Hey, you. You’re finally awake
If you’re anything like me, you’ve played a lot of games over the years, like, a lot. Don’t worry, Traveller, this isn’t a place of judgement. Gaming is many of our favourite ways to unwind and to explore worlds that we can’t in day to day life. But as time goes on, and life relentlessly launches its responsibilities at us at break-neck speeds, some of us might have realised that we don’t have the time to slay as many dragons, brew as many potions or build as many towns as we might like.
In this short blog, I’m going to give you some examples of how you can use the skills you’ve subliminally acquired whilst you thought you were just mindlessly completing quests, discovering locations, and finding loot, to actually enhance your work-life, and improve your mental well-being as well. This concept is translatable to many things if done correctly. I’ll also be linking to some brilliant resources for you to use to aid you on your journey.
It’s Dangerous to go alone! Take this.
Now obviously, there are a great number of games, and by virtue, a myriad of gamers, and depending on which universe that you’ve decided to put the most time into, you will likely have a better or worse sub-set of skills than the next. Personally, for example, I have played more MMORPG’s and JRPG’s than other genres, meaning I have a painfully good understanding of the concept of ‘Grinding’: The act of repeating the same task, over and over again, to reach a desired goal or outcome. More on that in a little while, but the point is if you have a Max Cape, or an HHA S ranking, if you’ve slain the Lord of Cinder or taken Coventry to the top of the Premier League, then you’ll have some of these translatable skills to take into the real world with you, whether in your marketing career or in general, and you should harness them.
92 is half of 99.
Firstly, let’s look at Grinding as a concept, since I’ve already mentioned it. Grinding is not exclusive to MMORPG’s by any stretch, but that is where the concept feels most at home, for me at least. If you can teach yourself to apply the same concept, and translate it across to other sectors of your life, you can turn taxing and laborious tasks into ‘experience farms’ in the most literal sense. Life experience is the same as EXP you earn in games, you’re just playing with all of your stats hidden.
Let’s say for instance, that you’ve been assigned a task at work. It might not be a particularly difficult task, and especially not an exciting one. These are often the most necessary. A lot of people find it difficult to commit their focus to these tasks, they may find them arduous or boring, but those of us that have spent our time grinding levels, medals or EVs into the small hours of the morning might already know how to tackle these tasks without knowing it.
By applying the same logic to these ‘arduous tasks’, it becomes much easier to visualise the benefits. Consistently completing these duties, the necessary but annoying ones, will not only build on your foundations of knowledge but also relieve the stress from your team and yourself. These benefits compound over time and the result is you becoming a reliable colleague, with a fairly unrivalled and authoritative comprehension of your role and of how the cogs turn in the machine.
This concept is very easily applied to SEO Strategies across the board, small incremental changes that compound over time, resulting in huge successes over a maturation period. SEO is largely optimising the small ‘moving parts’ of a site aligning with Google’s best practices, requiring you to maintain a strong understanding of what those practices are. This may involve link building, strategising, optimisations and many more. Having the strongest understanding, and the most diligent approach by applying the aforementioned concepts will almost always result in a beneficial outcome.
Kyle : “Dude! Boars are only worth two experience points apiece. Do you know how many we would have to kill to get up 30 levels?”
Eric Cartman: “Yes. 65,340,285. which should take us 7 weeks, 5 days, 13 hours and 20 minutes, giving ourselves 3 hours a night to sleep. What do you say, guys?”
Another one of the more obvious benefits that we may take away from the games that we play, and apply to life in general, would be the ability to problem solve, and to eliminate the fear of failure. These are more important than we might think, and certainly don’t easily translate, so it takes a little work to programme the same ethos and cognition that we might take into our fantasy worlds, to writing the best possible content or developing the most useful and sleek product for work.
Remember that feeling when you finally won by Diplomatic Victory in Civ 5 after failing 13 campaigns before that? Or maybe when finally defeating the Nameless King, after learning all of his attack patterns and countless deaths? (I died an incredible amount of times too, it’s okay.) These experiences teach us that learning from our mistakes is okay, and whilst failure might not be a success, it is definitely not wasted time either, a valuable lesson, best learned early.
Problem-solving methods in games can vary greatly but are very apparent in almost all games in one form or another. What isn’t as apparent, is how these skills translate and apply to your day to day life. It’s not always obvious how or why finding 4 hidden keys in sequence to unlock a fictional door will help you complete tasks in reality.
However, I challenge you to apply the same logic to problems that you encounter on a day to day basis, it will very quickly become evident that you know more than you think; You already know to look in the least obvious places to eliminate those first, and then to work backwards to the most glaring or apparent locations. You already know that even though you have all of the necessary components, they may not be in the correct sequence. You also might realise that the problem can be avoided entirely if the correct procedure was followed.
Having this subliminal grasp of the above is a massive step in the right direction, and once you have started to actively translate these concepts, the potential is limitless.
For some more concrete guidance, I would suggest this reading list.
More abstract competencies that are derived from gaming may include:
- Orienteering skills – gained from reading maps, scoping out dungeons, exploring open worlds and carving a path through treacherous domains.
- Storytelling ability and vocabulary inflation – A hugely underestimated, yet massively valuable takeaway from gaming. In your native tongue, reading and listening to more complex stories and fables will subliminally drive an understanding of the language to levels above what it may have been if you spent the same time watching mindless TV. Gaming can also be a phenomenal resource for learning a new language.
- Reflex speed and hand-eye coordination – This has been well enough documented by many blogs and studies over the years, so I have decided not to focus on this too much. It is, however, worth mentioning.
Time is money, friend!
It should be mentioned that there are drawbacks, and it is very easy to fall into unhealthy habits with games, and to neglect other responsibilities. We probably know that better than most. This blog was written to try and put a positive spin on all of the time that we spend in our escapism. Applying the expertise gained whilst playing 1000’s hours of games can actually be very productive if done correctly.
Go forth, traveller, safe in the knowledge that you are better equipped than first thought.