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.

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Lagos: a country in Nigeria

Okada-riders
What does the Chairman of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, want for Lagosians? These days, his actions make me think that he doesn’t want many people in his domain.

Lagos as it is known, is that heart of commercialisation; every damn business that you can think of can be found here. It is a hustle state.

Many migrate from the thickest of all villages down here for greener pastures, which is ironic though, because the grass ain’t that greener here but either ways, they just prefer Lagos.

As a kid that didn’t grow up in Lagos, I heard stories of this populous city and imagined all sort of things. But on getting here, it’s been over 12 years now and honestly, life here is on the fast lane (high BP levels).

I’ve been to states like Owerri, Osun and I’d say that living there is worth every penny, as there are many unexploited opportunities. But no one cares mehn, Lagos is the way forward.

Having said so much, it seems the state government has seen the desperate heart of Lagos loving Nigerians and have decided to give people that second thought on why they migrate to the hustle state.

I may not know the “real” motive behind the registration and issuing of identity cards to Lagos inhabitants, which is to commence in 2013, but according to a report, it is aimed at “providing better governance and to control the influx of ILLEGAL CITIZENS”.

Illegal citizens? When did citizens of a country become illegal citizens of another state within the same country? Or is the state government trying to pass a coded message (go back to your villages)?

I accept that keeping track of the inhabitants of a state is a wonderful idea, as every advanced country does that. But is that what my dear state government should be worried about at this point in time? Have they finished providing for my basic needs (employment, light, security of life and property, shelter etc.)

Last year, the state government restricted the operation of commercial bikers from 8pm and that was backed up with the excuse that robbery cases have been facilitated by them. To me, it was a reasonable decision.
Just weeks ago, another law to totally ban these riders from major roads was implemented with no justification except for the clichéd robbery cases.

To what should I owe this law? Since its implementation, life in the state which has not been so easy, got worse. I mean, going out on a normal day without your own car, has gotten to the level of “fatigue” (the military meaning). Some okada riders who can’t afford to secure any other jobs, have been rendered jobless.

I would like to remind the state government that Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution states that, “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof…”.

From the aforementioned section of the constitution, it is clear that okada riders and citizens are at freedom to move throughout a state/country. So it can be said that the ban is an infringement of rights.

Besides the ban on bikers and the soon to be introduced registration of citizens, Lagos has got more uniform men than Tolu Complex at Ajegunle. It’s like almost every offence you can think of has its own uniform men. LASTMA, VIO, Road Safety, KAI, LAWMA (yeah, they’ve got their own fair share of uniform power), the Men In Black (Police) etc. Are some of the uniform men operating in the hustle state. I even heard there are now anti one-way agents. O_o

Well, there’s nothing wrong with having too many security agents in a state, but the question is, how effective are they?

I know my dear governor wants the best for us but I would like him to calm down. He should look on the bright side of having lots of people in his state. Below are few of the numerous benefits;

— a hotspot for any business activity
— an investment haven for companies
— more people to pay tax, therefore generating more income, and many more…

Also, when the federal government is allocating money every month, he’ll get a bigger share, which we all know that not all the cash will be spent on the state ;). So why complain of immigrants? Just saying 😀

By the way, if the state government really needs to ban anything…why not touts/agberos. Thank you!

Aluumi9ja: Aluuminising Nigeria

Aluuminising Nigeria simply means putting an end to everything that is holding back the country’s progress.

The word aluuminising is coined out of one of the most popular words on the lips of Nigerians, Aluu; which means the act of putting an abrupt end to anything good or bad without hesitation. While Aluu (Naija English) means inhumane act; or of without mercy.
Other forms of the word are aluuminise, aluuminised, aluuminisation.

The origin of the word can be traced back to October 5, 2012 when indigenes of a particular community in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, defiled the laws of love and humanity to massacre four students in cold blood. The word has since then been used as a threat to anyone who refuses to behave his/herself.

Examples:

· Due to poor officiating by Referee Mark Clattenburg, Mikel Obi has urged the English FA to send Mark to aluu.

· Dimeji is a Bank-Ole and should be aluuminised.

