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Video games relieve school stress
Posted Dec. 12, 2008

Currently, the floor of my room is covered in newspapers, books and many cans of Coke Zero.
This is the habitat of a college kid during finals week. Chaos and frustration are two words that come to mind when I think of finals; the pressure of finishing three papers and studying for that test you’re dying to get a “C” on just to pass the class can make any student of any major fall apart.

Of course, there are many ways to restore a student’s broken spirits; some use energy drinks or illegal drugs. But the real secret to doing amazing in finals is somewhere you least expect it: video game breaks.

You may deny it at first, but video games are an undeniable educational resource that cannot be matched by any Wikipedia article.

You don’t believe me?

OK, let’s take for example my major, English. In English, you must deal with the pressure of reading some of the most complex novels ever printed and write intriguing papers on the topics.

Any English major can appreciate a good story; most video games such as “Metal Gear Solid” are renowned for their complex story lines and deep characters.

For instance, understanding the intricate narrative and symbols behind complex readings like “Altus Shrugged” by Ayn Rand or “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley can be assisted by playing “Bioshock” on PS3 or Xbox360.

Taking the concept of utopia and creating a fictional world can put an image to the idea of dystopia better than any movie with Tom Cruise.

What better way to understand literature than reliving it through video games?

This case can be argued with the “God of War” series on Playstation 2.

Greek mythology is fun and all, but isn’t everything just a little more exciting when you have blood covering the screen, and you are killing baddies with continuous melee combos?

I know I would think so. Still not convinced?

Well, if you were a psychology major, why not try your theories with the human condition on the fanatical minds of the characters in “Grand Theft Auto 4.”

Who wouldn’t want to further explore the comorbid psyche of Niko Bellic and his anxiety driven cousin?

Trying to understand the reactions and relationships of Niko and his affiliates is a psychology project in itself.

Try playing games like “Resistance: Fall of Man or the Resident Evil” series to understand the minds of their characters.

For those history majors, pop in any “Call of Duty” game to gain a history lesson of one of the many battles from World War II.

You cannot deny the mathematical calculations for an action reload in “Gears of War 2” or the puzzles surrounding the game “Portal.”

Of course nothing compares to the political knowledge gained while staying on the Citadel in “Mass Effect.”

Need more reason to pick up that controller?

If you are a communications major, how about trying those skills of argumentation, debating or reasoning in the field of “Left 4 Dead” on “Xbox Live”?

By using your skills of manipulation, one could obtain that health pack you need from a teammate before that next Horde comes and rips you apart.

These are merely a few examples of just how helpful a video game could be during these stressful days of tests and essays.

Anyone from music majors playing “Rock Band,” to law students playing “Phoenix Wright” on Nintendo DS can achieve success with the help of video games.

Just remember— the next time you are stressing out about school, just go ahead and play a quick round of “Call of Duty 4” and “pwn some noobs.”

Michael Escañuelas, a sophomore English major, is editorial cartoonist for the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at michael.escanuelas@laverne.edu.