University or The Sims?

As a Queen of procrastination, I managed to discover my old ‘Sims 2‘ games several days before I move back to University in Manchester, and as I have spent many consecutive hours forgetting I was a real person, I realised how easy technology influences us and the negative effects it has.
The Sims is a life simulation video game series, developed by EA Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It is one of the most successful video games series of all time, and for 14 years its kept people like me addicted for hours (weeks). The Sims 2, and 3, have an expansion pack called ‘University Life’ where you can go through 4 years of college in a day and come out with a diploma and get a place on the ‘Dean’s List‘, but I’m currently only 4 months into University and I have already found myself enjoying my fake life rather than the real thing. University, for me, has been a lot different to what I expected and I am still undecided whether I like that or not but, for now, my focus is not giving up on something that I worked this hard for.


The Sims sparked up a few life questions whilst I was playing on ‘University Life’ and one was ‘Why am I giving this little pixelated girl an amazing life and I still have an essay to do and bags to pack?’ but my main train of thought was about video games effects on young people. Computer games have this mesmerising and obsessive effect on people that is now being distinguished as a psychological disorder, although it is not recognised as a diagnosable disorder, and they can take over peoples lives. Games like the Sims give players an unrealistic perception of life and it makes them feel as though they are fulfilling things in their own live when in actually reality they’re wasting their life, affecting their health and hurting their eyes. As a self-confessed internet and video game addict, I know games can be used as a way to take your mind off things and it is something fun to do to pass the time but games consume people and some have the ability to change a person’s mindset. For example, Grand Theft Auto has been known to have caused some players to become violent and in extreme case criminals. But there is a big difference between the people who take the game seriously and those who play to just play.


And It’s the same for films. They can temporarily change a persons state of mind and make them believe their personality is different to before. Or can even cause copy cats. In 2009 a boy of just 19 years of age was renamed the “Starbucks Bomber” after imitated the work of Tyler Durden, Fight Club 1999, by setting off a homemade bomb in a New York coffee shop. CBS News wrote “whether he was merely misguided or out to imitate the Brad Pitt character []”



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Jamie McIlhatton

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