Students put studying on hold for gaming

December 6, 2012 | 11 a.m.

Gamers at Bethel share recommendations on balancing finals week with the Master Chief

Culture | Michaela Mohs for The Clarion

Students put studying on hold for gaming

With the releases of "Halo 4" and "Black Ops II," Bethel gamers have been glued to their televisions since mid-November. | Drea Chalmers

November has been an important month for many Bethel students. For some, it was the first time they voted in a presidential election. For others, two highly anticipated video games were released, much to the delight of gamers across campus. “Halo 4,” the start of a new trilogy of “Halo” games, was released on Nov. 6, and “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” hit shelves one week later on Nov. 13.

With all of the activities, academics and events going on at Bethel, how do any “serious” gamers find time to play through all the modes of “Halo 4” or complete every storyline of “Black Ops II”? Jake Annis and Cole Wiskow, freshmen and self-proclaimed “gaming buddies,” have designated a time for playing “Halo 4” together – after classes end to when they begin again.

Most of the students interviewed said they spend 10 or more hours every week gaming. Freshman Jesse Hill said he usually spends more hours on a new game – in his case “Black Ops II” – for at least the first few months after it’s released.

As far as homework is concerned, Wiskow stated, “I plead the fifth … I just manage to get [homework] in before doing fun stuff.”
Both Wiskow and Annis claim that they finish homework during the day, enabling them to occasionally stay up the entire night trying to complete the story mode of “Halo 4” on different difficulties and unlock all of the score multipliers. Hill, on the other hand, sometimes plays “Black Ops II” to avoid homework or “when I feel like procrastinating.”

Obviously these games have enough of an appeal to keep Bethel gamers staying up late and arriving to class sleep-deprived and red-eyed. As a fan of previous “Call of Duty” games, Hill said that his dedication to the series surpasses that of other video games.

On the other hand, Annis described “Halo 4” as his “top game for the year,” mainly because of the many things to accomplish, to which Wiskow added, “The new enemies, unlike the previous games’ monotonous ones, will make you pee your pants.”

As far as the entertainment value of both “Halo 4” and “Black Ops II” goes, for some it is just a great recreational activity, but it can also be, according to Wiskow, an awesome way to socialize.

“I wouldn’t play without Jake, just because of all the crazy things we do, like screaming when the enemies appear,” said Wiskow. Other than that, playing video games can temporarily reduce stress and is especially useful for a study break during finals week.

Maybe video games do have a sort of educational value after all. At the very least, they are useful in alleviating stress and creating interesting social opportunities for the players. But as long as video games keep gamers focused on something other than anxiety over final exams, game on.

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