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Video Games as the Teacher of Life
Are video games bad for you or not?
Well to determine the right answer whether video games are beneficial or bad for you, first, we must look in to different perspective.
First, let me share my perspective based on my personal experience and observation. During the prime of the PlayStation One, where internet is not that yet fully utilized in comparison today, you have to be focus on dialogues in-game to understand the story and to know how to progress in the game. Today, game guides are scattered all over the internet and you can just google it if you are lost or having trouble in-game.
But back in those days, whether your native language is English or not, you must have a basic comprehensive skills. For example, my very first RPG I played was Final Fantasy VII. I was reading mostly of the in-game dialogues and as a young boy, I encounter words that I can't understand yet. What I did was, I brought a dictionary beside me and continued to progress along the stories while talking to bunch of NPC. You see, in doing so, I enjoyed playing the game and at the same time, I learned lots of new vocabulary. If you immerse yourself with in-game characters and their stories, it can be a great foundation to develop yourself and enhance your creative mind. Final Fantasy games in general also developed my critical thinking by solving in-game puzzles, mini games and strategies via equipment customization and battle plans.
Another example, when I played Harvest Moon, even though it is only a game but it lets you experience how is life in a farm. It was one of the unique games that I ever played that is enjoyable but a great learning experience.
The cooking feature in that game was so immense that I almost experimented everything that I found or harvested to make new recipes. You can also explore the mountains or go to the village to socialize in which one of the key features was serenading an in-game NPC to be your bride. You will experience to grow your own crops, harvesting them when they are ready, and taking care of barn animals. In which I thought was a great mechanics that teaches us to be diligent and gave me the sense of being awarded for my hard work by gaining in-game rewards. A game that literally teaches us life and work in a very fun way.
How about First Person Shooters, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games and MMORPG?
Well so far I have only tackled positive things about my gaming experience and its positive influence in my life. Now, lets head to games that make you play with other people which have mixed results that may depend on your own up-bringing.
The first Multi-player games that I have played are Counter Strike and DOTA. First of all, these games are mostly referenced by people as negative due to its relation in video game addiction. When I was in high school, I burned lots of my time and resources to play these games with my friends. I was even going home late just to play in a computer shop since most of these games are LAN and there was no stable online connection yet in those times. In certain degree, toxicity can be adapted from these environment such as bragging to other shop mates, trash talking other players and even to the point of gambling. Since these are games that only focus on battling other players, even though there are lores and background stories, there were no learning from it in most aspects of life. The only learning curve that focus on such games are - how to improve your accuracy in shooting games; and improving your creep shots including skill usage in MOBA games. But it has no impact in real life, you do not gain anything by improving your hand to eye reflexes via computers game, it may sound great but its not applicable to all people.
As you can see it was all fun but very unhealthy especially if not handled in moderation. You are sacrificing time to enjoy and improve in such games instead of utilizing that to gain knowledge by studying or obtain actual skills such as practicing to play a guitar. I was that kind of guy, I can't play any musical instrument or extensive knowledge of other subject matters like programming or even another language. Wasted lots of time and resources to enjoy playing computer games with friends. That's all there was to it, fun.
Personally, the only thing I can think of a positive outcome was that I was developing my social skills. I meet new variety of people and became aware of diversity. As of now, I can compare it as the same environment in most of offices in the working industry. You give yourself an objective to accomplish and you do everything you can to achieve it either by yourself or with a team. You meet people with different attitude varying from repulsive ones, bossy, boastful people, annoying, pleasing, helpful, friendly, greedy, great leaders and many more.
If we compare that environment with a office, we can still salvage some of those times wasted as a training ground for our social and personality growth. I learned to handle diversified group of people. I learned to handle stress. I developed my social skills. I learned to be critical of other people and sensitive in regards to our differences. Well, that is in my case, it may still vary on how other people see it.
MMORPG are very vast in terms of experience. You can enjoy playing with your friends or you can befriend other online players. It is the most popular gaming genre currently played with massive population where you can interact with other people in a place called "servers".
It is fun but at the same time quite a great medium of learning new things. You see MMORPG are basically like common RPGs but only populated with other people via server. It has a great content in terms of story, game play and socialization.
But how come you say? If you look into it, every MMORPG have their own story or settings to be precise. There are unique backgrounds and well put that it is very tantalizing that you want to know more about the setting as you progress. Hence, it is like reading a book that train your line of thoughts and comprehension skills. There also unique features that akin to most of MMORPG , such as quest system where you must comprehend the objective of certain request from in-game characters in order to progress and dungeons with puzzle solving that challenges your critical thinking.
In socialization, of course, you are guarantee to interact with other people like group raids, boss hunts,trading or just helping each other in certain quests. Regardless of your play style, either you play solo or with friends, you are still obliged to interact with other players like in trading, while exploring or even encountered player vs player. Still the major component of MMORPG is team building and learning the essence team work. Building social bonds based from respect and friendship. It is like in real life, you learn the process to gain someone trust and the express yourself propery in a group.
But there is a dark side in MMORPG. There are lots of trolls who love to mess with other player's feelings which can have negative impact or even influence on how you act online. You will learn to be aware of scammers, since lots of people would love to gain rewards without effort and would grab any opportunity to take something they want from other players. You will encounter racism and you will be aware of diversity. You'll be hearing or chatting with people with colorful and hateful languages. Awareness is a key essential in real life, by knowing that there are people like those exist, it can help you handle them in real life and take proper action against them or in order to protect yourself.
You see, it is a virtual replica of our world that reflects in a small scale. There is a community, economy and even politics in some games which you can even compare as simulation of the real world. You learn to adapt in different types of community. You became financial literate by determining the value of items during trading or finding opportunities in the economy like demand and supply. You learn to build up groups with hierarchy, management, and determining common goals.
Well, I hope you enjoy reading my perspective in video games and how they can teach us in a helpful way in real life. We can have fun but at the same time find something that beneficial out of it.
The most essential things I want my reader to learn regarding this subject matter are "awareness" and "moderation". Everything we do in life have a reason, we only need to identify its true purpose and learn how important moderation is because having too much is nothing more but being excessive.