With the inventions of phones, portable consoles, and customizable PCs, everyone can play video games. Gone are the days of video games being seen as useless or nerdy. I might even dare to say that video games are cool. However, this does not mean that gamers and video games are not always wrapped up in controversy.
Parents have always been against video games. It makes sense. From their perspective, it’s just entertainment and nothing productive. Now even parents can deny the 300 billion dollar industry which gaming has become. People can have real careers and fame from video games, from streamers to pro players to even casual gamers. While in the west, the significant pushback comes from the violence portrayed in video games. Many people consider video gaming the culprit for a rise in gun violence and school shooting. The columbine high school massacre was heavily used as an example of real-world violence caused by video games, as the shooters were avid gamers. The statement “video games cause violence” is just a scapegoat way of not addressing the actual reason for such atrocities. This statement has been disproven time and time again. Researchers have proven that video games help with cognitive development and are good for children.
Video games are yet to become fully mainstream in Pakistan. However, mobile gaming has become increasingly popular in Pakistan and in other parts of Asia and South America. Pakistan faced its first video game crisis because of PUBG, a popular mobile game. An 18-year-old “PUBG addict” from Lahore allegedly shot dead his mother, sister and brother while they were asleep.
According to police reports, he was addicted to the game, and after a constant scolding from his mother, he shot them out of frustration. Police also claim the boy said in his defense that he fired shots, thinking that everyone would come back to life like in the video game. What is fact or fiction in this case is hard to tell, but either way, there was an outcry to ban video games in the country. This ban lasted a few weeks and was eventually lifted. Such an incident calls for gun control reforms, mental health awareness and most importantly, and parental control. There are many examples of children playing video games all their childhood. These children end up becoming normal, compassionate and functioning adults.
One glowing example of what video games have to offer is our very own Arsalan “Ash” Siddique, a Pakistani professional fighting game player of Tekken. He has won several international championships. He has competed against the best of the best worldwide. ESPN awarded him the Best Player of 2019. He recently Combo Breaker in Chicago, USA.
Thanks to people like Arsalan and other professionals from the Pakistani gaming community, many tournaments and championships have begun to spring up at a national level. Allowing many kids to attain their life goals by doing something they love.