10 Practical Life Lessons Video Games Teach Us
You don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. It’s that one undeniable fact you can’t escape. All of us need video games.
Who doesn’t love video games, be it arcade games, computer games, dedicated consoles and even mobile games. But no one knew that playing games can teach us a lot about life lessons too.
While many individuals are sceptical about the role and impact of video games on well-being and productivity, millions of people around the world enrich their lives, develop lasting friendships, and learn life lessons from them.
From team building to never quitting and from helping us develop our motor skills to even encouraging us to take that life-changing step, they do all this. So here are some of the life lessons we all learnt from video games.
1. No enemies, no obstacles is often the wrong direction
Life is supposed to be difficult. It’s supposed to be challenging. And it’s supposed to get harder as you progress. That’s just the way it is.
We encounter obstacles and enemies all the way. No more so than in video games. Completely unprovoked, they will come at you, with weapons, energy blasts, sharp teeth, anything they can use to take you the hero down. They are a staple of the medium. They are the antagonist to your protagonist.
And it’s the same scenario in real life too. When you take on a new quest or endeavour, you will invariably come up against challenges. Things will go wrong, you will make mistakes, and people might even attack and work against you.
Maybe that wave of resistance from the world is a sign that you are on the right track and that you should press on, regardless what the naysayers say. You are going the right way and progressing only if you keep coming across new challenges to overcome.
After all, it’s these challenges and obstacles that contribute to our growth and develop our skills and competencies. We don’t get better without a little adversity; so, let’s not run from a fight. Face it. Have some bad guys. Get into danger. Getting ourselves out is how we improve ourselves. And gaming never misses an opportunity to impart important life lessons such as this.
2. Obstacles offer life lessons on striving forward
Video games challenge people to grow beyond their current set of skills. When people immerse themselves in a game, they view each obstacle as an opportunity for growth. Nearly every game these days has a levelling system to show that every action gamers take move them towards their goal.
In a video game, the path from Zero to Hero is clearly defined. Knowing what to do next is simple – cross the obstacles, complete the right quests and you know you’ll move forward and meet your goal. And research proves that we humans get hooked on the good feeling that comes as a result of making small steps towards a desired goal.
Further, gamers have an advantage in today’s world because they know how to confront obstacles and learn new skills while having fun. Hence, they see obstacles as challenges rather than viewing them as burden.
People can incorporate these small wins and show themselves they are levelling up in real life by breaking down their major goal into small goals. This way one can cross off a daily list and reward themselves with a prize after completing a certain number of quests that help them build even more momentum and stay motivated. Video games impart one of the most valuable life lessons of never giving up and striving forward.
3. C is for Choices and Consequences
Every human being is present with free will to make their own decisions. And people make choices all they time. They can choose to be positive or negative, to create or complain, to take responsibility or avoid responsibility. Each choice does, of course, have consequences, with both pluses and minuses.
And like real life, you are forced to make difficult decisions in gaming as well. Most choices in video games are morally clear — one is the good choice, the other is villainous.
You may start a game deciding to act as either the hero or the bad guy, or maybe you let your emotions decide, but most players often aim for a specific goal at the end. And your choices directly impact your progress in the game.
Just like in real life, everything you do in gameplay has a consequence; so it’s unwise to haphazardly make decisions about who to trust and what to prioritize. When you do make a decision, think through all the possible ramifications because nobody wants to get the bad ending by mistake.
And this directly impacts and influences your choices when you navigate through the course of your life.
4. You have more than one life (chance)
You get multiple lives in a lot of classic games. In some games, these lives are represented by hearts and in modern console games, a health bar indicates your progress or damage.
So imagine your chances in life like one of those retro games. You start out with three lives. You can earn more by meeting goals, by advancing far enough, or by exploring. It’s the same in life.
The more you advance, the more opportunities will come your way. And it’s no big deal if one of those hearts goes away. You can always refill. It’s rare that you miss that big chance without a replacement around the corner. You will always have another opportunity.
Just because you miss one doesn’t mean the game is over. There will come many more chances to make a change and to be different. You have ample time and scope to reinvent yourself and succeed.
You might have to start back a little bit or, if you’re lucky enough, right where you left off but the difference is, you always get that chance. However, this doesn’t imply you waste your lives or chances. Always do your best to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you and you will definitely reap the best life lessons from video games.
5. Video games boost team work
Don’t be that player who only cares about yourself. Don’t be that human, either.
Do something for others. Look out for other people. Work together. You can solve a lot of problems when you put egos aside and realize when one succeeds, the team succeeds. You can move a lot faster alone, but you can go a lot farther in a group. And video games are the perfect mentors to teach such life lessons.
Online video games bring together players from around the world, offering the opportunity to work as teams toward a common goal. As gamers enter into joint missions, skills such as leadership, communication, negotiation, and collaboration get a workout. A lot of research has been done to confirm that gaming can build real-life teamwork and interpersonal skills.
