The GameAuthority Scholarship 2019 Winner

GameAuthority is excited to announce Sai Tippana from Georgia State University as the winner of our 2019 Annual GameAuthority Scholarship. To apply for the scholarship, students had to write about gaming and education. We are now accepting applications for the 2020 scholarship award.

More about Sai

I am Sai Tippana, a high school senior. I was born in India but moved to Sydney, Australia When I was five, where I spent most of my childhood. Seven years later, I moved to America, and three years later I moved to England, where I stayed for a year before returning to America. My father works for airline companies, which is why my family has to move around a lot. I plan to pursue a Computer Science degree in college and specialize in cyber-security.

Sai Tippana

Sai Tippana - 2019 Scholarship Winner

Sai’s Winning Essay

How Video Games Have Shaped My Learning

The first video game I can remember playing was Spiderman for the PlayStation 1 when I was four years old. I recall the first intriguing experiences I had swinging over the yellow-hazed city on to the blue tinted rooftops and sneaking through office buildings. This game, the first one I ever played, was already teaching me a valuable lesson: problem solving. I remember having to sneak through one of the floors in a skyscraper to find something that Spiderman needed, but I could never get past the guards in the building. I would crawl around them, try to fight them, run past them even; none of them worked. I wouldn’t just simply press the wrong button and accidentally blow my cover or not be able to win a fight from bad combos, I kept being caught by guards because I couldn’t find a strategy. I had to think properly about how to get through them; this was more complicated than any preschool finger-counting I was doing. I soon figured out where to shoot webs so I can swing properly, how to sneak around certain walls by going upside down and how to stop guards by tying them up in webs. This is critical thinking that a child would experience nowhere else at that age. 

Later, I got into God of War because of my cousins. This game was less complicated but it taught me one essential lesson; creativity in the face of adversity. The monsters that Kratos fought in God of War were sometimes plain scary, and I was afraid to fight them. Firstly, I had to bring myself to fight them, and not just put it off, which subconsciously told me that procrastination wasn’t the way to accomplish tasks. Once I brought myself to the boss battles, it wasn’t just about defeating the villains. How creative could I get? What combos could I strike? What special moves could I use to bring down the bad guy? This exploration in the face of simulated danger os important in developing responses and learning proper ways to find solutions to problems.

An important way video games have changed my thinking, especially with me being brought up in a very academically competitive culture, is by teaching me that it was okay to fail. It was okay to lose the game, to not defeat the bad guy, to not get first place. It taught me not to give up even if I fail, to not stop until I had finished the mission or improved enough to win a boss battle. This made me more open-minded, considering more than just the singular possibility of success. The persistence that video games taught me is an imperative lesson that I use everyday in life. By giving me the opportunity to face a multitude of challenges and fail, games have helped me learn how to succeed properly and how to fail acceptably.

I have many games that I like, but there are only a few that have made a significant impact on my life. One of these being The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Aside from the captivating main storyline, the game had many, many hours of side quests. For most games, side quests are something for the player to take part in when they get strained by the main quests or for extra loot, etc. but The Witcher 3’s side quests tie into each other almost seamlessly. Only after you’ve played the quest do you realize how it flows into the rest of the world; exploring new mini-stories like these on the side was truly refreshing. This game drew me in to the story so much I even ended up reading the books it was based on; it was that good. The main game had multiple-approach quests, resulting in me picking different playstyles for all three of my playthroughs. Most importantly, this mission design helped me understand that going the extra step, exploring that one dark cave, or completing that peculiar side quest was worth it. It showed me that the beaten path was not the only way to go about the story. This didn’t mean that everything ended happily; if I made a bad decision or decided to fight when I could’ve negotiated, I paid the price by having to deal with overpowered enemies or getting a consequence-filled ending.

Then came the DLCs. The largest DLC, Blood and Wine, was set in a magical, fairytale place, a stark juxtaposition of the main game world. This DLC was probably the most beautiful game I have seen/played. This let me sit back and just coast through the world, enjoying the sights and amazing music. It was mystical and enchanting just walking through the lake-side and looking up at the mountains and castle-towns. This showed me that there was beauty in inactivity; sometimes you need to just step back and look at the bigger picture that you’ve so intricately been painting. This game was an experience that I can never forget, it taught me many lessons and told me stories that I will replay over and over.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive is an old game, but thousands of people still play it everyday. I only started playing this game around a year and a half ago. CS:GO has definitely impacted my life for the better. My friends introduced me to this when I was in London, and soon we began playing it every week. It has since become tradition now for us all to get together and play every Friday night. Since I moved back to America, playing CS:GO every Friday has helped me keep in touch and engage with some of the best friends I have made. What I didn’t realize when I began playing this game was the amount of skill and problem-solving required to win games. So we found strategies, we practiced our aim, our positions, our weapons; everything. From this, our win/loss ratio has risen significantly and we play some strong competitors. I realize now, however, that the reason we play this game isn’t just to win. It’s to spend time together and just have fun doing something we all love. When your friends are thousands of miles away from you, there isn’t much you can do in terms of physical interaction, so the next best thing is through a virtual experience. Working together and playing through teamwork with people you know and love is a great experience on its own. The victories however, are a nice addition. When the whole team gets together and plays the right strategies with the right amount of skill, it’s great fun, and that’s what matters most: fun.

Video games have had a lasting impact on my life. Through the many adventures, the monsters slain, the matches won, and the friends made, I’ve had many things to take with me. Games have taught me patience, strategy, courage, creativity, and much more. Some games are awe-inspiring, some are awfully difficult, but all of them are memories I will cherish. There is little you can do in the ways of adventure in reality, but in unknown worlds of mythology, with maps to explore with friends, and with competitors and villains to beat, there is always something adventurous to be a part of. I have used these experiences to help shape my problem solving and critical thinking skills from a young age, and those lessons will stay with me as I continue to learn.