Check out the staff’s opinions on different art styles in gaming!
As positive news about gaming becomes more common, we at Top Shelf Gaming also want to share our own stories about how video games have helped us. There are many situations in both the story of a video game and the act of the playing them that create skills and perspectives that can be applied to real life issues. This week we are discussing what those skills and situations are.
The question we asked this week is:
"How has playing video games impacted the way you view certain situations in life?"
Share your own stories in the comments below!
Gaming has taught me that imagination can go a long way and if you can think it, you can create it. While brainstorming, I usually think of a variety of ideas, but almost never choose the first few that come to mind. To me those first few are too obvious and in my gut I know I can push it further. I’m known by former bosses and co-workers for the unique ideas I present for events and advertising during meetings and I owe that to my time spent playing.
When I was
younger in high school I dedicated a lot of time to “create-a…” modes in various games (shoutout to Tony Hawk and WWE). I also enjoyed roaming the worlds in the games I played. Spyro has been one of my favorite series for a long time. I don’t even remember beating it, but I love it because there was so much to explore and I love that because all of the space I spent inspecting for days was made by someone else’s imagination and that thought for any kid is inspiring.
One of the biggest takeaways I’ve gotten from gaming has been a change in my perspective. I’ve learned that when obstacles come up, it’s a good thing. Why? Because it means I’m heading in the right direction and working towards my goal. Even more, it means I’m becoming stronger and more equipped to handle situations as they come up.
Through gaming, I’ve also been able to extrapolate a sense of personal agency (I am in charge of my fate and my actions), but also a broader social awareness (my actions have consequences and this “quest” is more than just about me). But what I have internalized the most -and I truly hope that others do too -is the idea that I am important to the story and to the people around me. For whatever reason, I am the only one who can solve the particular problem or bring about a certain result. The way to achieve this isn’t going to be easy, but as gaming teaches us: it’s the journey, not the destination, right?
As evidenced by my most recent article, I’ve been on a bit of a postmodern-gaming grind for a while now. It all started when I played Metal Gear Solid 2 again this summer and really appreciated it’s themes on games and gamers. The message got me thinking critically about the meanings in games, and I began to notice things I hadn’t before. Spec Ops: The Line’s story wasn’t great because it’s dark, dramatic tone and oppressive atmosphere, as reviewers would lead you to believe. Instead, it was it’s message on violence in media, and how we as consumers perpetuate its glorification, that really struck a chord with me.
I had long written off Bioshock Infinite as a shell of the original in terms of both gameplay and story. I still think it plays like garbage, but its narrative, which I had only thought was convoluted for the sake of it, actually has some striking things to say about the illusion of player freedom in gaming. What MGS2 taught me is that it’s always worth viewing things with different lenses, especially if you don’t already appreciate it. You just might like what you find.
So many different games have genuinely helped me out in real life, so it’s kinda tough to say anything overarching that applies to all of them. But I will say that strategy games in particular (e.g, RTS games like Command & Conquer and Age of Empires, and turn-based games like Advanced Wars and Civilization) have really challenged me when it comes to decision making. These games in particular make me think critically and logically about the foreseeable consequences of my actions.
Additionally, I’ve learned how to better read other people in competitive situations (player-vs-player rounds of Advanced Wars gets pretty intense). These skills have helped me make more pragmatic effective, decisions when problems of prioritization, planning, and compromise arise.
Oddly enough, being ‘antisocial’ by playing video games has taught me to be a more social, patient person in real life. The games I love to play usually require teamwork, cooperation, and coordination with other players. Because I have put so many hours into games like this, I have learned how to work in a group in my academic and personal life.
In team-based games, each person on the team is usually designated a particular role they are supposed to play, which is a tactic that fits my personality. This translates into real life when I’m in situations requiring group work because I like to designate certain ‘roles’ for everyone in the group. This creates a successful group project experience and forces everyone to cooperate, making sure that not one person is left to do all the work. Video games, in effect, have taught me leadership and specific social skills I wouldn’t have learned otherwise, which I think is really awesome.
As I started moving into high school, my school work and responsibilities became a lot more demanding and I remember starting to get overwhelmed. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was taking the world by storm around that time, and the best way I found to manage my time and priorities was look at my life like an RPG.
I would look at all the things I had to do, and categorize them into Main Quests or Side Quests, and then break each of those up into more manageable objectives or checkpoints. When I’d run into things I really didn’t want to do, I’d look at it in terms of how my personal stats would increase by doing it. It was pretty silly stuff, but it really helped me learn to manage my time and energy more productively, and to this day I’ll still find myself sorting through my “daily quests.”
The Persona series (and most RPGs for that matter) have made me treat conversation exactly like it is in the game – listening carefully to what the person is saying and then taking some time to figure out the right response. Of course, the fact that it’s “socially unacceptable” to just stare at someone for 30 seconds while you process what they’ve said complicates matters!
Gaming has taught me more things than what i could put on a single page. Hence the following mess which will probably make no sense…
TL;DR: Emotional connection and how it shapes us as people
I think the biggest thing its taught me is how much of an emotional connection humans can make with a fictional charecters, and what we can learn from that emotion.. I played the first god of war and Prince of Persia on PS2 when i was around 13. Both of them made me cry. The emotional connection i was able to make through-out the game, grinding away at the challenges and horror, my characters objective slowly becoming mine at heart. When Kratos finally found pandoras box (after 3 days of gameplay) only to be speared to a wall, forced to watch his only chance for redemption and the resurrection of his family, slip away as he died, really hit me in the feels.
Same with Prince of Persia. The game started with a male and female who were enemies, who begrudgingly team up for a common purpose. As the game went on, the two fell in love (and i fell in love with the characters) as they fought hard for each other to live. eventually the female finds herself dangling over a pit after a lengthy fight. Only thing stopping her demise was the prince clutching the blade of the magic dagger (it can turn back time using a resource). She lets go of the dagger, falling out of sight into the endless pit, not a single scream, nor a face of terror. The prince tries to rewind time to try save her (using the dagger he now holds), only to realize she had already used up all the resource whilst she was over the pit (they were starring into each others eyes, mushy mushy emotional stuff).. This emotional horror hit home, and has defined me as a person. I don’t have many friends, I’m rather a lone wolf (like these typical characters). Although, i also hold my few friends dearly and would take a bullet for any of them. And i think that’s due to what I’ve been taught to appreciate through games.
That was information overload ahaha, and only using two childhood games on a single aspect. I’m very passionate about this topic and have actually thought about it a lot, I aspire to create games that shape who people become after i finish Uni studies, if you want to ask me more on the topic just PM me 🙂
I have absolutely no problem with failure. In fact I welcome it. I will happily fail at a task repeatedly, tweaking one small factor each time until I get it right. I owe that to the ridiculously difficult games I played growing up, like Battletoads, Super Monkey Ball (master mode!), and Ikaruga.
I am also seen as a computer/tech guru in my (non-technical) field, which I owe almost entirely to my extensive time spent gaming, and modding the PS1/Dreamcast/Xbox. Truly I have learned a lot from games and owe at least some part of my success to them.