Here’s How Playing Video Games Gave Me a MASSIVE Edge in Life
Like most guys and gals out there, I grew up playing video games. To the point I used to dream about becoming a pro-gamer and making millions like Faker senpai, doing what I enjoy.
Although back then it was Starcraft, Counterstrike, and Warcraft III. So I was emulating players like BoxeR and Grubby.
I’m going to lay out a case on why I am absolutely convinced that playing video games gave me a massive edge in life. And on a side note – I’m going to prioritize video games, over grades, with my children (my wife will disagree with this).
Not Everyone Wins
I want to start with this. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that this isn’t exclusive to gaming.
You can experience the same type of experience in sports, or any other competitive event. The fact of life is that once you become an adult, you no longer receive a sticker just for participating. You either win, or you lose. There’s no gray area.
You either get a bonus or you don’t. You either get a pay raise or you don’t. You either land that sale, or you don’t.
That’s why whether it’s with video games or sports, there’s a winning team/individual and a losing team/individual. Participating in these kinds of activities breeds healthy competition and helps develop a certain level of tenacity and discipline necessary to attain the ultimate prize.
Mental Stimulation & Multi-Tasking
This one’s big. And it’s not something you can get from sports, sorry. There are a lot of genres within Gaming. RTS (Real Time Strategy) and RPG (Role Playing Game) and FPS (First Person Shooter), MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) to name a few. Each one of these genres has a vast “library” of games one can experience.
Similar to different academic subjects or sports, every game has its’ own rules and complexities that one needs to learn, practice, and master to get to an adept level.
But unlike sports, where it’s mostly a physical endeavor (I can concede that there’s a certain mental component, depending on the sport – but all sports are inherently more physical than mental); whereas playing video games is mostly a mental exercise and requires very little to no physical prowess, agility, or dexterity. It’s all psychological and mental.
And when it comes to multi-tasking, nothing else in life compared to the level of multi-tasking one has to do in a lot of the video games that are out there. Multi-tasking at work is a joke if you know how to manage diplomacies, battle tactics, cities, resources, inventory, psychological warfare, planning and executing, pivoting, and with multiple leads and vast armies all at one time.
No matter what game you’re playing, almost all of them have some sort of resource management component.
And all games have different levels of complexity starting with something as basic as a “time management” component, to a complex mix of resource components such as: economy, commerce/trade, architecture, army formation and utilization, , geography, law, history, math, sociology, and countless other macro and micro level strategies.
Life is about managing your resources. Whether it’s money, time, physical, or emotional energy. These are all resources. And the better you can play both the “macro” and “micro” of life, the better off you’ll be.
This one sounds like a paradox, but I’ll make a case why video gaming allows for an increase in social interaction, and not isolation.
Growing up, I was an avid reader. I was never really into sports. But reading, albeit being very important, is an individual endeavor. You’re typically not reading within a social group setting, or within a team. And especially when it comes to guys, bonding happens strictly around activities. Not talking, not gossiping or chatting, or telling secrets. It’s just how guys are set up.
Even as adults, rarely do you find two friends that are guys going into deep intimate discussions about their private lives and how they’re feeling. Again, it usually revolves around some type of shared activity. Gaming provides this. And some of my best memories come from middle school, highschool (high-school lock-ins playing video games), and in college (lan parties and playing games with the guys in dorms).
In business, you need to know where you’re going. And you need to have razor-focused goals and a plan of action to reach these goals. This is strategy.
If all you’re doing is spending time trying to get good grades, all you will be is just a good worker drone in this game of life. Sorry to say it, but it’s true. You’ll just be very adept and following instructions and memorizing useless factoids that you might as well just google.
If you’ve every played a MOBA (like Dota, LoL, Heroes of the Storm) or especially RTS games (like Starcraft, Red Alert, Ages of Empires, Total War, Warcraft III), you know how much strategy is involved. All throughout the game, you’re thinking strategy, and executing on your plan. And revising/pivoting your strategy as your opponent constantly tweaks theirs.
If you haven’t seen a Starcraft player make 500 – 600 actions per minute with his keyboard and mouse, you haven’t seen anything. In video games, perfecting the technicals and finessing the fundamentals are what separates the newbs from the pros. It takes hundreds of hours, if not thousands to perfect.
If you don’t think having the ability to make 600 actions per minute has any spill-over affect into lightning-fast decision making and technical aptitude in real life, you are delusional. Life is just a different, more complex, game. It’s nothing different.
I learned business and resourcefulness from gaming. In what classes do you learn how to manage economies, lay out blueprints of cities and fortresses, direct armies, and harvest resources? Seriously? There are absolutely zero hands-on experience you can get on all of these areas, outside of video games.
Psychology and mental games? Leveraging your strengths and covering weak points? Learned all of that in gaming too.
Where do they teach you these things in school? Hypotheticals and theories? Sorry, that’s not how I learn.
History and Geography
Have you ever played Sid Meiers games like Civilizations?
I learned more about history and geography playing these games than what I learned from school from 1st grade all the way through college. You learn about historic world leaders, different cultures, monuments, religions, previous eras and epochs, timelines on significant technological breakthroughs like the printing press or the advent of electricity.
List of Games I’ve Played and What I’ve Learned from Them
I. RTS Games: Starcraft I/II, Red Alert, Age of Empires, Warcraft I/II/III, Civilization, Heroes of Might and Magic, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale
- how to manage my time (i.e. build orders for buildings and units, when to attack a rival’s base, how and when to execute tasks)
- how to manage an economy from scratch (i.e. mining valuable minerals, ores, and other resources to fund an army and or one’s base/city)
- teamwork (working with allies in defeating common adversaries)
- real-time decision-making (i.e. flanking, skirmish, defending, etc)
- history and geography (this was big in civilizations, where you can learn medieval/renaissance/etc history within a fun setting)
II. FPS Games: Counter Strike, Half Life, Doom, Call of Duty, Halo, Wolfenstein, Quake, Call of Duty
- how to manage my time and resources (i.e. health/energy/stamina bar, ammunition, etc)
- teamwork (working with allies in defeating the opposing team, delegating tasks and roles)
III. RPG/MMORPG Games: Diablo I/II/III, World of Warcraft, Sims, FF7, Elder Scrolls
- how to manage my time and resources (i.e. health/energy/stamina bar, skills/abilities, etc)
- teamwork (working with allies in defeating the opposing team/faction)
- developing one’s skills and/or profession
- organization (i.e. raiding, guilds/clans, etc)
IV. Action/Multi-Genre Games: GTA III/IV/V, Fallout, Resident Evil
V. Console/Hand-Held/Arcade/Other: Super Mario Kart, Sonic, Tetris, Pokemon, Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Zelda, Pacman, Castlevania, Mortal Kombat
VI. MOBA: Dota, League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, Heroes of the Storm
- delegating tasks and roles
- positioning and situational awareness, map awareness
- resource management
- quick decision making on objectives
- reflexes and micro-management
- psychological warfare and mental games
Science Alert – 6 Scientific Benefits of Playing Video Games
Washington Post – Playing Video Games is Good For Your Brain
Huffington Post – 9 Ways Video Games Can Actually Be Good for You
Are you surprised I wrote about this topic? What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree or disagree? Why do you think so many people are clueless about the research-proven benefits of video games and why it’s such a social stigma?