Punching Toilets and Chicken Dinners: Packer’s New Gaming Craze
You’ve seen it by now. Students all around school yelling to their friends about punching toilets and chicken dinners. While this may confuse many, all they are talking about is Packer’s newest gaming addiction: surviv.io. While many in the community have found this game fun and entertaining, it has caused concern due to its violent nature.
Surviv is a game in which up to 100 players from all around the world are placed into a virtual battlefield and players find weapons to kill their opponents in an attempt to be the last player standing and win the game. After the success of similar games such as Fortnite: Battle Royale and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, the surviv craze at Packer took a fast and strong hold on many students.
The amount of time committed to the game depends on the person. Some devote limited time to the game only playing once or twice a day. Others, however, like Edoardo Carlon (‘19), spends “all the time I am not doing school work” playing. While some might think that spending so much time playing a computer game will negatively impact school performance, Edoardo does not agree. He says “if I’m not doing school work I’m going to be doing something unproductive. Surviv is just one of those things.”
Despite its popularity, some students and administrators have begged the question of the game’s appropriateness in a school setting. Especially given the recent movement surrounding gun violence, both around the country and in Packer, some think that a game that depicts the use of guns and has an objective to kill the other players is not appropriate for school.
This came to a head on February 23rd, when all of the grade deans posted a message on their respective Google Classrooms which read, in part: “While we don’t explicitly ban video games in the Upper School, we would like you to give some serious consideration to whether or not this is an appropriate game to be playing on campus, especially given recent tragic news events…while we recognize the difference between fantasy and reality and support your ability to make choices about how to spend your free time here, we would strongly urge you to refrain from playing video games that glorify shooting and other forms of violence.”
In terms of why the deans released this post, Amy Roberts, the 11th Grade Dean, wrote in an email that the deans were told of concerns from the community about the violence in the game. After a dean’s meeting in which they discussed the issue, they decided that the best course of action was to just to write the grades.
Edoardo, along with other students, had a strong opinion of the post, explaining that “yes, there is shooting, but in no way, shape, or form does that glorify violence… If people have a problem with it, they have a problem with it. But I shouldn’t be allowed to play because someone else has an issue with it.”
Drew Myers (‘18), one of the leaders of gun violence protests earlier this year, had more mixed feelings on the post, pointing out that “Packer tends to agree with my argument in the difference between fantasy and reality when it comes to shooting games, and the real issue [to the administration] seems to be a moral one.” However, when it comes to arguing if students should play the game he “[doesn’t] mind the game being played because students have their freedom to do what they want in their free time.”
An anonymous junior agreed with the sentiments in the post saying “My issue with the game is not that there is a link between violent video games… and violence and shootings. I think that at this moment in our country, it feels insensitive to be playing a game that is about shooting people… when we have kids our age dying at the hands at the hands of a gunman.”
While some may think surviv should not be played in the school, many students will continue to play what they see as an innocent, simple game open to anyone.