Screentime with Students: Valorant


The average gamer plays 7-12 hours of video games a week and have consistently had their own reasons for playing a variety of different games. But what does it mean when a certain video game overpowers all the others, becoming one of the most popular FPS games in the world within months? Valorant, the recent rage in the video game industry, has steadily been one of the top first-person shooters since its release in 2020. Certain factors that aren’t in other games have fueled the game to rise to the highest of the ranks. Cresskill High School student Philip Om, an avid gamer, speaks about what he believes has made Valorant so popular. 

“I think there’s a fun aspect of the game–it’s a first person shooter and I’ve never played a first-person shooter before. It’s something about winning every game and like, sort of an addiction comes up.” Valorant is a team game where one team must successfully plant and explode a bomb on the other team’s sites, while that team must defend the sites. Although you must work together with your teammates, the game is very individual-focused as well. Each person will have to pick an agent, or character, before the game starts and you will be equipped with a certain set of “powers” to help you get kills and succeed. The combination of how you performed along with how your team performed as a whole is a large factor in determining your mental satisfaction for the result of the game, when one team reaches 13 wins. 

Valorant has several different modes as well, with unrated and competitive being the most popular, which both consist of the standard rules and amount of matches as previously described. In competitive mode, every single win and loss matters. Every time you win, you’ll earn points, or RR, to earn the title of the next rank. However, losing is always worse and you can risk going down a rank, as losing takes away more RR than winning. “Whenever you win and you get more points to get to the next rank–it kind of motivates you to want to climb the ranks and get higher,” Philip says.

This addiction shows in all Valorant players. Philip’s gaming sessions are usually 2-3 hours long which can be anywhere from 2-4 matches. When asked if he regrets spending so much time playing the game, he replies, “Sometimes yes, because I neglect my studying and therefore it kinda shows in my grades.” To some people, the feeling of getting kills and winning matches overpowers the student responsibility of focusing on grades and studying. The worries of school melt away when people get swept up in the captivating competition of the game. 

So why would Philip continue playing Valorant when he said himself that he regrets playing? There could certainly be several unknown reasons, even for the players themselves, but one definite aspect would be the fun you get from playing with friends. “…it’s because my friends ask me to. I don’t normally play by myself but it’s more fun when you have people to climb with.” 

Playing Valorant, especially competitive mode, alone, could affect a player’s mental health from the constant pressure of not being able to afford to lose. Being nervous or stressed whilst playing the game could minimize focus and control, therefore reducing the player’s performance quality. Just to add onto that, the gaming community has always been generally toxic, so there’s a chance of getting toxic players in your team. Because of these reasons, it’s important to have the comfort of playing with a friend so you have at least one person you know to eliminate the chances of getting teammates you don’t want. 

In the end, many factors contribute to the addiction of video games, like the feeling of getting kills, winning, getting to the next rank, and having fun with friends, where Valorant checks off all of them. Although many players themselves know the reasons why they are getting addicted, they don’t stop playing, as the happiness and satisfaction awarded from the game isn’t worth it to sacrifice. Because of the genius system created by Riot Games, Valorant continues to grow and be one of the most popular video games in the world.