Video games provide competition, camaraderie


Feature photo by Yousuf El-Jayyousi

Allie Pigg

[dropcap]J[/dropcap]unior Kavin Anand’s tennis season is always hectic. Among stacked tournaments, practices and missing school, there isn’t much time for him to do much else. Except for, of course, playing the latest mobile game. Anand and his teammates are never able to resist downloading the newest game that all of their friends are talking about. During his freshman year, the popular game was Clash Royale, a multiplayer mobile game where players form “clans” to share collectible cards and build battle communities and then compete against others in real time to win trophies, crown and glory in the clash arena, said
“[Playing Clash Royale] was such a fun experience, and the whole team had a good time playing it,” Anand said. “The game seemed to fill in the empty time between meets and practices.”  
The Clash Royale trend has faded since freshman year, but Anand has always found another gaming addiction to get attached to, including Minecraft, a virtual land where users can create their own world and experiences using digital building resources, said Moreover, Anand is habitually wrapped up in the current gaming craze.
“[The trends happen] because of the hype we place upon each game,” Anand said. “If a lot of people are yelling and are overly enthusiastic about something, you generally want to join in on the fun.”
Among Anand’s fervent friends is junior Connor Jokerst, whose favorite gaming phase has been Fortnite, an  game where players use strategically build fortifications while working with teammates to defend each other from waves of enemy monsters, said Jokerst finds Fortnite so intriguing because of the strive its company, Epic Games, has to constantly come out with new game modes and weapons to make the game more interesting.
“A game’s success really depends on how well the company that makes the game keeps its gamers happy and surprises them with new updates to the game,” Jokerst said.
Aside from Anand and Jokerst, Fortnite is widely popular among gamers and non-gamers of all ages and even of all genders. In an article by, author Avery Hartmans explains how she has never considered herself to be a gamer but finds Fortnite entertaining because it is inclusive, challenging and more colorful than the dark stereotype she puts on other video games. Because of the game’s stress-free and manageable atmosphere, Hartmans finds Fortnite to be a fun past time.
Although the common prototype for gamers is a male, women account for 42% of all gamers in the United States. Like Hartmans, junior Lauren Clayton is one of the female players who sprouted a liking for gaming trends like Fortnite.
“I’ve seen my [guy] friends playing the games, so I decided to try them out, and I actually really liked them,” Clayton said. “I like to play with my friends and it’s really satisfying when I win because it’s really hard to do.”
While Clayton is not the only female gamer at RBHS, teachers such as Nicole Clemens see boys playing the games more than girls. Clemens teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Literature and Composition as well as AP Language and Composition and said she sees a handful of students playing digital games every single day.
“I hate to call out my guys, but it’s them [who play],” Clemens said. “I’m not sure why that is, probably just the nature of the games being played. The content of the games seem to be the kind of things that guys enjoy.”
Clemens said it’s easy to spot who is preoccupied with the games because no AP student does his or her assignment by rapidly tapping the same key over and over again. After years of practice, Clemens is accustomed to dealing with the games in her classroom. She has learned that taking a lap around the back of the classroom usually gets her gaming students to quickly close the tab and click back to their work.
“When I first started working here was the first year we got iPads, and I’d tell everyone I taught AP Flappy Bird because that was the big game then,” Clemens said. “When I hear kids start to talk about a certain game, I’m like, ‘oh god, this is a thing I’m going to have to fight in my room.’”
While she sees trends come and go, the games have intensified with each student having his or her own CPS-provided laptop. Anand and Jokerst agree, however, that they can usually control themselves from getting distracted from school work, as most of the games are blocked on their school laptop. It’s the mobile versions of the games that tend to take their focus off of their work.

“There are always ebbs and flows with the games, but there’s always something that’s interesting enough to be distracting,” Clemens said.”

In addition to teachers, the gaming rages are an annoyance to students who aren’t involved in the trends, including sophomore Jack Stevens, who is surrounded by many friends who play the games but has not given into playing them himself. He tries to stay focused on his work at school but the people who pay more attention to games than school work distracts Stevens during his Alternating Unassigned Time (AUT)
“There are honestly many reasons for why I don’t play trendy games in school,” Stevens said, “the biggest reason being that I have goals that I want accomplished and no goal will be completed by playing a game that will be dead in a matter of weeks.”
Despite the reality that the game crazes only last a short time, students all over RBHS still wrap themselves up in competition. Although it seems as if the trends consume their lives, both Anand and Jokerst agree that playing the games establishes a sense of camaraderie throughout their friend group, and for that they happily give in to every gaming trend that comes their way.
“Games where we can play together competitively or challenge one another to friendly duels are the best because we constantly want to duke it out and determine who’s the better player,” Anand said. “Playing this often helps build a deep understanding for the game and its core mechanics while also helping you socialize with your friends.”
What video games do you play? Let us know in the comments below.