Working in a group can be hit or miss, but being on a team does have its benefits. When everyone fits into his role, tasks come easily and smoothly. Sometimes the best teams come together from different walks of life, so don’t be afraid because even the motliest of crews can win the day when they work together toward a common goal.
Some players may have a different objective in mind, which can cause conflict on the team but if there is seamless communication and negotiation, everything goes in your favour till the end.
6. Effective communication
Playing as a team means communicating properly. It may take you a while to realize that this didn’t mean to just communicate in a way you understand. Rather, it means to communicate in a way that others understand.
It’s common for gamers to rage when another player doesn’t understand them. All of us have definitely thrown our fair share of tantrums. But this was all because we communicated poorly and another player didn’t understand it.
But as you play over the years, you learn that communication is important if you want to win more. Not only do you need to communicate with your teammates about what players you intend to make, but you also to communicate with them in a way that they would understand.
Gaming teaches you to give constructive feedback to another player as you need to phrase it in a way that doesn’t sound like an attack. When you don’t that, your teammates resist, fight, rage, and subsequently you would lose the game because the team’s morale had disappeared.
The same instances are applicable in real life as well. Communication is key to substantial achievements and success and gaming grooms such essential life lessons we need to imbibe to reach new heights.
7. Failure is the stepping stone to success
Failure is every gamer’s ever present friend. If you are playing a game, you can be sure about failing a couple of times before achieving the final feat. But what is important to understand is it might not be right at the beginning, but it is coming.
It is all fun and play the first few times you fail, especially if you are new to a game and still learning, figuring out the enemy’s patterns and the environment. You might catch a break and grab a win after a few tries and move on with your heart thumping from the adrenaline.
But you can also find yourself struggling with a certain level for a while as your frustration bar fills up and clouds all the fun you were having before you got here. This is the point where you have a crucial decision to make – will you toughen up or will you quit?
The temptation to quit is always stronger. You have tried everything and been massacred, sent to the ‘Game Over’ screen again and again. You learned the patterns, you figured out the moves but it is still not enough.
But if you keep going with consistency and enthusiasm, it WILL happen. You will hit a break-through and win. And no one can teach such life lessons better than games.
After all, it doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you only have to be right once.
8. You learn something from everyone
When you are into gaming for a considerable amount of time, you play alongside and against kids, adults, moms, dads, lawyers, fraternity presidents, computer programmers, army veterans, life-long bachelors, hopeful widows and many such people from different backgrounds.
Video games open up a virtual world for you with endless possibilities of meeting new people. Hence, you are not bounded by boundaries when communicating with people around the world which leads to learning more about the other part of the world and its people and culture.
You are exposed to a much wider world online that your real-life settings. Gamers get the golden opportunity of connecting with people and learn more about them or pick up a few gaming skills from them. New connections and relationships that last a lifetime are also formed over gaming bonds.
Video games and other online spaces are safe for individuals because they allow people to communicate when they want to, with little or no pressure to respond immediately and without requiring them to be in the same physical space with others.
However, this is not to say the trend of meeting new friends over video games does have the potential to become dangerous for people, as there are reports of sexual predators using games as a way to lure people.
Even though reporting features and chat filters have made online spaces safer than ever, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on who you are talking to generally be aware about what is appropriate and what is not.
9. The only thing holding you back is you
When you play a video game, you control your character. If you want your character to cast a fireball, you hit the key on your keyboard and your character begins casting a fireball.
Now think about how your soul, your heart, your consciousness is the player behind the keyboard, and your body is the character. If your deepest desire wants you to go apply for that new position, go talk to that girl, go take a chance and leap off the edge of the cliff, and you’re mashing that button as hard as you can but you’re not moving, what does that tell you? You are not connected to yourself and you are ignoring yourself.
One of the most important life lessons that gaming teaches us is that you are in control of your own reality. If you want to go for something or want something, you simply work towards achieving it.
The difference between people who live the lives they’ve always dreamed and the people who don’t is the former listen to their inner voice and trust their gut instincts. The body is the character and your consciousness is the hand that guides you on the keyboard.
10. Learning and having fun goes hand in hand
Only work and no play make Jack a dull boy!
These words stand true in every turn of life. Irrespective of how much you work hard towards a goal, if there is no fun along the way, the journey can become a bit daunting, intimidating and boring.
Gaming is by far one of the best examples of making learning fun. It teaches you the basics, and then encourages your innovation, all while keeping fun intact. You can mix different gear sets and combine different stats to lean your character more towards survivability, or more towards pure damage.
Gaming teaches you that the best players are the ones that came up with new play styles different from the rest. Video games show the astounding amount of fun you can have while learning and understanding the tactics and skills.
This is one of the most important life lessons one can learn from playing video games. Even in real-life, it is of utmost importance to make fun and play a vital part of our journeys if we want to taste the true essence of both success and happiness.