unlike now, I mostly play online multiplayer games to interact with friends I can't meet in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I started to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons in May 2020, where I was able to virtually meet cool people with diverse characteristics and professions from different cities in the Philippines. Together with my newly found online friends, we played almost all day, which provided a good distraction from the anxious feeling and absorbed terrible news around the COVID outbreak. Despite playing video games nearly all day, I was able to control my gameplay and not get too tied up by it. For me, playing video games does not consume most of my day and served as an escape to reality, chill, and have a relaxing experience even for a moment, especially whenever I'm stressed out with work and personal issues that I don't want to think about. However, this escapism does not last long, and the so-called virtual world is just temporary.

Overall, playing video games provided a way for people to communicate and develop their skills in a virtual community. However, it is also vital to treat gaming in moderation because too much gaming is unhealthy. These may be the pros and cons of holding a pro controller, keyboard and mouse, or a console, and it differs from one gamer to another.

Patricia Allen C. Yuma is a graduate of Miriam College with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in International Studies Major in International Politics and a Minor in Peace Studies. She is also an upcoming first year law student at the San Beda University Manila.

YSPACE is a platform open for young writers to contribute their worth-sharing thoughts and stories to the world. It is a space for young people and by the young people which aims to promote a strong sense of empowerment and inspiration to young Filipinos.

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