Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WEB & TECH / NOV. 15, 2015
version 13, draft 13

8 Life Lessons From Video Games

It may be difficult to digest, but video games can be quite educational. Furthermore, the game mechanics can sometimes have hidden wisdom that can be applied to other aspects of life. Sure, these lessons are not groundbreaking, or something one would not figure out eventually, but still, games are far more efficient teachers than we give them credit for. The best way to illustrate this point is through the four Cs of education (Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity).

These are also known as crucial skills of 21st century, but so far, people have had a hard time integrating them in the educational system. So, we have students who do well on their math test, but fail to see how that knowledge is applicable in other spheres of life. On the other hand, these skills can be perfectly integrated into games, the problem is that people who play games don’t realize they are practicing them.

The following article will list several lessons that are implemented within different game mechanics. So, here are 8 life lessons or skills one can acquire from video games.

See Also: Can Video Games Show Us Who We Really Are?

1. Tetris – Things Don’t always go the way you intend

Tetris is one of the most popular games ever made, and there is no person alive who hasn’t played it at least once. In other words, anyone can relate to the feeling of waiting for a particular piece to arrive in order to shatter the blocks perfectly. However, in spite of your plans and intentions, Tetris will always randomly select a piece that comes up next. There are many messages that can be interpreted from these sort of game mechanics.

One might argue how this illustrates that the universe is indifferent to your plans and suffering, and things won’t always go the way you want them to. Another lesson from Tetris is that if you are quick on your feet and can deal with everything life throws at you, there is a good chance you’ll achieve your goals.

2. Bloodborne – Life only becomes easier if you get better

FromSoftware are Japanese game developers, renowned for creating games that require an exceptional amount of skill to conquer. Their latest release, Bloodborne, is by far the hardest, but as you adapt to its difficulty the game gradually becomes easier. The game is designed to punish reckless decisions, losing focus and lashing out in anger or overconfidence. I personally think this is brilliant since it is a good metaphor for life in general.

Additionally, you should avoid boss fights, they will leave you broken, and you will have to start all over – one must have an incredible level of competence to pull it off. Again, this is both an in-game and life lesson, pick a fight with the boss only when all other options for progress are exhausted.

P.S – Just to be clear, a boss fight in real life is a verbal argument, not a brawl.

3. Monkey Island – Life requires out of the box thinking

When people mention Lucas Arts, the first thing everyone thinks about is Star Wars. Well, for me the first association is the Monkey Island series. I grew up playing these games and absolutely loved every one of them. In order to advance in this game, one must rely on creativity rather than logic. Of course, no one should ever do things from Monkey Island in real life, but its message transfers nicely into different aspects of everyday life. Whenever you hit a brick wall, you have either overlooked something, or you need to take a different approach to solve the problem.

4. Wolf Among Us – Sometimes there are no right answers, just tough choices

This is more of an interactive movie than a video game, and there are numerous ways to go through the story. You can make different choices as you interact with other characters, but there is no ideal path – no matter what you do someone ends up dead, or there is some sort of injustice that goes unpunished.

You assume the role of a sheriff, and can be a good person, but if you fail to uphold your ideals and duty by turning a blind eye, you will be regarded as incompetent.

Alternatively, you can do things by the book, but hurt many people in the process, and lose close friends who were with you since the very beginning. Although it is not very empowering, it is a good experience, because sooner or later life becomes more complicated and filled with “doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t” situations. 

5. World of Warcraft – Coordination and teamwork are essential for success

When it first came out, World of Warcraft quickly became the cocaine of the gaming world – children started skipping school, relationships were torn asunder, and healthy sleep cycles became just a myth. However, it would be wrong to place the blame entirely on the game, after all, one does not migrate to the world of Azeroth because he or she is well-equipped to deal with everyday problems.

The game only revealed just how many of us refuse to deal with insecurities, so we opt to level up and advance in a world where this is somewhat easier. Additionally, World of Warcraft was designed in a way that once you reach a certain plateau of power, you must rely on teamwork and collaboration to advance further through the content. It is a nice way to say that flying solo won’t get you far, so you’d better work on your people skills.

6. League of Legends – Don’t blame others for your own incompetence

This is another game that invites cooperation, but it does so from the very beginning. As a consequence, people who think highly of themselves create a toxic community where one gets yelled at for every minor mistake, especially if their team is losing. However, people who focused on their own shortcomings, and worked on them to become better, had a far better experience.

This is a good way to demonstrate how teamwork should function, and how to cope with failure. Shifting the blame is never a good way to operate – focus on your own improvement, and filter out those who are egocentric to create a positive atmosphere that allows everyone to give their best. 

7. Portal – Critical thinking is the best piece of equipment

Portal is one of the greatest games out there, and created in a way that anyone will enjoy, regardless of their genre preference. Even if you don’t like games, in general, you are bound to have a blast playing portal. It encourages creativity, critical thinking and to top it all off the game is extremely fun to play. Basically, you have a gun that can create portals, i.e. windows of opportunity, and with that power comes great possibilities.

Every office or workplace can benefit from critical thinking. Why not make it fun!

8. Farmville – Routine boosts efficiency

You either got completely absorbed in Farmville, or absolutely hated it for all those requests your Facebook friends spammed you with. Farmville, like all other Facebook games, uses the Skinner box method to monetize its gameplay experience. In other words, it relies on people making a habit out of playing, which is done by using an energy system that takes a whole hour to refill.

However, because of this system, we slowly create a routine, and as long as we follow it our efficiency is maximized. The same applies for work and learning. In order to be productive you need a routine, or a set time during the day when your full attention is directed towards a particular goal.

See Also: 6 Most Profitable Video Games

As you can see games are more than just simple entertainment – it is up to us as society to fully tap into their potential. If you liked the lessons and have interesting games or game lessons of your own feel free to share your opinion in the comments.  

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