Five Real-Life Lessons I Learned From Childhood Video Games

1.) Resource Allocation

Video game example: Resident Evil

Resident Evil, especially the first three in the series, taught me that sometimes it’s best to avoid a situation where it could cost you everything to save what little ammo you have. I remember near the end of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis with absolutely zero ammo and already wounded. As soon as he tried to escape, he would die. Being the derpy 12 year old that I was, of course I didn’t have multiple save points, so I had to restart… the entire game. I quickly learned to use only what I desperately needed and to save the rest.

Being a college student, ahem, with financial problems, I use this same principle when it comes to money. If I only have limited cash flow, I know that I should only use that money in times of urgent need and in order of importance. Priority, especially as a senior, was something like: beer, coffee, bills, school-related purchases, and lastly, food.

Well, maybe that lesson wasn’t so well learned.

2.) Troubleshooting

Video game example: Lemmings

I vividly remember playing this game on my Sega Genesis and when those green-haired little guys started falling into the pits, I’d yell at my TV screen. “I put a bridge there! What’s going on! Oh, it’s not far enough.” I quickly learned to notice problem areas and, using the raw resources given to me, raced to formulate a strategy. Fall too far? Give them an umbrella! Can’t you dig? Make one of the lemmings fly!

Today I don’t have to worry about falling into a hole or getting stuck in a piece of dirt, but I do have the ability to notice problems and, using what I have available, find a solution. If I only have ten minutes to get to class, but the building is on the opposite side of campus, what should I do? The answer, folks, is RUN.

3.) Persistence

Video game example: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Now, this may have been the first video game I played on the computer that wasn’t in a two-dimensional world, so it may have been my fault that the controls were absolutely atrocious for the beginning player. Anyway, that stupid obstacle course on Lara’s grounds kept me angry and bitter for a long time before I was able to complete it flawlessly. You would have to stand on the last pixelated edge of a pillar to jump down and dive and hopefully catch the edge of the next pillar.

Persistence is the key to learning any new skill. If I hadn’t learned this, I wouldn’t be writing this article. I probably would have given up after my first horrible attempt at writing. I would not dare to continue and work to improve my understanding of the English language if I did not learn that persistence is the key to improvement.

4.) Responsibility

Video game example: The Sims

If I remember correctly, The Sims came out around the same time Tomagotchi and Neopets became fads. Those three things were what I like to think of as Step 1 to Responsibility. Sure, there were no real effects to being a mediocre supervisor, but for this 12-year-old, the thought of seeing one of my virtual pets die (and yes, I’m calling my Sims my pets) was horrible. If I forgot to feed them, they died. If I forgot to clean up after them, they smelled. Maybe it was all just one big social experiment to teach my generation that we were all lacking in the hygiene skills department? We are, after all, the last generation to play on clay after the age of five.

If The Sims taught me anything, it’s that I’m not responsible enough for a real living object to depend on me. I killed so many of my Sims through negligence that I’m sure I’m on a most wanted poster in the SimCity Police Department.

5.) The importance of thinking outside the box and 5a.) The importance of typing quickly

Video game example: King’s Quest

Oh, the quest for the king. In my opinion, it’s probably the most random mix of folklore, pop culture, and random puzzles to ever appear in the world of PC gaming. Where else could you be on a screen with a gingerbread house and a witch, and suddenly get mowed down by a giant condor? There’s nothing better than spending a lot of time on screens “LOOKING” at something in the hope that it will come in handy later. You needed a pretty good imagination to even think about climbing that giant oak tree or going down the shaft in the bucket.

As for typing fast, let’s get back to that condor. You had to type the word “JUMP” for Sir Graham to jump on the heels of the condor. It must be perfectly timed. If it fails, you should expect it to appear on another screen soon. After fifty tries, you find that you have to type “JUMP” and hit enter (Two steps!) in such a short amount of time that the letters on the keyboard have probably been erased.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *