Learning in games

What have I learned from games? It’s an interesting question. My first thought is, nothing at all! In fact, I shudder to think how often games have distracted me from homework, school, and yes even college 😀

But once I actually started thinking about it, I have learned a huge amount of stuff from games. Some interesting, some useful, a lot random, and a lot more useless…

For a start, I don’t think I’d be able to rattle off Charlton Athletic’s 2005 team line up, had I not played as them in Pro Evolution Soccer 5 for a whole year! Along with many other players and teams.

Dennis Rommedahl, hat trick hero of my FA Cup 2005!

I’ve learned about different types of car from racing games like Gran Turismo, wrestlers, boxers and UFC fighters from fighting games, and of course types of gun from the many shooters out there.

Epic strategy games have also taught me lots. The Civilization series on PC in particular has a “Civilopedia” included that gives the actual, real life history of pretty much everything in the game: the different Civs, their leaders, military units, buildings, governments, religions, terrain types, and so on. If you ever wanted to know that Bismark presided over the unification of Germany, that Babylon was a city-state in ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq), or that a howitzer combines the attributes of a mortar and field gun, well, Civ can help. Even the gameplay can teach a lot, you learn pretty quickly that attacking pikemen with horses is a bad idea! Games such as Pharaoh, Age Of Empires, and Rome: Total War have similar information.

Clearly this is Seth, God of the desert, war and evil…

Aside from just plain facts, I have also learned ways of thinking. Strategy games require a lot of thought, planning, and multitasking to do well in, and over the years I have definitely gotten better at this. Clear, logical thinking is a skill that can definitely be applied in the real world.

Clearly there is plenty to be learned from gaming. But I must mention it is FAR outweighed by vast amounts of worthless insanity. For every useful bit of info I know from games, there’s about a hundred other worthless (outside of games) ones: like getting Yoshi to eat a blue shell in Mario World will give him wings, the Konami Code is up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, or hitting a chicken too many times in Zelda will cause it to freak out and murder you with it’s chicken friends 😮

Don’t do it, Link!!!

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