Words by Cole Mañalac
Featured image from TNC Pro Team Facebook Page
Video games are a fickle thing. There are so many things people can (subjectively) define it because of its numerous uses and the influence it can achieve, from attaining the status as a benchmark for technological advancement to being a vessel that contains stories that aspire people to change or revolt against their demons.
But why is it that people don’t romanticize games the way they do with writing or stuff of the like?
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Awesome Games Done Quick 2019, a semi-annual speedrunning marathon that supports the Doctors without Borders (Taken from Games Done Quick on Twitch.tv)
I’m sure that while growing up, the average Filipino gamer has heard the famous line of moms everywhere, “kakacomputer mo yan.” At first, it comes off as annoying. You begin to think to yourself, “why are you bothering me while I’m playing?” On one hand, it’s understandable on the side of our elders. Maybe we are spending too much time playing games. But, inwardly, this is what we usually think: “They wouldn’t understand.”
But it’s true, they wouldn’t. While they were growing up, they didn’t have the luxury most gamers have now. The power to play almost anything at the touch of your fingers. From games such as Mobile Legends on your smartphone to Super Mario on the Switch, all the way to monoliths such as CS:GO on a computer.
It helps that there’s a wide selection of the type of games we want to play. What keeps us playing is the escapism and immersion. So many different kinds of games keep on drawing us in because it’s so very different from reality. It allows us to be entities we aren’t. We could be the web-slinging Spider-Man, the hunter that topples otherworldly threats, or even a simple farmer, doing day to day tasks. There’s no doubt that people like PewDiePie, Markiplier, Tobuscus, and so much more YouTubers were also crucial to the popularity of gaming now.
I think that if it weren’t for the popularization of YouTube Gaming, millions of young teens wouldn’t be as engrossed in gaming as they are right now. Even Minecraft helped spur a generation to push through with their creativity. The game itself encourages building enormous structures, and undoubtedly inspired a generation of future architects and engineers. Even professional gaming has become mainstream, with games like Defense of the Ancients 2 reaching a gargantuan prize pool of 30 million US dollars (and rising!) for its annual flagship tournament, The International 9. The emotions every kind of game can give is overwhelming, and I think it deserves proper respect.
An emotional hug from The International 8 champions, OG (Taken from allsportspk.com)
Professional SSBM Player, Leffen, winning EVO 2018 (Taken from ESPN esports)
The possibilities are endless, and that’s what engrosses us in playing these kinds of games. Even so, there is a stigma that keeps enshrouding players here in the Philippines. It doesn’t help that the nation is widely conservative. It has come to point that when a negative event that condemns video games happens, it’s much more noticeable than a light-hearted revolution that helps spur millions of people.
Though, in recent years, it’s obvious that the nation has been more supportive. A notable supporter is Bam Aquino, who was one of the people who helped make ESL One Manila 2016 (the first premier esports tournament in Southeast Asia) a reality. Of course, other factors are the involvement of Filipino organizations like TNC in competitive DotA. However, it goes to show that we’ve come a long way. Video games, whether we like it or not, have become a crucial pillar in our culture. It has spread all kinds of influence, from literally changing lives to becoming a profession, to even being a landmark for making laws.
Gaming is going to keep on evolving, and maybe it’s time we all learn to equally respect people who enjoy and devote time to playing it.
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Have you had any experiences with games and critique? Comment down below to share with us your experience!