I recently caught up on watching the BBC documentary ‘Gamechangers’ based upon controversial video games creators Rockstar Games and their battle with lawyer Jack Thompson over Grand Theft Auto. The film clearly outlined the negative effect playing too many video games can have on one’s brain, in this case, extreme violence. This made me think that we rarely see the media talk about the positive aspects a video game may have on one’s life.
I am not a games fanatic, nor am I oblivious to the negative impact excessive gaming can have to one’s social, mental and physical life. Looking past the negatives, I am going to discuss how some of the skills I learnt from my childhood of playing video games, had a positive impact on the enterprising person I am today.
- Teamwork skills.
Whether it is playing a game with your friend to fight a war in Call Of Duty, or to complete a mission in Super Mario Land… Video games teach you the basic knowledge of working within teams. In each scenario you rely on one, two or more players to help complete the mission at hand. This could be the equivalent of a construction team coming together to build a house, or in my case a team of students coming together to create an event… the principles are the same.
- Have a strategy
It is fair to say that my experience from building cities and armies on Sims and Age Of Empires taught me a thing or too. Some things in life you just can’t rush, you have to plan strategically in order to meet your final objective. This skill is transferable to both real lifestyle objectives ‘raising money for a house deposit or to go travelling’ and business objectives ‘to increase revenue to £1,000,000 by the end of 2015′. Another aspect from these games is that they apply the pressures that you also get from real-life scenarios. In Age Of Empires, if you don’t strategize quick enough then you will likely be crushed by your enemy; this can be said for getting an idea to market!
- Problem Solving
I have faced so many challenges within my life that have required simple problem-solving skills. Who can forget trying to complete Campaigns on adventure games where some levels seem impossible? The only way to complete them is to scan your environment and engage your brain to make the most of what you have… usually the key is hidden in the last place you look!
- If you fail, get back up.
Just to confirm, you are not Mario and you do not have 5 lives… especially if you are bashing your heads on ceilings… however these video games do share a fundamental message. Yes… you will have failures, yes sometimes you will feel hopeless and that you can’t get past that spiky hedgehog, but keep trying as eventually you will get there! The more you try… the more you learn and the longer the fail, the sweeter the success!
- The new global socialising?
The last point is a taboo subject; I believe that the best kind of socialising is physical rather than through a computer screen, however, some friends you simply can’t see day in and day out. Social Gaming gives those the ability to socialise with new friends from all around the world, and learn about new cultures and experiences at a young age. For me, any think that promotes multi-cultural relations is a good thing, especially with the increased unity in the world today.
I hope you enjoyed the post and ask you not to see this as an excuse to sit on your Xbox all day! Play in moderation… but understand that you need to harness the skills you learn, and apply them more to just the fantasy world of gaming!