No time or money makes a student play games less.
I want to start this off by explaining a bit about what I want this series of features to be: I want them to be personal essays about gaming as one of the many identities, and hopefully one day others, fall under. This could be gaming as a certain ethnicity/race, nationality, gender, sexuality, political leaning or even something innocuous as whether you play video games with an inverted axis. In short, I want these features to give you, the reader, a peek into how identity affects their gaming.
With this entry, I’d like to discuss how, being a student, I play video games.
Now when I say student, I mean that of a university or college student; more specifically an undergraduate in the United Kingdom. Again, I understand that workloads differ from course to course, university to university, state to state, nation to nation and so on and so forth. I just want to show you, the reader, how I game while being a student. Just to be perfectly clear, I am a second-going-into-final year Film and Theatre student who is also part of a committee for the Anime club at my university; I wanted you all to know that because I think it all factors greatly into how I game.
The reason why I’m telling you about my various responsibilities is because the first major thing about gaming as a student is the massive amount of time constraints. Of course, the earlier you are in your course or degree, the more time you have to play videogames, but as the years roll on, students have less and less time. This could be due to more deadlines, the impending miasma of a dissertation/thesis, moving around a lot to get to campus and class, looking after yourself and where you live, your social life needing attending to and, in my case, all that and being a committee member of an anime society. In short, students don’t get a lot of time to play videogames. Additionally, because of classes being at random times and constant deadlines, I don’t have a 9-5 I can stick to. This means my schedule is all over the place, and I’m sometimes working all day on something, thus I don’t have free time to dedicate to a nice solid chunk of gaming.
Indeed, as a student I don’t get to play that many videogames. However, there are some nuances in my gaming habits because of those factors leading to my lack of time. For instance, due to my general lack of time, I either don’t play that many long-form games, such as JRPGS, or I’m pulled towards shorter pick-up-and-play style of games such as Overwatch. Another nuance of my gaming habits due to my lack of time, as well as all the movement I need to make for class, is that I play more mobile and portable games. I can easily play them while I’m travelling or while I’m waiting around for class. So yeah, because of my time constraints as a student, not only am I not able to play that many videogames in general, but I also play specific kinds of games.
Another staple of a student’s life is a severe lack of money. Well, not severe; we always can survive and make rent, but there is a distinct lack of disposable income compared to our older and younger counterparts in life and gaming. Again, the lack of time for students means that we can’t easily go out and get a high paying job to get more of that sweet sweet cash; even if we do, that means we have even LESS time to play videogames. It’s kind of a vicious cycle of not having money or time. What’s even worse is that new games, unless we find some kind of site or sweet deal that has them for a reasonable price, tend to be quite expensive. This means that as a student, I and many others need to be quite selective in our buying of games, thus we play less games overall.
This lack of money and ability to buy new games straightaway does become a little frustrating, since it means I can’t stay fully up to date on the newest and hottest titles. This is kinda annoying – I can’t really speak or say anything on whatever game that is dominating conversations unless I happened to buy it. The lack of money also means only having a few consoles, which again limits the videogames I can play. I have an Xbox One and a Wii U, but a lot of the people I know have PS4s and better PCs. My lack of money, due to being a student, leads to sort of an exclusion, since I can’t buy every game and console that everyone else has.
But gaming as a student isn’t all that bad. The general sense of community created at a college/university allows you to quickly find friends who have similar interests. Whether it be due to the fact you are thrust into an environment with more people than you are used to, the societies/clubs catering to your interests or all of the above, you tend to find other students who share you love of video games. Having others to play with is fantastic in and of itself, but these other students are in the same boat as you in many ways. What does this mean? It’s that your student friends will want to trade games back and forth, since they too lack money. On top of that, if you don’t have a console and your friend does, you can just go over to your friend’s house and play it. That’s another major part of gaming as a student: playing local multiplayer games with your friends. This is such a large part of gaming as a student, since the social nature of university/college life just lends itself really well to this experience; so as a student, you end up playing lots video games, usually drunk, with your friends.
Gaming as a student usually does mean that I don’t have a lot of time and money. It really sucks for me and many other students, since we can’t always do what we love due to our monetary and time constraints on our lives. But as I’ve hopefully shown you in the previous paragraph, it’s not all doom and gloom since university/college life does lead to finding friends who share your passion for a bunch of pixels on a screen. So even though you can’t always play videogames as much as you want to, there will be others there who feel the same and ease the pain a bit by playing a silly local multiplayer game with you.