Ye Olde Student Life: Games are just as addictive today as they were in the 1980s

A picture of the 1982 TSL article "Video Games Captivate Players."

Before the release of home video game consoles, gamers spent all their money on arcade games.

It might seem crazy to someone today to spend dollar after dollar on “Pac-Man” and “Space Invaders,” but that was the case in the 1980s. There were arcade machines at Pomona College’s Coop Fountain, and TSL ran an article in 1982 describing some students’ addiction to these arcade games.

People have always been crazy about video games. When I’m playing a game, time sometimes flies to the point where I can’t finish my homework. Those 10-hour binges on “Civilization V” make me extremely happy, but I have to acknowledge video games’ addictive nature.

When you get very intelligent game developers trying to cater to humans’ biological, social and cultural nature, not playing video games becomes difficult.

As a result, what adults feared in the 80s has became the reality today — the video game industry has grown exponentially into hundreds of billions of people worldwide.

Of course, certain things have changed — like the wide variety of games available today. The stereotype of geeky, introverted gamers no longer holds true; mothers are desperate to crush level 257 of “Candy Crush Saga” and many working adults play a game of “Fornite” or “Madden” after work. Mobile games have far more influence and reach than traditional console games, as they are easily accessible and quick to play.

At this rate, I am both hopeful for the future of gaming but also scared of its immense power. Maybe it’s time to go back to “Pac-Man”?

Michael He PO ’22 is TSL’s Ye Olde columnist. He constantly fights his urge to slack off and procrastinate, but once in a while does something productive and nice. Talk to him!

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