As I’ve written before, I’m not a terribly social person in real life. But by some strange twist of fate last week I found myself going out three nights in a row and partaking in one or two (or maybe more than that) alcoholic beverages. That’s why I’m now sitting here writing this post with a hangover, feeling sorry for myself and keeping a packet of paracetamol close at hand. Why I didn’t pay attention during Fable when the Hero would throw up after having a few too many beers?
If only I’d listened to the sage advice offered to me by video games, then perhaps I wouldn’t feel as horrible as I do. Forget parents, school and books: it’s our hobby that can provide us with all the answers if we’d only just pay closer attention to what it’s trying to teach us. I’ve reached out to my blogger friends and here are the useful (and some more serious than others) life lessons they’ve picked up through gaming.
Always keep fighting
“So, life lessons. A interesting about them for me is that I grew learning more from external media than my parents. Not that they were bad parents, I just can relate to game characters more, like how the Sonic series taught me to never give up, and in the case of Sonic Colours, to have fun with life. Or how Kingdom Hearts taught me how to always believe in your friends. However, I think that the biggest thing a game taught me was to keeping fighting, even when they look their darkest in Final Fantasy XIII and to have confidence in yourself with the character Lightning Farron. Games may be just a story telling medium to some but for others (and me), it’s inspires us to push beyond our limits.”
“I spent a really long time playing Mirror’s Edge a few years ago and it caused me to start visualising ‘parkourable’ objects in the real world as glowing red, so that was odd. (I think it’s attributable to the same things that cause the Tetris effect, or playing too much Tetris and seeing everything as shapes and blocks to fit together.) What I learned from this is that not all drainpipes are secure enough to climb and that sometimes the best way to get from one place to another is, like, public transport or something, as awesome as it might initially seem to sprint the whole way across rooftops or whatever.”
“Video game logic taught me if your ever in a tricky situation always hide in a cardboard box. That’s why I always carry one with me! Just remember not to move until the exclamation mark above you disappears, otherwise your whole carefully-crafted plan will quickly fall apart!”
“It’s amazing how much the walking simulator genre has enriched my life. In the past I’d enter a room, know exactly what I wanted to do there, do it, then leave. Now with my expert walking simulator knowledge I know that when you enter a room the very last thing you should do is the thing you actually went in there for.
“Firstly head the opposite side of the room to the thing that you need to interact with and just start picking up and handling objects you’re bound to find something interesting. This doesn’t just apply to rooms; paths and corridors have a similar effect. Need to head north through the woods? Well, set off in a southerly direction and make sure that you’ve investigated every tree stump, cave and boulder for hidden things. Eventually you’ll end up going the right way, probably… Have you been told to go upstairs to fetch something? Well, make sure that every square centimetre of downstairs has been explored first pay particular attention to opening drawers, reading notes, and listening to tapes or record that may be in a player. This whole rigmarole goes down particularly well in the houses of friends and relatives.”
“Video game logic has taught me to never directly go for my goals, because doing everything else I can possibly do before that – even if it’s not related to what I originally wanted to do – will make reaching my intended goal easier. I don’t think this works in real life. For something that can actually be applied to the everyday then, RPGs taught me that you don’t have to have the ‘best build’. The only thing that really matters is knowing how to use the skill points and abilities you have. They might not always be ideal, but there is always a way to use them to get to the next stage of the game.”
“Video game logic taught me to think outside of the box and look for a solution, trying to read the situation and quickly react and adapt to it. But what I notice the most are two things. My speed in repetitive tasks, and my reflexes. I find that I have quite fast reflexes and I can do grinding… I mean repetitive tasks quickly.”
“Having played plenty of action-platformers, the one series that has taught me the most in life is Castlevania. It’s deeply philosophical, with the ever pressing question of ‘What is a man?’ being at the forefront of most gamers’ minds. However, it’s not the philosophy that has taught me the most valuable of life lessons, rather that the game has shown me that property renovation is a great career choice. You get to whip walls and when you do, you have a chance to find a delicious roast chicken dinner! As PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds would say: this is a winner, winner, chicken dinner.”
“True story: Yoshi’s Island on the SNES motivated young me to learn how to read. I really wanted to know what Kamek was saying before boss fights. The Grand Theft Auto series taught me that cars on fire can explode, and it’s a good idea to stand far away from them instead of gawking at them with cell phone cameras out (I saw that scene this morning… no-one was hurt).
“The Final Fantasy XIII trilogy taught me about me and helped me cope with a lot of personal issues by giving me a cool shero to look up to. Bowser from the Mario series taught me to embrace failure and wield it as a weapon… or something like that. The Dragon Age and Mass Effect games taught me that true friends will always be there for each other, no matter what horrors are befalling the continent / universe.”
So tell us: what life lessons have video games taught you?
This post is dedicated to Megan from A Geeky Gal, who very kindly nominated Later Levels for the Blogger Recognition Award last month. She’s one of the loveliest people on the internet so make sure you give her a follow if you’re not doing so already!
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Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.