What Video Games Teach That School Does Not
Mashing buttons and scoring points isn’t the only thing you do in video games…
1. Video Games Teach You to Love Communities
The Holidays are NOT my favorite time of the year. They never have and never will be. Why?
I like discipline and structure, both of which are fairly absent on holiday breaks. Sure, getting presents is cool and there’s always an excuse for hot cocoa, but most holidays I end up playing the video games I haven’t had time to. This has been my tradition for years- through high school, through college- sitting alone in my room with a monitor blasting light in my face and a heavy headset giving me a headache. Sounds horrid, but it’s my paradise. Now that full-time work is around the corner, I thought this holiday break would be one last hurrah!
It wasn’t. Except it was… in a different way.
While work never seemed to let out for me, I still snuck time to play video games. The problem was, I wasn’t alone. I yearned to play with friends and family. How could this be? Why was I feeling warmth in my heart? Ew, gross! Is this love?
Turns out, video games have this strange way of making you want to play with other people. Even when I played Spider-Man on my PS5, I asked my little brother to hang beside me and trade controllers now and then. It was better with family! Whether it was a solo adventure swinging from webs in New York or competing head-to-head in wacky mini games. Video Games are simply better with others, and they teach you the value of building a community.
2. Life is About Completing Missions/ But the Fun Stuff is the Other Bits
Without spoilers, the new Spider-Man Miles Morales game is absolutely incredible! There is nothing better than punching a bad-guy twenty feet in the air and then spin-kicking them off a bridge. You think of something better!… I’m waiting.
The game has action galore and makes you swing from building-to-building in search of the next crime to stop or story mission to complete. That’s pretty much life.
You wake up every day, completing tasks for your boss until you get promoted. Then you do harder tasks for slightly higher rewards. It’s literally every video game there has ever been. It’s real life with a cooler coat of paint. In Spider-Man: Miles Morales, that paint is comic-book super-heroism.
What ends up being the best part of the game is not completing missions and earning your rewards, it’s swinging from the tallest buildings and using your acrobatics to perform amazing stunts. There’s no quest here or reward. That doesn’t stop me from wasting hours alongside my brother trying to do the coolest trick.
It’s the same with life. Having a job and making money is definitely important. It’s just not the really good bits of life, and that’s okay. We’ll still complete the tasks set out for us, just like in video games. BUT… that doesn’t mean we can’t take a while and enjoy the little things.
3. Practice Makes Perfect… but There’s Always Someone Better
If you’ve ever tried your hand at competitive gaming, you know that there are some freaks of nature out there who dominate. “They must be hacking!” is usually my key phrase in coping with my eminent defeats, but it always gives me perspective. I’m not the best… yet.
With practice, you press buttons faster, act smarter, and shooting becomes second nature. Hours and hours of game time create muscle-memory and an increased capacity for victory. Any game you play, it’s just a matter of time before you “git good”.
Here’s the thing: you’ll NEVER be the best. There will always be someone with more time, more experience, or more raw talent. Sure, you can say that it means they have “no life”, but you and I both know that being able to go pro in a video game is a dream come true. So, don’t go knocking the play who’s kicking your butt. Beat them!
In life, there will always be someone with more points than you. Those points take the form of money, time, experience, talent- they get the job, they win the promotion; they make it big-time. Just like video games, though, there is a way to win. There is always a step-up, a next level. Keep practicing and you will get there. It’s just science… I think.
When you work towards your goals, you reach them. It may take you try-after-try, and you ask your older sibling to help you, but eventually you finish the game or beat the enemy team. Then, once you do, someone better comes into view and you know your game isn’t over yet. That doesn’t mean quit. It means PRACTICE!