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6 Skills Learned from Gaming

Going back a decade or so, gaming was an activity taken up by those confined to their mother's basements and their nerdy friends - well, if mass media is to be believed anyway.

Nowadays it's one of the most popular pastimes and seen in a whole new light. An entire generation captivated by their screens and tabletop board games. You'd think with all the hours we rack up, we must've learned something, right? Believe it or not, we have and here is our list of the top six skills gamers can obtain from playing games (in no particular order).

Number 1 - Problem Solving

This is most likely one of the most popular skills picked up whilst playing games (y'know, except from an incredibly diverse and multilingual swearing palette). It's a skill that isn't only picked up from puzzle games and mind teasers, it's woven into any and every single game that you've ever played, seen or heard of (except from maybe Alien: Colonial Marines but that's a whole different story).

Some problems only an M56 Smartgun can solve

The degree in which the gamer will pick up will vary, but think about it; Portal has you solve puzzles with little-to-no help, Tomb Raider has you navigate pillars and activate switches in sequence, Counter-Strike has you tactically take out the opposition whilst completing an objective, albeit whilst calling hax. All of these games integrate problem solving into them.

The thing is, without some degree of problem solving, a game would be nothing more than a movie and movies are so last season.

Number 2 - Social Skills

Some of our parents used to tell us to play outside and make 'real friends' however; it seems that when we were told this, said parents didn't take into account that the friends we held in 'real life' were merely friends due to geographical location.

The most popular man in the world, right here

Instead, some of us decided to take to online games such as World of Warcraft and Star Wars Galaxies. Worlds rich with lore, quests and, most importantly, other people. We learned to make friends with people because we shared interests, strike up conversations with people we barely knew and create real bonds with others based off more than geographical location or looks.

Sure, you could say that this was dangerous or not 'real' but so is talking to strangers face to face. At least we did it in a safe, moderated and monitored environment!

It's not just online games that have helped to increase social skills with games like Mass Effect and The Walking Dead allowing us to interact with other characters and have direct effects on the environment we helped to created.

Number 3 - Creativity

Van Gogh had sunflowers, Monet had a pond and we, we have interactive media.
Games have been sparking creativity for generations and by far the easiest example is within other games. Plenty of developers have publicly stated that they were inspired by another game to include a certain mechanic into their masterpiece and it only made it better. Other's may have been up late playing Crash Bandicoot, gone into work the next morning and realised that the most direct route is not always the most rewarding.

So, do I have enough to build a house?

Not only this, but games help to develop and inspire the imagination of thousands. How many new bloggers, journalists, authors and designers do you think there are today because they were inspired by a certain game. Every one of these will have a story about 'that game' that kick started it all.

Then there's the modding community! That's a whole other world that helps to breathe new life into games such as The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Garry's Mod, ARMA 2, Half-Life 2 and Minecraft. All of these mods would have originally been inspired by the game itself and the designer's keen eye and knowledge of the language. Here's to you modders!

Number 4 - Organisation

You are walking through a mysterious and legendary landscape when, all of a sudden, you stumble across a super-mega-awesome piece of equipment but, oh no, you have no free inventory space!

This game exists

Every gamer will have had this happen to them at least once. For most gamers, that's the last time it will happen to them because, from that day forth, they solemnly swear never to have a full inventory again. Games like World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Diablo will teach you about how to manage not only the items in your inventory, but also your time. Would you rather spend ten hours mining out a quarry to retrieve your last set of materials or is it more time effective to visit the Auction House?

This skill of organisation can then be transferred into the 'real world' in terms of general tidiness, folder structures, note taking and time management. Are you about to set out on completing an entire report from scratch that will take you three weeks? Is there already a report similar to it in existence?

Not only this but games such as Tetris and Bejeweled have taught us how to be neat and tidy, and that when you're both neat and tidy, you are rewarded.

Number 5 - Timing

If you go too fast through this level, you will run into that goomba. You went too fast and ran into the goomba.

A goomba.... according to 1993

Games like Sonic, Mario or Payday have all taught us the value of good timing. You either have to pace yourself or time it very carefully otherwise you're gonna have a bad time. Whether you like it or not, this mindset would have seeped its way into your everyday life.

When you go shopping, do you go at 5PM, just as everybody is leaving work? No, you go either earlier in the day or later at night because then you don't get stuck in traffic and the cashiers are less busy. Ever left for work to get in at 9AM, only to realise you've hit the busiest time known to man? You adjust and learn different routes and that, ladies and gentlemen, is timing.

Number 6 - Reaction Time

If you've ever watched eSports, you'll know the extent to which your reactions increase whilst playing games. It's become a common trait among StarCraft II players to include "clicks per minute" into their online profiles, always trying to get more and more amount of actions into their games. Along with this, players of Counter-Strike or Call of Duty have incredibly fast reactions to ever-changing events and have to be able to react in a split second.

This can only end well

Although this is the extreme, gamers who have played FPS', RTS', racing titles or really any other competitive game will have increased their reaction time in real life. They become more aware of their surroundings, more in tune with what's going on and are able to react to something much quicker than a non-gamer (usually, anyway).

Kaostic | 13th August, 2013
Platinum's picture
One skill learned from Lanning, CTRL + L.
Kaostic's picture
Originally Posted by Platinum View Post
One skill learned from Lanning, CTRL + L.
Too true.

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