Opinion

Gaming Console Ban

Benny Cao ’20

Editor’s Note: This article is the first article in the first part of a seven part series of opinion articles written by Dr. Erb’s English class for publication in The Oracle. Each article will have a “response” written by another student in the class.

The ban of gaming consoles for underformers is one of the more curious and frequently disputed items printed in the blue book. Naturally, this rule is not in the favor of the majority of the school and has received irrational and unconvincing accusations. There are, however, logical reasons why this regulation should be removed from the school policies.

Perhaps the strongest supporting belief behind this regulation is that games can have negative impacts on students. Such a claim isn’t unreasonable–video games can affect one’s disposition and studies have revealed the similarities between gaming and drug addictions. Banning gaming consoles, however, resolves no issues. Modern commercial games are rated by the ESRB; friendly and constructive games receive ratings such as E (Everyone), and more violent and statistically more addictive games often receive ratings like M (Mature). The vast majority of E rated games are released on gaming consoles, including genres such as puzzle solving, platformers, and adventures. The majority of games available on PC, however, consist of shooters and other M rated categories. By banning gaming consoles, the school is encouraging students who play games regularly and people who want to pick up a game to play violent and addictive games. Other prevalently believed downsides of gaming are merely a misconception, such as gamers perform poorly academically. For example, among the ten inducted Cum Laude juniors this year, at least two play games on a regular basis.

Negatives aside, video games can bring surprising benefits to students. Playing a session of local multiplayer is one of the best ways to make friends; before the Switch was banned for underformers, common rooms were filled with laughter as students rotate in Mario Kart races, playing and meeting people they didn’t know. Games also relieve stress. Woodberry life is intense for most Tigers, and for some people, nothing can calm nerves better than a casual game. Additionally, games help with the boys’ growth–studies have shown that games greatly enhance coordination, focus, memory, multi-tasking, and problem-solving skills, especially non-violent E rated games only available on console. In a recent MIT study, the original Super Mario brothers was compared to mathematical models and the study concluded by explaining the complexity of the thinking involved to beat the game. Such an enriching experience is unique to gaming and only consoles have the correct game library to provide the experience.

Considering the above, banning gaming consoles serves no practical purpose and only exacerbates the situation. Students who play regularly are forced into unhealthier game libraries and all underformers are missing an opportunity to socialize, relax, and strengthen the mind. The rule is also irrationally discriminative, since seen from multiple recent incidents, Seniors aren’t much more responsible for themselves than underformers. So instead of pushing it aside, the school should utilize this resource to help students–perhaps the school can encourage students to race some friends instead of lighting a vaporizer when they’re feeling down

Disclaimer:

The views expressed in this article do not, in any way, represent the views of the editorial board, our faculty adviser, Mr. Guldin, nor the opinion of The Oracle as a whole.

Categories: Opinion

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