Gaming is not a crime

By Zubayer Rana Abir

Sherlock_Holmes_The_Devil's_Daughter

Economic growth can be attributed to a number of factors. One of the biggest factors undoubtedly is technology and its biggest contribution to mankind is definitely the computer. The personal computer has radically changed the way we do work over the past two decades. Now, anything from typing a letter to sending mass emails to developing a spreadsheet, almost everything related to office work can be done through the PC.

While the PC helped out in solving our work-related hassles, it also provided us with entertainment. The best mode of entertainment was undoubtedly, PC games which eventually branched out to console gaming.

At the moment, more than 50 per cent teens all over the world love gaming. Besides teens, adults also love gaming. Comparatively, in our country gaming is usually frowned upon. The arguments of the naysayers include ‘The gamers do not learn anything’, ‘They become addicted to video games’, ‘They give all their time to gaming’ etc.

But most of these arguments have no grounds. For example, experts across the world have pointed out that learning can be more effective if it is done through entertainment.

For example, I know some gamers who learnt English while playing video games. This is similar to how some movie-lovers happen to learn languages by watching foreign films.

Learning English as a language becomes more effective when gamers play Role Playing Games (RPG) like Witcher 3, Mass Effect etc. In these games your characters can roam around in an open world and can investigate incidents, go on quests, find missing person etc. While doing so they need to converse and interact in English within the environment being depicted in the game.

RPGs also allow gamers to develop ‘Quick decision making skills’ as during some scenarios the gamers need to take the right decisions within the limited time.

There are also simulation games for airplanes, ‘Gran Tourismo’ (for cars) etc. through which the gamers can actually learn the basics of navigating such vehicles or planes.

In case of games like ‘Sim City’, ‘Minecraft’ and others, gamers can get a preliminary idea about foundation building in architecture and other things related to engineering.

In case of the story-based games, gamers get to live through the story. In some cases, the games are based on renowned characters and novels like ‘Sherlock Holmes’, ‘James Bond’, ‘Pillars of the Earth’ etc.

In other situations, the gamer can step into the shoes of characters in historical settings like going back to Europe during the industrial revolution through ‘Assassin’s Creed’ or fighting as soldier during World War I in ‘Battlefield 1’.

Through such games, the gamers can learn about history and also know about literature while being entertained. In fact, the movements of the character in the entire game, the gestures and the actions are enhanced by extraordinary graphics and visual effects that give life to the story. This is why a game is usually completed more than once by any gamer.

Gran Tourismo 7

The gaming industry is already a booming prospect across the world. Popular universities are offering courses related to gaming.

In the developed countries, gaming tournaments are allowing gamers to make thousands of dollars by taking part in contests. Award-winning gamers are provided the opportunity to work with popular game publishers like Ubisoft, EA Sports, Rockstar and so on.

Teenagers in many countries of South East Asia and North America are earning money while playing online games like ‘CS: GO’ , ‘DOTA’ and ‘Overwatch’.

But in the case of Bangladesh, we are lagging behind everyone else.

Bangladeshis had organised the international gaming championship ‘World Cyber Games’ from 2007 till 2010. During the tournament, gamers from Bangladesh won more than 16 trophies by playing the game ‘Need for Speed: Most Wanted’. The top gamers were also sent to the Asian regional level tournament. However, they did not fare well there, simply due to the lack of opportunities that was available back then.

But now, gamers of the country are not only enjoying world renowned games, they are also developing some. We have seen such development over the past two years when TEAM 71 made ‘Liberation 71’, an amazing game for Android platform.

Thus there is potential for gaming in this country and it can do the economy some good, if the gamers and game developers are provided proper support. However, immediately after the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, some people were seen on the news media claiming that video games are driving young minds toward violence and terrorism.

But this is not true. In video games, a boy or girl playing the game can do whatever they please inside the virtual reality of the game. If the contrary was the case, then some criminals arrested over the past few years in Bangladesh would have been found to be gamers. But this has not happened.

In the end, video games have become an alternative to entertainment. Even before the 2000s, children and young people could play in open spaces or fields in Dhaka and in other urban areas. It is tough to find any open space or field now that has not been encroached to make a high-rise apartment building, a shopping mall or are being used for other purposes. Rather than becoming drug addicts or muggers, some young people opt for video games. This is, in no way, a crime.