are a popular form of entertainment, and some students at enjoy escaping the pressures of school and work by engaging with an electronic virtual world.
According to a study by Pew Internet Research, 70 percent of college students play video games at least “once in a while.” Half of the college students in the Pew study admitted that video games keep them from studying “some” or a “lot.”
Raymond Lee, 25, a fourth-year journalism major at De Anza, said he plays “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” about 30 hours per week. While he spends many hours studying, Lee said he uses the first-person shooter war game to take him on a journey he could never go on in the real world and to give his mind a break from the books.
“You can play or do something like a pro—something you can’t do in real life,” Lee said. “We are living in a peaceful world, and it’s interesting to know how it’s like to be in war—a fantasy life. It’s a way to relax without thinking too much.”
Like Lee, 31-year-old De Anza student Sean Fitzgerald said he plays video games to make unrealistic scenarios and fantasy situations happen in his virtual world. For example, in the sports video game “NCAA Football 12,” he could have play the University of Alabama, a matchup unlikely to happen in real life.
“I can pick whatever college I want and play the team I want to play on a schedule I pick,” Fitzgerald said. “This match-up would never happen in real life because that team (University of Alabama) is way better than San Jose State, but in a video game, I can play as San Jose and win.”
Although he only has time to play this game a couple of hours per week, Fitzgerald said it gives him a moment to relax his mind.
“It gives me a distraction for an hour or two, because I think it’s fun,” Fitzgerald said.
While some students use virtual reality to escape from the pressures of everyday life, others use it for its social aspect.
William Ferguson, 21, a second-year English major at De Anza, said he likes playing multiplayer, team video games. One of his favorites, “League of Legends,” is a team-oriented strategy game where his avatar has a supporting role on a team.
“I like the social aspect of the game, and what draws me to it is the variety in the game—you can make the gameplay your own,” Ferguson said. “The player base is really strong, and I get to play with people in different countries and meet people through gameplay.”
An immensely popular video game that some De Anza students also play is a "massively multiplayer online role-playing game" (MMORPG) called “World of Warcraft” (WOW.) This game genre involves a large number of players interacting within a virtual world, and according to the video game web site, IGN.com, more than 12 million people are playing this game online right at this moment.
De Anza student Paul Kamradt, 19, plays WOW about 20 hours per week. He said he cannot put the game down and understands why the game is played by millions worldwide.
“It’s addicting,” Kamradt said. “There’s really nothing to do on it; it’s unbeatable, competitive, and the ranking system through arenas is awesome.”
Although WOW users are charged a monthly fee, Kamradt said the price is worth its entertainment value.
Anthony Nguyen, 23, previously told Cupertino Patch that the forced him to cut down on his favorite leisure activity—playing video games. As a third-year journalism major struggling to pay student fees at De Anza College, Nguyen said he cut his playing time from 25 hours per week to five hours, now that he's buying fewer games and studying.
Still, Nguyen makes the most of his reduced play time with role-playing games such as “Final Fantasy 4.” He said the game’s cinematic story and excellent gameplay appeals to him.
“The game has a very interesting storyline, and the music is very relaxing,” Nguyen said. “It is fun, and it takes you on a journey beyond your wildest imagination.”
Like some other De Anza students, Nguyen also said he does his best to balance school and his video game play time.