BONARERI: THE GAMING CRAZE, VICE OR VIRTUE?

BONARERI: THE GAMING CRAZE, VICE OR VIRTUE?

Gaming game is on the rise in Kenya

By Tracy Anne Bonareri

The gaming industry is becoming a force to reckon with. To substantiate on this theory I visited The Kulture Gaming Shop located in Eastleigh area. Here they use loud music to draw in their target audience and it seems to be working judging by the number of children and young men trickling into the shop.

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I take advantage of the numbers and interact with some of the clients and I soon realize how passionate they are about gaming and that to them this is more than a pastime. Kids are no longer into the traditional games we played growing up like hide and seek and playing football using a ball made of paper. Nowadays children play virtual games like PUBG, FIFA, XBOX, PlayStation among others. In the past, these games were meant for children from privileged families but due to establishments like Kulture, the social gap has been bridged.

Gaming and friendship

After having a candid conversation with the establishment’s CEO Mr. Dan Wesley and two of his employees Mr. Johnmark and Mr. Rodney, I realised there is a whole different side to gaming that I never knew existed. For some, gaming is a vice that should be eradicated from society while for others gaming is a virtue that should be embraced by all. The stakeholders in this shop argue that gaming has helped promote friendship among children. When they come together to play in the shops, they establish bonds that are not easily broken. They also claim that it helps boost the kids IQ. ” For one to play these games one needs to rack their brains otherwise they will keep losing,” says Dan Wesley.

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The players also earn money from this when they play loser but this is also where the vices come in. Loser is when you play against an opponent and the loser has to give a certain amount agreed upon before the game to the winner. This has been likened to gambling and sometimes children go as far as to steal from their parents just to play this game.

Gaming and relationships

If they are unable to get money they trade their clothes and toys just to be able to pay off their debts when they lose.  According to Johnmark however this is not their fault “When you go to the supermarket the cashier doesn’t question the source of your money so why should we question our clients’ sources?” Gaming has also interfered with the relationship of gamers and their loved ones. Rodney goes as far to say that if his wife tried to mess with his games and league table it would cause a rift between them.

Gaming and addiction

As their parting shot, they encouraged children to focus on education and only take gaming as a hobby. They also want taxes levied on such establishments subsidised and they should not be treated as gambling dens. More of these shops are bound to be opened as this is a growing industry with a huge fanbase. Granted, these games are addictive, but wouldn’t you rather have a child addicted to gaming than one addicted to drugs? This article will probably stir up a debate among readers but it’s all up to you in the end, whether the extent you would go for gaming makes it a vice or a virtue.

Tracy Bonareri is a Journalism Student, KCA University

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