Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Gaming

By Randy Davila
Pulse Staff Reporter

(Pictured from left to right) Evelin Ortega and Sarah Lopez play their Nintento DS games between classes.
Evelin Ortega and Sarah Lopez play their Nintendo DS games between classes. Photo by Randy Davila.

College demands a lot from students.  Some students choose to venture into different worlds to slay dragons, win championship games and even win wars to escape the day-to-day stresses. These worlds are made possible thanks to gaming.

For Evelin Ortega, a Liberal Arts/Advertising sophomore, gaming has given her an avenue to learn about different cultures around the world.

“They introduce you to different cultures…I learned a lot of stuff I would not have learned otherwise,” said Ortega, whose interest in learning about Japanese mythology sparked when she discovered one of the characters in the games she actively plays is based on this mythology.

The connection you share with people around the world “opens up new possibilities for friendships,” said Sarah Lopez, a Mass Communication sophomore.  Lopez connected with Dan, a resident of Florida, in 2012 while playing Halo ODST on Xbox Live. They have been close friends ever since.

Gaming can also teach gamers real-world skills.

“It makes me want to achieve more…no one is going to let you win,” said Ramsey Rodriguez, a freshman Computer Programming major.  Rodriguez uses this mindset and applies it to his day-to-day life.

Palo Alto has a room dedicated for gaming and entertainment in the Ozuna Library, Room 201.  Students may check out various video games, such as Portal 2, NBA 2K15, Terraria and more, for three hours at a time to play on the provided Xbox 360 console.  Students can also bring in their own video games to play during breaks between classes. The Ozuna Library is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Gamers also have the opportunity to pursue gaming as a profession.  Some tournaments award grand prizes in the millions of dollars. These events generate millions of viewers daily on the live stream platform Twitch.

During the Intel World Championships, viewer numbers reached 46 million, which is roughly 11 million more viewers than President Trump’s Inauguration.  Major networks such as ESPN now have dedicated pages for E-Sports events and coverage.

Joshua Morales, a Computer Science freshman, got to experience what this can be like.

Morales started playing Counter Strike, a first-person war simulation game, when introduced to it by a friend during a Creators event held by Rackspace.  He immediately fell in love with the game.  Morales built his own PC a year after being introduced to the game and started to invest time in the game to improve his skills.

Morales put a listing out on E-Sport Entertainment Association, dedicated servers for serious players, and a team called Cerus based out of Austin, Texas, contacted him and offered him a spot on the team.  He traveled with the team, playing at different tournaments and won an event in Houston, Texas, taking home $400.

These experiences helped shape the way he views life.

“That competitive drive really shaped the way I see things…and how I can apply that in life,” said Morales. “In Counter Strike, you have to be constantly thinking of your decisions…I’m always thinking about my actions beforehand in life.”

Gaming has the potential to impact lives, teach students critical thinking skills and teach students communications skills. Gaming has been shown to teach discipline, form long-lasting friendships and provide a living for some.  All this is possible through the many worlds that gamers venture into every day.