Games and gamers have always been unfairly targeted for violence, witchcraft and whatever else stirs the pot in conservative conversation. After all we’re just a bunch of fat, jobless losers right? We learn to kill, rape and jack vehicles from video games right? Of course not, but we have learnt a few tricks from games even when we don’t acknowledge it.
Have you ever sat back and thought about what practical skills video games have taught you? Well we have and made a list of the things that we owe to our beloved past-time.
For all the dying, continuing and researching how to get better, I have to say that gaming teaches perseverance like nothing else. We clown those among us who give up and run for a cheat code but applaud a god that has memorized the bullet patterns in Radiant Silvergun in order to maneuver it flawlessly and embarrass the game. We die, we lose and we keep on plugging – apply that to real life and you’re a champion.
One day at 13 when my step-dad forced me to drive the car home after taking me to pick up his new one, I was stuck with a set of keys in my hands and a whole lot of arcade driving skills to back it up. I made it home, burnt up a lot of brakes but I drove a mile and parked that bad boy all off of gamer instinct. Sharp corners, counter-steering and recovering from wet drifts all come from games like Gran Turismo etc. as there were no practical applications of these things in driver’s ed or the videos we watched.
Many games teach you history even when you don’t care. Games like Assassin’s Creed give you an intimate look at Leonardo Da Vinci, Caterina Sforza and Machiavelli. I’ve held whole conversations with people over the Chinese generals due to the Romance of The Three Kingdoms series. Gaming and History are like wife and husband, there is a little to be learnt in just about any tactical game that is based on the real world and not Science Fiction.
There is no set it and forget it in real-time strategy games, you forget about a unit and you will see them get wiped off the map. Sit around tending to your farms and get your village raped and pillaged by an invading horde. Great players of RTS games can ransack the enemy’s operations while tending to their people’s needs, giving necessary items to their allies for trade and keeping the nagging wife or husband on hold while sealing the victory. If you are a champ at Age of Empires, chances are you can mix it up in real life too. The best people at management seem to excel at RTS gaming and vice versa. Hiring managers I hope you’re listening, I know what I’m talking about.
If it wasn’t for gaming you would tell me to go West and I would probably look at you like “huh”? Now I find myself citing directions via North, West, South, East, like some sort of NPC in a Role Playing world. I doubt you will find a gamer, no matter the age who doesn’t know their directions well.
If you want be down with the Role-playing games, you had better learn to read fast. While this is going away fast with voice commands (thank you Kinect) and brutally simple games, the fact of the matter is your reading will improve by leagues if you played the older role playing games like Final Fantasy, Lunar and hell, anything prior to Mass Effect 2.
I have heard many non-English speakers say that they learnt how to speak English from games. Not only that but personally I’ve learnt a little Italian thanks to my man Ezio Auditore da Firenze. If anime fanbois can pretend that they speak fluent Japanese due to subtitles and an active torrent collection, imagine what a gamer can do especially when things are repeated infinitely in games?
I’m not sure how “practical” this is for a civilian but it makes for a better appreciation when I watch my war movies and also when I hear news about a soldier in the news. Oh, oh ya – I can also help my girlfriend’s daughter with her ROTC homework!
Lead a guild successfully for a few years and manage all those crazy nerd personalities successfully and you may find that applying it to life is not so hard. People logging in expecting you to make their game fun for them, competing guilds trying to sway your best members and the politics of the position is a great primer for that CEO position that you will get at 40. Okay so I’m being super-romantic about it but still, if you can lead virtual strangers, you can lead just about anyone.