How we worship video games without even knowing

Computer-Game-CenterMr Caino twice ended his relationship because he was put on the spot of choosing between love and game consoles, surprisingly, he chose gaming.

“I am an addict…they got to understand that you don’t make a brother choose between his toys and your touch,” were his words.

The love for video games has over the years evolved from generation to generations. From the years of Atari by Atari, Inc; Nintendo’s Famicom; Sega’s Sega Mega Drive; to Nintendo’s Game Cube; Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s XBox.

What started out as a device for the young in heart, has now become a leisure platform for those in their 20s, and sometimes 30s depending on individuals.

These days people between the ages of 10 – at least 25 years, are actively seen engaging themselves in the act of competing against each other via gaming consoles.

In August 2013, Sony announced the placement of over a million pre-orders for the console before it was released. In the UK, the PlayStation 4 (PS4) became the best-selling console at launch, with the sale of 250,000 consoles within a 48-hour period. On November 22, 2013, Microsoft confirmed that it had sold one million Xbox One consoles within its first 24 hours of being available.

Also in December 2013, when the PS4 went on sale at a slashed price – Fall Yakata Christmas Sale – by an online store in Nigeria, it was sold out within minutes. The website reportedly crashed due to a traffic surge.

Arcade centres at Leisure Mall (Surulere, Lagos), Play Zone (Ikeja City Mall, Lagos) or E-Centre (Sabo-Yaba, Lagos) are places where you will find video gamers spend as much as N1,000 – N2,000/day on video games. These gamers also spend at least 2-3 hours of their time on these games.

Daniel, a 15 year-old who was at Play Zone said he spends at least N2,000 each time he came to play the PlayStation 3 with his friends. He said he could spend more depending on the money he had on him.

Tolu, 20, said that he has spent as much as N5,000 a day on playing video games.

“When you start playing, you don’t want to stop, there’s this excitement felt within. But when you run out of money, that’s when you realized you have just spent so much on game,” he said.

Arcade centres may not be biting hard on the pockets of many now as they were in previous years, as a lot of people are now opportune to have these consoles at home. This is very unlike the mid and late 90’s when having a game console was not that easy. Game lovers had to patronize arcade centres to satisfy their gaming desires.

The Video-Gaming experiences
In the late 90’s there were few Malls with arcade centres, but they were pretty expensive. Students had to rely on the local game houses around them, were they spent almost half of their day and blew up all their money. Few years after, the number of individuals, who now own consoles, have increased notably.

Caino, the Co.Owner of East Boys Entertainment. Abuja, gives an account of his video gaming experience; “I started spending money renting games right from the brick game/golden light era. Went on to Gameboy, then on to Nintendo’s Famicom. I remember trying to save N1700 to buy my own Famicom; It took me 8 months to realize N600, so, I gave up. I got flogged a couple of times for staying out late.

“I managed to get my own Sega, but technology won’t let me be. They had to bring out the PlayStation (PS). I started renting! Finally, got my own PS, but I was punished with PlayStation 2 (PS2). And then, I discovered a studio that offered some cool Nintendo Wii gaming. That became my second home. One time, I spent N25,000 in two days, on both days I sat there from 9 am till 9:45 pm. On other occasions my costs were about N4,000 daily.
“I broke up twice with my girlfriends because I chose gaming over them. But they gotta understand…. You don’t make a brother choose between his toys and your touch.

“Anyway, all that’s gone now. Obi is a man now, and can afford his own toys. I usually have friends over for a gaming night with my PS4.”

David Femi, who works for a private firm in Lagos said; “I spent lot of cash while learning to play when I was growing up but not any more. But I still spend time playing games – 2 to 4hrs depending on how free I am. Back in school, I used to spend at least N1,000 daily for games.”

Females are not left out of the gaming world as Deborah Onabanjo, a graduate from Babcock University said; “I play video games on my PC and don’t see anything wrong with it, as most girls do. I like playing “NEED FOR SPEED”, “CALL OF DUTY”, and spend a maximum of 3-4 hours.”

