Why Students Play Games

A group of students play a game together on a bus. Students at Franklin play games as a way to pass the time and fight boredom.
Photo by Sadie Tresnit.
 

During every spring break I can remember, there’s been a stretch of time in which I am so totally, all consumingly, mind numbingly bored. It usually happens sometime in the middle, after the glory of getting enough sleep has worn off, but before the stress of procrastination catches up to me. This spring break was no exception. It hit me one day as I was lying in bed, bored of the entire internet and two thousand miles away from all my friends. I desperately wanted something to do, and that something turned out to be games.

I used to be a self-professed hater of all games, and the phrase “I’m allergic to games” was one I used often. Since then, I’ve changed my mind. Games such as chess or Uno can be a fun distraction from life, which can be stressful and messy and unplanned. Moreover, games present a simple, possible goal: winning. Whether you’re playing a board game, card game, video game, or something entirely different, winning is a great feeling. As Grace Curley (10) says, “[I like playing games] because I always win.”

Games can also be a great way to spend time with your friends, whether inside or outside of school. “Games are an excuse to either be alone or with friends, and they can be competitive or casual,” says Aubrey King (11). Despite their often competitive nature, games can be very low stakes and are a casual way to relax with friends and unwind. Especially with board and card games, conversation can go in almost any direction and last for hours. Also, icebreaker games, such as two truths and a lie, can help you get to know new people or learn more about people you already know. Especially in new classes, icebreaker games can make everyone feel more comfortable and less nervous. Games can make a scary situation more manageable, and I believe that’s invaluable.

When every existing game in the world has been exhausted, students can invent their own games. One anonymous sophomore told me about a game she made up with her family. It’s a variation of twenty questions, involving twenty one questions to figure out either a torture method or a way to die. It all started when she and her brothers were bored of regular twenty questions and wanted to play something more interesting. Be it 20 torture questions or something more tame, inventing games harnesses students’ limitless creativity and also uses the the analytic parts of their brains. This makes games a fantastic way to triumphantly vanquish boredom once and for all.

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