College is an exciting time for many young students, a time when the paths of life are opened and explored for the first time, when the first significant steps toward a lifetime goal are made. Many people in the older generations look back fondly on their time in college as some of the best years of their lives. There are many things that combine to make the college lifestyle exciting and fun–exposure to new academic material is enticing for many, a new community, and fun extracurricular activities abound. Of course many students still bring some of their old life with them. Video games are a big part of college life for many students.
Video games have been growing in popularity since they first made their way into homes in the late 70’s. In the following years, technology advanced with astonishing speed, and the video game industry took advantage of this by making ever more attractive, engaging, and complex games. These have been popular with people of all ages, but the college students of today and the past few years come from a generation that grew up with computers and video games. Many of today’s college students grew up on The Legend of Zelda rather than music or sports.
As the gaming industry gained momentum throughout the 80’s and 90’s, home consoles became increasingly popular, and the first introduction of 3D graphics opened up a whole new world for both gamers and developers. Games became increasingly complex, robust, and graphically impressive, and new generations of consoles constantly improved on all these things. Games gradually became more social as genres expanded to include something for everyone. This still holds up today–for many college students, a night of gaming is a favorite way to have fun with friends.
One of the main draws of video games has always been the momentary escape it provides. A momentary escape has long been something that people have sought out through reading, movies, television, and other forms of media. The option to immerse oneself in a different world for just a while has always been beloved. Video games offer this escape, but in a way that engages the player differently. Some games, like those in the Metal Gear franchise, are practically interactive movies themselves, and ever more immersive worlds are constantly being developed in games. College students often lead particularly stressful lives, so the temporary foray into a different world is always attractive.
The significance of video games as a part of life is really only natural. Some folks in older generations have trouble understanding this, not having grown up with Mario and Sonic the way many of us did, but video games are a way to socialize and reduce stress for many college students all over the world. Whether you’re going for a bachelor’s degree in biology or an online master of health administration, chances are video games play some role in your life as well. From the days of Pong, on to Kirby, Street Fighter and new adventures like Skyrim, video games have always held a place in our hearts and lives, and will for years to come.