“I have never spent money on game centres before because I buy consoles. Right from the days of Famicom, Sega Mega Drive, up to Play Station 3, I’ve bought them all,” Wunmi, a Yaba College of Technology graduate in Business Administration said. When asked the number of hours he spent on gaming, he said, “It depends on the game that I’m playing. If it’s God of War (GOW) it can take a whole day.”

Rilwan Adesegun, a writer said; “In Yoruba, there is an adage that says “owo ti omode ba kokori akara loma fin ra” which means; “the first money a child get he uses it to buy beans-cake” I used mine to play PlayStation One. I didn’t have specific hours for playing because I played until my money finished. Most times I’ll play four games and wait for one free game to balance it.”

“I spent quite a lot of money in game centres. For the record, I was the best Street Fighter (SF) player in the whole of UNIBEN till I left the school. Even till now, no one can try me in that game. When it comes to SF, I am the king. I could beat anyone with any character…I had no respect for the second opponent… I didn’t care about ladies at all. I was just having my fun…connecting multiple super combos into one glorious kill to get a reward of three meteors smashing into the ground when they the game screams K.O,” Emmanuel Edet, an IT support worker in Lagos, said.

Why are video games important to gamers?
To some people, video games may be a waste of time and for unserious minds, but to lovers of these consoles, it is a way of escaping the troubles of the world and ease themselves of daily stress. Some believe it’s a way of increasing one’s intelligent quotient (IQ).

“I guess they make me become smarter and more aware of my thinking skills. And gives me the opportunity to live in a world away from reality…Where I have total control of everything that happens to me,” Caino said.

“I play video games because it helps ease my mind from Nigeria’s problems, which is a better option than nicotine,” said Wunmi Okebukola.

“For the fun of it. Competing with friends and basically to taste a bit of new challenge,” was the opinion of Ojiako Kenechukwu, a student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

“It’s sort of escapism from the real world. Plus I have fun doing it,” said Tunde Apalowo, a film maker.

It is an established fact that if you want to capture the market with any product, your target should be the young minds. This is evident in the fact that although the children of yesterday have grown to be responsible adults of today, there’s still that soft spot for games in their heart, which Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are still capitalising on.

A good business
Running a Game Centre (locally) is arguably one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria, because the target market has young gamers who are passionate about video games and always want to compete against each other.

Football is no doubt the world’s most popular sport and fans all over the world follow the sport not only by watching, buying jerseys, betting and cheering but also by using their favourite teams on game consoles.

Felix, also known as Onile, runs a small game house in the heart of Lagos with the PS2 (two consoles), PS3 (one console) and Xbox (one console).

The arcade owner, who started the business four years ago, says that although some of the customers (most school children and adults mostly between the age of at most 18-25) have personal video game consoles at home, most of them still prefered to come to his centre, as it is a basis for competition among them.

Talking about the business opportunity, Felix said that he has more of the PlayStation because Nigerians are more acquainted with it than Microsoft’s Xbox. He charges customers N50 for the PS2, Xbox and N100 for the PS3 to play one game which lasts for 10 minutes.

Operating time for his games centre are from 10 am to 7 pm, sometimes 8 pm, depending on customers in his shop. (at least 9 hours).

He said the games mostly requested for is Football (ProEvolution, FIFA), while other customers loved playing Mortal Kombat, Street fighter and Car Racing.

On a good day, Onile makes N4,200 for the PS2s alone, N3,600 for PS3 and nothing less than N2,100 for the Xbox.

At the classy arcade centres, a game (Football – which is the most commonly played) costs as much as N500 for 10 minutes at Play Zone, while at Leisure mall and E-Centre its N200.

Purchasing these game consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U) cost between N75,000 – N80,000.

