At the peak of full moon, children start to sneak out of the guards of their parents and rush to the nearest open field, street, or vacant court. They draw grids on the ground, probably divided into four or six sections using water because it evaporates slowly at night. If not, they use chalk or charcoal to draw on the cement. Once it’s done, they stand still, guard the lines of the grids and stop their opponents from passing through.
Sounds familiar? Patintero has been a childhood game which almost all of us have experienced to play during our elementary and early high school years. It was during those days that we savored the most the art of playing our own traditional games. During our vacant times, we would usually go to the open grounds and boast our exemplary skills in many types of games that we enjoy the most. Apart from patintero, there goes bato-lata where the players hit a can with a slipper or a stone while another player guards the can. We also have chakay where the players follow a baseball game format, only that they use their foot as the bat and a slipper as the ball. Moreover, children also love to play sungka, shatong,kayokok, sudsud, and hide-and-seek or tagu-taguan.
But those were of the primitive times. The gaming evolution has started two decades ago here in the country, and the youngsters have found another way of getting themselves involved in other forms of competitive games. Instead of the traditional Pinoy games, they have found a new and similarly enjoying way of competing against each other that does not require much effort. Kids and kids at heart are now totally hooked with role-playing (RPG) computer games, whether Local Area Networking (LAN) or online.
Based on what I have observed in eight different gaming shops here in Dumaguete, DotA All Stars or Defense of the Ancients is now the number one LAN game, followed by the latest version of Counter Strike Source and Left4Dead game category.
On the other side of the coin, Heroes of Newearth (HON) leads the poll in online gaming, besting preceding games Special Force and Gamez Aion Online.
For those who do not know anything about these games, DotA is a game derived from a scenario in Warcraft III, a video game played in the PC where the gamers are provided with a different real-time strategic 3D gaming experience. The objective of the game is for each team, with a maximum of five, to demolish the opponent’s ancient building units, guarded by monster-killing structures at the nine corners of the map. Human players choose powerful heroes that have unique abilities and can wield weapons in accord with their specialty, strength, agility, or intelligence.
Counter Strike, on the other hand, is a first-person shooting game, where all you need to do is throw grenades, and gun down your opponent. This goes the same for Left4Dead, another first-person shooting game, only that you need to shoot zombies this time or be killed.
For online games, Blizzard Entertainment has produced a game that has the same game play, items, and heroes with DotA All Stars, only that this one provides dynamic 3D experience to the gamers, which is obviously not present in DotA. Well, there’s nothing so much about Special Force. It is a first-person shooting game like Counter Strike on an online platform. Ending the list would be Gamez Aion Online, a private server of the original game Aion Online International, which gives the gamers wicked 3D gaming experience, dynamic avatar making, and a world of well-detailed graphics. There’s nothing so much like it, as of this moment.
Hazards of Gaming
Looking around gaming shops at Negros Oriental State University (NORSU) during daytime, asking why these games swept the minds of pupils and students alike away from their classes and lessons, is as clear as purified water. Armageddon Gaming Station and One Byte are two of the few computer shops circling the university perimeter that topped the most number of players logging-in during school days. And this shop is where DotA All Stars is played the most by them.
Raffy Canobas, a fourth year Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education student, is one of the many students who love to spend their vacant times either in Armageddon or in One Byte gaming stations. He confessed that he loves to play DotA because it’s really ‘cool’ when you can defeat other players. “Aside from playing, you can also interact with other people and you can gain friends in no time,” he mused.
Canobas shared that when he was still a freshman, he became too addicted to online games that he usually skips classes already. “Before, when I started playing the game, I sometimes forget that I have classes especially when the game is progressing really well and we are advancing really fast to the opponent’s colony,” he said in the vernacular.
Another DotA player, a third year BS Hospitality and Management student Reymart Tubog, said that there are many students who play the game because it is ‘fun and exciting’. “It is really noisy when the players are using their characters to kill one another because they are shouting and yelling. That’s what makes the game fun,” he continued.
When asked if he skips his classes just to play computer games, Charlie Amacho said that he knows how to manage his time. “I love to play DotA, but I always make sure that I attend my classes especially that I have high cut-off grades in my major and minor subjects.”
Though some students were able to manage their life as a student slash gamer, there are a few who lost track, and worse, has eventually stopped schooling because of computer addiction. On a one hot late afternoon last year, Johnrey, not his real name, was playing the game with utmost prowess. However, he is one of the Norsunians who became very addicted to the game. The sad part is he was not able to continue his studies last year because of one reason – he traded his studies with computer games.
“Nakaundang ko ug skuyla kay nahagbong kos akong mga subjects pagka-first semester (second semester of last year). Sige ra man kog dula gud. Wala gani kabalo akong mga parents,” he confessed. “Pero nadugay nakong sigeg dula, na-reliaze nako nga wala man koy paingnan diay. Nagmahay ko sa akong gibuhat. Pasalamat ko nga gitagaan pa ko’g chance sa akong mga parents nga maka-eskulya ug usob.”
In the bottom line, Johnrey advised other students not to give away their studies just for playing the game. “It’s okay to play, but play moderately, or else you’ll be like me.” As of press time, Johnrey is fixing the mess he did, and is now back on track here in the university.
Playing computer games or getting hooked with a new breed of sports is fine. These things will help you develop more as a person and let you explore the world of technology and the things you haven’t explored yet. These are also ways of detaching yourself from the academe in the meantime because it is not every day that you are given the chance to enjoy what the new world can offer. But you should bear in mind that your primary role as a student is not to play, but to excel in academics so you can show your family those good grades they’ve been longing for. Having fun is fine but studying should be taken seriously.