BATANG MINDANAW: Confessions of a Gamer

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/06 March) — I was born and raised in an environment where technology is reaching its peak, so when I was still five, I already knew the difference between those plastic phones and the real ones. Because of this, I was not easily satisfied with toys that you can mash and smash together or playing those street activities. I began to seek games that require dexterous fingers, quick eyesight, and solidarity and like a diamond falling in front of me, I found the perfect games. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Computer Games.

I found out about this wonderful thing one day when I was looking for my brother in our school. I was told that he was in the internet café just a few minutes’ walk from our school, so like an innocent kid who forgot that he still had a class that afternoon, I went to that place and found my brother in front of a computer screen and clicking on his mouse furiously.

As I watched, I saw little creatures fighting each other. I was amazed at how the game progressed. The power that you can unleash on your enemy with just a simple click of the mouse. After that, I began to ask my brother to teach me the game (which is DOTA), and since I’m such an irresistible little brother, he obliged. He taught me the basics until I can handle myself already. I never knew the risk of playing games. I mean, who would get hurt by just pressing a few keys and clicking the mouse?

But boy, I was wrong.

The game wasn’t enough to satisfy my wild imagination and desire so I began to seek other games. Hitman. Splinter Cell. Grand Theft Auto. Etc. Etc. A lot of games passed but they turned stale on my watch. I was allocating all my free time just to play computer games in internet cafes and it grew worse as each day passed. My life was eat, study a little, go to the internet cafes, play games for about an hour or two, go home, eat, then sleep. This went on for my whole Grade One year.

But this habit ended during the start of Grade Two. I was cleaning the classroom with my other classmates when I noticed something warm was sliding from my nose. At first, I thought it was just mucus but when I made it to the sink to wash it, I saw the water turn reddish. I looked at the mirror and saw a glistening red liquid running from my nose again. It was blood. A lot of it.

My parents were immediately contacted after that incident happened. I could remember my mother’s eyes full of care as she held me. A few days later, we went to a doctor in Davao to test my blood if ever something was wrong with it. After taking out a “small” sample using a large syringe, they found out that I had a blood sickness called Iron-Deficiency Anemia, a common sickness among people who don’t eat vegetables and who are always exposed to radiation.

It’s not shocking news for me but my mother went pale after hearing this. After losing my older brother to Leukemia, I guess she had a trauma for sickness with “–mia” on their names. My gaming hours were reduced until they’re so short that I couldn’t enjoy playing anymore and lost interest in them, and because of those games, I was forced to consume “yummy” medicines made from those God-only-knows-ingredient. I also noticed some defects on my body; I find it harder to breathe, rashes began to show in my arms, I became thinner, and I easily get infected with fevers and coughs. Talk about major drawback. This therapy continued until I moved here in Bukidnon, which after a few weeks of control and my uncle’s cooking, fixed me up a lot.

I haven’t really quit playing games. I still play from time to time but I know my limitations now and I know when to stop. I also found that books can provide a good spark to my imagination, so life is good. And I also heard that Devil May Cry 5 is already released…

Uh-oh. I guess I’m going to lose it again. (Batang Mindanaw is the youth section of MindaNews. Karl Rev. Vigo, 16, is a fourth year student at Bukidnon National High School in Malaybalay City.)