· The secret brain behind Globacom telecommunications, who also wanted to run for presidency in 2010, deserves aluuminisation.

You know, I have brainstormed for weeks but yet to find an understanding why the people of that community acted in such manner and only just recently came up with an explanation for their ill behaviour.

You see, the word “Alu” in my native home, is a word associated with abomination. Anyone, whom the word is used on, is usually an outcast (not accepted among other humans). So, I would say the ancestors of the village called Aluu in Port Harcourt may have probably been expatriates from my home town and decided to find a habitat for themselves in a bush area which later developed into a community in the city of Port Harcourt.

In fear of rejection by people, they decided to add an extra “U” to their name and there the village ALUU came into existence.

These people, who displayed the act of animalism on four youths of the village, who were later known to be the #ALUU4, have since then been blacklisted by Nigerians and many of them may find it difficult gaining admission into schools or securing jobs (If I were a native, I would go and swear an affidavit for a little tweak on my birth certificate).

But wait a minute; let us be considerate in our thoughts towards these people. Perhaps, the name of this community had a big part to play in the manner in which they treated their very own brothers. You know it is said that “a good name is better than gold”.

Albeit, let us temper justice with mercy. We shouldn’t judge
the whole community because a handful of them acted inhumanely, but rather I think they need prayers, as it might be an ancestral curse which was embedded in their name… perhaps!

Although, the word aluu has become associated with anything
bad, I would like us to take a break and look on the positive impact of this word as I believe there’s always a good side to any bad situation.

For instance, wouldn’t it be a graceful happening for Nigerians if corruption was totally aluuminised with all propitiators given an irrational share of what the #ALUU4 experienced?

Wouldn’t it be a thing of joy if we were to wake up one day to hear that someone, somewhere, somehow had administered the right dosage of aluuminisation on every cabal at the administrative helms of Nigeria?

Well, I’m still waiting for the day when we will employ the bravery of Ghana’s notorious Rawlings and do away with our hopeful hopelessness by deleting all forms of cabal on our fatherland.

“When hope becomes the captain, inaction has been employed
as the coach.”

FYI: There is a possibility that the writer of this piece
was under the influence of alcohol while typing and all aforementioned names are auto completions done by #Swype. I take no responsibility for any names mentioned. Thank you!

Teen hawkers: Child abuse a norm?

Child abuse can be seen as a situation whereby the fundamental human right of a child is neglected. In most cases, the child is exposed to unnecessary hardship and odds in life.

The term “Child abuse” might ring a bell here, but the fight against it is limited to ink on white paper. It appears that we have switched off our consciousness towards this demeaning practise.

Statistics have shown that about eight million children of school age are out of school, meaning that the reason for high level of illiteracy in the country is not far fetched.

kids are maltreated everyday under the guise of ‘discipline’. Just maybe a little ‘F5’ or ‘Command R’ on Child abuse would do.

Below are few of the numerous abuses children in Nigeria experience;

Batter for every little mistake; calling names (big head, olodo etc.), ridicule (always comparing them with other kids), excessive criticism (all he or she does is wrong, never an accolade), street hawking, withholding communication (denial of friendship), denial of education (used as maids or sales personals) and many more.

The flash-light is however on street hawking.

Teen street hawking is not new to the Nigerian scene, as every major road in the country has them like kiosks (Abokis) on every street.

As inhumane as this practise may be, which is actually child abuse, it has become a “normal thing” (We see it and look some place else) in our society.

A recent experience with a street trader left me disturbed about the future of our country. A teenage girl within the ages of 17 and 19, ran to me with a product she was selling ( the product looked like some concoction made by a witch/wizard doctor in a bottle). It wasn’t my first time of encountering such, so my response was “not again” with a smile.

Things got a little awkward though, as this anonymous teen hawker who was supposedly trying to persuade me into buying what I may never have use for, started acting unruly. She dragged my hands towards fondling with her … all in the name of marketing.

In disbelieve and disgust (not that she was dirty), I shoved her aside and walked away wearing a “Whadda…???” expression on my face.

For God sake!!!!!!!! why would a young girl who should be at home with her parents, be trying to market something at 8:00 pm and in that manner? Is she marketing the product or herself? I couldn’t phantom the reason for such desperate exhibition until I had a flashback on a similar incident earlier this year.

