Jason's Story - My Growth Through Gaming

A Gamer Story by Jason Chu

As a current Dalhousie University freshman, the time for gaming has faded away in my life. However, I still manage to make some time for this type of entertainment. Gaming has been one of my important friends I go to when I am cornered by the homework of an engineering first-year student.

Growing up in China for the first 15 years of my life, I was heavily influenced by my father, who claims that games are “the root of all evil.” Luckily, the rest of my family was kind enough to give me the chance of exploring this fictional world. My family kept this secret from my dad so that he won’t lose his mind over me. He kept reminding me that this will only make me stupid. That is why he was like a volcano about to erupt whenever I played video games under his watch. Fortunately, we reached an agreement that I could play the games once a week. Some exceptions were made when he was extremely happy, but I was not allowed to touch any of them for most of the week. Even with all these restrictions, I still had a good time every time I played on my Play Station Portable or my family’s Apple Laptop. I rarely watched my friends play a game full screen on a desktop when I was young; I wish I could have tried that once, and at the same time, I wish my grades were as good as my friends’. Overall, my gaming experience in China was well restricted by my dad, my school, and extracurricular activities. In my opinion, it seems that I had been inside a fictional world just like the in-game environment in which I played.

I was proudly admitted to Dalhousie University located in the heart of Halifax this September, after finishing three years of high school in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. According to what I have been told by my relatives and friends, university is the place to explore the outside world. However, these beautiful lies fell apart when I was overwhelmed with the homework of a typical first-year engineering student. The time I don’t spend on homework is just for eating, sleeping, and socializing, which includes gaming. It is said that people’s brains change as they grow; they look at the same things differently. Amazingly that is exactly the case when I play games during this particular time. After some effort searching various gaming websites, I found one of my favourite games, when I was a kid, at last. At this moment, I felt that it is the best treat I could have. To a 20-year-old man seeking his true educational purpose, I seem to be too old for the content of the game, but it brought my thoughts back to primary school in China. It felt so good to enjoy this game again at this point of my life. I also learned a lot about how gaming is perceived here in Canada. Like I mentioned before, Chinese families pay close attention to gaming time, while some Canadian families hold a completely different perspective generally speaking. In the case of my host family, things are very different. Kids were exposed to a huge collection of games. Unlike Chinese kids who would go crazy about this, the youth here seem to have good control over themselves—they are not that excited about it. For example, I was so surprised and excited to try the PlayStation 3 and 4. They were completely new to me and I thought I would never have the chance to touch them. In my opinion, the openness and availability of games here actually is an opposite stimulus for the role of gaming in our lives. I realized that the western society actually lets the people find the balance of entertainment themselves, rather than setting up restrictions to keep people out in the dark.

After all, as a student, my main task right now is to study and build my information system for the future. However, certain amount of time can be spent on gaming. As for the community, modern day gaming is capable of bringing thousands of people around the world together. Personally, my gaming experience and history impacted my life in both good and bad ways. However, as I grew into adulthood, I have learned that this will indirectly improve my time management skill, while being able to have fun at the same time.