#Mutiny: Why the 12 military soldiers are condemned to die

Military-courtTwelve soldiers were on Monday sentenced to death by a nine-member military tribunal in Abuja for attacking their commanding officer while on duty.

The soldiers, accused of mutiny, – a situation in which a group of people (soldiers) refuse to obey orders from their commander and try to take control of themselves – a crime in the military which is punishable by death, had on May 14, 2014, rebelled against their commanding officer during one of the battles involving military officers and insurgents in Borno state. Some of the soldiers were said to have fired shots at the General Officer Commanding, 7 Division of Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Ahmed Mohammed, in Maiduguri.

Mohammed had to take cover as they aimed their guns at him – firing bullet-holes in his armour-plated staff car – but he was not injured.

Of the 18 soldiers accused of violation, 12 were convicted and sentenced to death, one was sentenced to 28 days in jail with hard labour, while 5 were discharged and acquitted.

Why these soldiers revolted
The convicted soldiers were angry after a convoy of military men were ambushed on a road frequently targeted by Islamist Boko Haram militants.

Also, there were reports last month of a group of soldiers in the north-east refusing to fight Boko Haram until they received better equipment. Front-line troops often complain that they lack adequate weapons and equipment to face insurgents, while others complained of not being paid or properly fed.

Coupled with the loss of colleagues, closed friends and family members, these probably triggered the human in them. For a second they forgot the rules of the military, which they had signed up for and let emotions override the directives of their commanding officer.

Mutiny is death
The Ultimate Military Rule is “Obey First Before You Complain”. Essentially, Military officers have no right to express their personal thoughts or feelings once a command is given by their commanding officer.

Some of the crimes punishable by death which are regarded as mutiny are;
-Coup d’etat
-show of cowardice while on duty
-Forcing a safeguard
-Striking a superior officer
-Disobeying in such a manner as to show a wilful defiance of authority or command given personally by his superior officer

This is not the first time military officers have been sentenced to death for mutiny in Nigeria. On 13th February 1976, Lieutenant-colonel Bukur Suka Dimka led a coup which claimed the lives of three officers; General Murtala Muhammed, Head of State, Col. Ibrahim Taiwo, Governor of Kwara State and Lt. Akintunde Akinsehinwa, ADC to Muhammed. This led to the arrest and subsequent execution of Dimka and his co-conspirators.

Also, on 22 April 1990, Gideon Orka staged a coup to unseat the government of Ibrahim Babangida. The coup failed. Following that failure, there was a trial and the largest execution of coup plotters in Nigeria’s history. Sixty-nine soldiers of various ranks were executed by firing squad.

Even our colonial masters have not been spared of the occasional mutiny. The biggest wartime mutiny (disobedience) in the history of Britain’s armed forces occurred in September 1943. Military officers of the 51st Highland Division and the 50th Northumbrian Division who had been injured in the North African campaign were told that they were to be returned to their colleagues in Sicily, but once they boarded a ship, they were told they weren’t actually being returned to their original units at all and were instead being taken to reinforce US troops in the fight for Salerno. A total of 600 men refused to fight. It later transpired that the order to send them to Salerno had been given in error. 191 men were found guilty of treason, and three sergeants were sentenced to death. In 1982, the British government refused to offer a pardon, stating, “There are no grounds for doing so which could not be applied to many other mutineers and deserters . . . Nor which would not denigrate the actions of the many millions who fought bravely and obeyed orders at all times.”

So, there is no two way about the decision taken by the court martial in Abuja on the convicted soldiers. Although the charges were denied by the convicts, once again, in the military, it’s obedience before complain. These soldiers will have to face their death sentence before they can ‘have the chance to defend their actions’.
Court President, General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo said that while the sentences were subject to confirmation by Nigeria’s military authorities, there was no doubt about the seriousness of the offence.

The sentencing panel took into account the “likely effect on counter-insurgency operations” of the incident as well as its “implications on national security”.