The most common complaint about playing video games is that it is a waste of time. That is not so. Not only are video games a source of entertainment, but can they teach players valuable skills. These skills are not just for playing more video games, but can be transferred into real life situations.
Games place players into fast-paced scenarios which require quick thinking and hand-eye coordination. Buildings can be collapsing, enemies can appear from around corners, or players could be driving on treacherous landscapes. The only way the player can progress through the game is by reacting quickly to sudden danger and perfect precision to avoid it. This skill can be transferred into real life because it helps with peripheral vision and staying calm under pressure.
Not all games are just about shooting and killing; some games require careful planning and micro-managing. Games such as Age of Empire are real-time strategy games where the player is responsible for the survival of a civilisation. Players have to balance between workers and soldiers. There is only a limited amount of resources. If players have too many workers and not enough soldiers, enemy tribes can easily annihilate the player. If players have too many soldiers and not enough workers, the player will not have enough resources to evolve their technology, making them vulnerable to more developed enemies. This skill can be transferred to real life to help with money management, calculation, and prioritizing.
Games like Call of Duty have co-op or multiplayer which requires groups to work together for a larger goal. Co-op is when two or more players are playing on the same console; multiplayer is competing online with people across the world. Not everything can be done with one person. When going against another team, the difference between winning and losing is who cooperates the best. One player can have the best individual score, but if he or she is paired with uncooperative players then that team will certainly lose. This skilled is transferable into real life as any successful business or sport team cannot function without collaboration.
Over the years the technology behind making video games has improved to the point where the only limitation is imagination. Video games can create worlds full of colour, surreal designs, ingenious cinematography, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror, suspense. Anything goes. Mass Effect gives the player the option to choose how the game will play out. A movie can only last more or less two hours. A video game can go on for as long as the designer wants it to. This means players can take their time in discovering little details that gives the game more texture and complexity.
Games are not about going from A to B, obstacles tend to get in the way. Players must learn how to solve each particular problem if they want to progress through the game. Not all problems are straight forward. Some require process of elimination, trial and error, looking for patterns, attention to detail, using the environment to one’s advantage, combining different equipment, and memory. Video games can teach players to think outside the box instead of doing what comes naturally.
These are just some of the things video games can teach players. It is a clever way of training people of all ages because they are not aware they are learning. Some games can teach all of the skills above, some only teach a few of the skills above, and some can teach skills not mentioned in this article. One thing is for sure, video games are not a waste of time.
Opinion By Ignacio Gatti