At about 10:00 pm on the streets of Victoria Island, Lagos, two young girls came to me for the same purpose.

Being compelled by their marketing prowess and persuasiveness, I decided to purchase whatever it is they were selling and used it as a collateral to ask few questions on why they were out marketing stuffs at such an unholy hour.

According to one of the girls, they had milestones to meet if they were to get their pay (most of the money coming from the number of sales they had made i.e Commission marketing). She also said that they had to complete their target for the day to avoid being fired by their boss, as their job was a means through which they kept life going and settled some bills.

At that time of the day??? Who are these bosses and do they have the well being of these girls in mind or just concerned about their money, not thinking how they go about getting it?

What if these young ladies are raped? what if they are killed for some dubious reasons by dubious humans? What if…??? The dangers in which these teenagers are exposed to are numerous.

The truth is that these girls are not doing these odd jobs because they are loving it, “na condition make crayfish bend”.

It is saddening and alarming because I want to believe that in a country like Nigeria, there are laws guiding against such abuses.

In 2003, the National Assembly passed the Child’s Rights law, as a way of tackling such menace, but it seems not much has been done about street hawking. But as a HOPEFUL (that’s all we Nigerians have in abundance) country, let’s HOPE that one day, street hawking will be abolished and these children will be given a good opportunity of a sound education.

“A faulty foundation, needs no plan for a sky scrapper.”

PS: Although the child abuse law has been passed at the federal level, it is only effective if the State Assembly enacts it. Till date, only 16 out of the country’s 36 States have passed the Act.

Nigerians: Enemies of ourselves

The cold blooded killing of four young, promising and energetic Nigerians in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, left a question hanging in my mind “who is the enemy?”.

How on earth can a fellow man, probably from the same clan, maybe next door neighbours, carry out such a hideous act on a brother and gracefully sleep well at night???

I could barely watch for a minute the gruesome video that portrayed the highest act of inhumanity and couldn’t help myself but imagine how those predators who committed the dastard act stabbed mercy by employing all sorts of death tools to the demise of their preys. They watched their victims beg for a second chance at life.

The suspects may have stolen one thing or the other, but come on, even as much as I have deep loathe for thieves, they didn’t deserve such an untimely end as there were other ways to deal with them.

Disturbing images of the #ALUU4 still surface in my thoughts.

A similar incident occurred in Lagos some years ago when a little boy (he was between the ages of 15 and 18), who was alleged to have stolen a baby, was charred in front of a partisan crowd.

The crowd cheered (kill him!!! Kill him!!!…Bring petrol!!!… Bring tire!!!) as this little boy was ferociously beaten and drag on Lagos roads before being burnt to death by savage humans who had seared their conscience. And just like the #ALUU4 incident, security officials were no where to be found (I bet they would have surfaced if the least of our country’s valuable notes were involved).

In the light of this cruel habit, if we Nigerians have so much detest for thieves, why is Dimeji Bankole still walking around a free man? Why is Obasanjo still farming at Ota, why is Farouk Lawan still living in the comfort of his house? According to reports, these men have misdirected fund records. Simply put, dem dey steal our money. Or have they not stolen enough to warrant such jungle justice?

Besides the aforementioned men, those in the administrative helms of this country steal more than the eyes can see and yet walk around as free as birds. They even dare to flaunt it at our faces and yet no one has stepped up to neither cast the first stone nor scratch a match stick (it all ends on paper with no action). Then, why jungle justice on people who God might have had a different plan for in the near future, when HE doesn’t dish out judgement upon us even in all our shortcomings.

It is obvious that we Nigerians are the enemies of ourselves. Ironically, those who sent those young men to their early graves could be robbers themselves. Well, I would like to remind them that “those who live by the sword will die by the sword”, so the Bible says . And for those who don’t believe in the Bible, I’m sure they know the law of Karma.

If we do not have love for one another and yet cry everyday that our leaders are the reason for our problems, of what use is our struggle for a better Nigeria? Is this how we intend making a change?

“Death is not the end, the extinction of love for humanity is.”

I weep for our nation.