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Extremes of Gaming

By 2015, worldwide gaming industry will be a $91 billion industry, which will have surpassed the combined value of today's music and film industry. That's how big gaming has become. From the humble days of Pac-man to today's Skyrim, video games have touched a great part of our lives and have created an exceptionally strong culture that is here to stay.

Like everything else in the world, once a lot of people start getting interested in something, the researchers set out to figure out exactly how bad it is for us, and how that thing is going to ruin the world as we know it. The numerous studies done about the negative effects of video games show a surprisingly dark side to the world's favourite pastime. Video games have been associated with highly violent behaviours among the youth, physical and mental health problems like lone-term depression, eye problems, obesity and anti-social behaviours. That is just the beginning of things.

Recently, a three month old died starving in South Korea, because her parents were out playing a game, in which they were raising a child together. It will be counted as a death because of video games but both the parents were unemployed, with a kid and a life they desperately tried to escape from. That however, does not clear all the allegations made against excessive exposure to violent video games from an early age. A strong gaming culture like that of the World of Warcraft, where gamers play for 70 to 80 hours a week leaves little time for them to be productive in the real world. And gamers agree.

Mashroor, an avid gamer who plays around 30 to 40 hours a week, says, “One thing that I despise about video games is how it affected my concentration in school. I cannot study straight for 30 minutes at a stretch. There may have been other things contributing to it as well, but I would say it was mostly the constant 30 hours/week gaming. It's not all bad though, I met a lot of new people through gaming.”

Video games have been linked with excessive violent behaviour in many cases, and some, like the South Korean one mentioned above, leads to death (you would only have to Google video game controversies to find out about those mind boggling stories of video game influenced killing sprees). That does not, in any way mean that all the gamers are anti-social killing machines, but goes to show that kids are very impressionable and they should be playing age appropriate games in regulated hours. All games are not suitable for the young people but we see ten year-olds being allowed to play R-rated games because they are 'just playing video games'. Some of the best qualities of video games are some of its biggest vices. The instant satisfaction and zero accountability can lead to a lot of crimes that could have been avoided.

By Orin

The Blue Headed Devil

Cartoon for the next generation. Is it worse than its predecessors?

Remember that time when all we could talk about was Pokemon? With the cards and video games and all? Then Digimon came out and killed it. These days, there is another 'mon' in town, and it's not even Digimon. It's this round-headed, red-nosed blue creature that's all kids today can talk about. Yes, it is Doraemon.

Annoying has a new synonym. And it's blue.

Doraemon is originally Japanese. Yes, we've all seen anime dubbed in English, but it surely crosses the limit when it's telecasted in Hindi. Disney Channel happens to show Doraemon dubbed in Hindi 24x7 and everywhere you go, kids between the ages of four to eleven or twelve, happen to be watching each and every episode.

What's so good about Doraemon anyway? More importantly, what is it? Is it an alien, or a mouse? Do the children who fuss over it even know the answer to the question? There is also this boy wearing glasses who follows that unknown species around. And then they do random things like eat and sleep and fight. And something "unique" in each episode.

Problem is, Doraemon has crazy hypnotising powers. Children host parties based on Doraemon themes, where they wear Doraemon t-shirts and cut Doraemon cakes. Shops like Archies and Hallmark claim that Doraemon goods such as pens, notebooks and stickers are some of their biggest sales. It's like the time everyone was out buying Beyblades, but worse.

Back in the good old days, I'd known people who would convince their parents to let them watch cartoons by saying it would help them with English at school. How's Doraemon supposed to help? Do we have Hindi classes these days? Please let us not live to see such things. I have seen children speak Hindi, better than Bangla, thanks to the blue-headed freak. Parents ask them questions, and get replies in Hindi. They find it easier to express themselves in ways Doraemon taught them rather than their mother tongue. Someone help these kids.

Also, cable operators are at fault here. Why couldn't we get proper channels if we were to get foreign channels in the first place? I would prefer my cousin singing Hannah Montana songs rather than pretend she is friends with Doraemon. For the future of these children, somebody better do something.

By Padya Paramita

The need for Darkness Creams

At some point in human civilisation, we classified ourselves into two groups - black and white, based on our skin colour. Fair skin colour became the ultimate epitome of beauty and smartness until a bunch of Homo sapiens evolved, who thought this classification was at best redundant and at worst prejudiced in an era of science and technology. But before them another class of fools found out a solution for the dark skinned men and women who have been looked down upon for their entire lives just because of their skin colour-metamorphose the unfortunate dark ones into the fair faction of humanity. Thus the fairness cream came into being and transnational enterprises continue to make millions out of the crude concept of fairness cream even today-just because people still want to look 'fair and handsome' and not 'dark and dainty'.

Or maybe that's because the alternative metamorphosis from fair to dark skin is not really available at a bargain price for the commoners! And so instead of clamouring against transnational enterprises to remove one of their money spinning products from supermarket shelves, which is a futile exercise by any means, Human Rights activists should insist on companies producing 'darkness creams' besides 'fairness creams'. But would such a product find enough customers to ensure its viability? Here are some reasons why being 'dark and dainty' could benefit you:

Didn't your biology teacher tell you, fair men and women are more susceptible to diseases like skin cancer? That's because fairness creams destroy the pigment in your skin which actually protects you from harmful rays of the sun and in this age of consciousness, it's time people stopped harming themselves at the expense of their wallet. And for the unfortunate fair skinned men and women, darkness creams should provide the protective pigment absent in their skin.

You were caught red handed while bunking classes in school and were taken to the vice principal's office. And before she could hand over your suspension letter, the world went dark courtesy of load shedding. Now if you are dark-complexioned, camouflaging with the darkness around you can lead to an escape from her office before the generator starts working, saving you from an avalanche of ignominy that would have descended upon you were you not black.

If you aspire to become a model, being black might provide you the impetus you need for successfully launching your modelling career. Consider fairness cream ads- a money-spinning job for any female model. Now the advertisements always start with dark-complexioned women, who had been ignored by employers and men, suddenly finding new boyfriends and glamorous careers after the cream had lightened their skin Thus every fairness cream ads need a dark-complexioned model to start with, who transforms into a 'fair and lovely' lady only after using the company's cream. For every fairness cream ads, there is always the demand for a dark-complexioned model and thus the use of darkness creams might land you a lucrative modelling contract!

As is turns out, there are enough incentives for using darkness creams and it's time the bird-brained people at transnational enterprises realised that!

By Nayeem Islam



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