Posts Tagged ‘video games’

This blog, much like video games, is a shameless cash in on a successful predecessor of the same name and also because there are several other things that video games have taught me which I couldn’t fit into the first article (link) partly because I couldn’t remember them and because I know the attention span of most blog readers can be summed up as “one page or get effed”. So without any further waste of time, I present to you a few more valuable life lessons bestowed on me by the non-traditional educational source of video games.

Recently, I’ve been playing many RPG or “questy” type games which are, except for perhaps their penchant towards magic, sorcery and mythical beasties regarded as being fairly “true to life” and immersive. Much like in life you avoid doing things that would cause your character to die and he/she/it will avoid death, but jumping off cliffs, eating poison or getting engulfed in dragon flame much like in real life will cause death (pretty realistic if you ask me).

These games are often “sandbox” which means that you have “an entirely open world” to explore to your heart’s content. Well what they mean is you have a “seemingly” endless world except for when you realise that there are certain insurmountable objects. To be fair this does happen in our “seemingly” endless real world, like when you get to a sheer cliff face or have to cross a raging river without a bridge, the problem is that in some games these “insurmountable” and “unscalable” objects often include 4 ft fences and hay bales. I might be bragging here, but I am yet to find a hay bale I couldn’t get passed or at the very least move, trip over or if all else fails BURN TO ASHES!

These games do afford us educational situations that we might never come across in our mundane lives. For example I may never get to infiltrate a medieval castle guarded by wizards, creatures and well guards, using only my stealth and cunning. However, if the opportunity was ever given to me by means of some weird time travel scenario or a really intense medieval fair, I would have all the necessary training already behind me thanks to video games.

For example I would already know that I could stand a mere 2 metres in front of a guard and he would not see me as long as I was in a shadowy area and if I was too close I would know because he would alert me with rhetorical questions such as “Who’s there?”, “What was that? Or “Did I hear something?”
Furthermore, I would already know that I could kill one of the guards a few metres away from another guard and the remaining guard would not panic or even be alerted to my presence as long as he doesn’t see me or the body of his co-worker even if I kill the guard in mid conversation.

If the unfortunate situation arises that I am seen, heard or one of my victims’ bodies is found and the entire castle is alerted to my presence; several more guards appear; alert and watchful; I know that if I just wait long enough they will simply call off the search and resume their routine giving no concern to the fact that an assassin is still at large since their dead co-worker must have died of natural causes – such are the risks of being an evil guard.

As I approach my goal (not the assassin bit – the “ramble on for 500 words bit”) I realise that once again the educational value of video games is not limited by the games themselves, but by how much I can share within the confines of a single page. So on that note, I bid thee farewell noble reader, we shall continue this quest for the bounty of knowledge in the future…

There are a lot of people (read “ignorant technophobes”) who don’t believe that video games have any educational purpose and serve as nothing but tools of the devil meant to distract us from our lives and corrupt our children. But video games are so much more than just about distraction and corruption, they also educate us about how to overcome everyday obstacles like alien invasions or underground street races or what to do if you were ever working as a plumber and mysteriously teleported to the Mushroom Kingdom (on that last point, it also teaches one about the dangers of drugs).

Thus, I would like to submit a few of the lessons I have learnt about the world outside simply through video games.

I have learnt that anything can hurt and even kill you if it touches you anywhere on your body except the soles of your feet. The soles of your feet are so powerful that even jumping in molten lava will not kill you as long as you jump out immediately. Thus if ever attacked by a walking mushroom or a Grizzly Bear, simply jumping on it will not only kill it, but often will result in them dropping gold coins, jewels or ammunition (because all animals carry ammo and jewels in their pockets which they were storing for the winter). Bad guys and creatures will always drop ammunition that matches the gun you are using even if they don’t have a gun themselves this is important to remember if you are ever in a fight in real life.

If the defeated enemy, creature or harmless woodland critter doesn’t drop any ammunition, ancient artefacts or currency at the very least numbers will rise up off their corpse adding to your score.

These points or coins can be used to buy things such as guns, ammunition or more lives once again teaching us the fundamentals of capitalism: Destroy your enemies; take their money; buy weapons and you will live longer.
Although you are sometimes limited to the amount of weapons or items you may carry (just like in real life), there is no limit to the amount of money, coins and jewels you can collect and you never have to declare this income to any kind of regulatory taxation institution. You will know if you pick up something particularly important or valuable as music will play.

To be safe it is best to shoot everything. If it dies it was bad, if it doesn’t die then pick it up. Once they are dead their corpse will either disappear or instantly be reduced to a pile of bones.

Games have also taught me that rooms will often be filled with vast amounts of wooden crates or priceless vases and that people use these to store ammunition and valuable objects. These crates are usually empty and despite being massive generally only contain one item despite being able to store much more. Thankfully there is no consequence to breaking these other than getting more points.

When you die your score is recorded for the entire world to see and you will be remembered for all time, but only as 3 letters. Furthermore, all the top scores i.e. the greatest individuals ever to live; had naughty soundings names like POO, BUM or ASS or couldn’t work out how to select their letters and end up with AAA.
That’s it for now, but there will be more on this subject in future…

Damnit, I did it again! I promised myself I wouldn’t and yet for the umpteenth time here I am. I looked at my budget, I couldn’t afford to buy any new games and yet as the hype built around the “next best thing” I fell into the trap… again.

How many titles have I bought as a direct result of getting sucked into the hype machine? “Better graphics, unexpected story twists, new weapons, zombies with lasers, improved cover system, revolutionary new bla bla bla”, I fall for it every time.

OMG the new COD BlackCraft 2: God of Gears is coming out in 219 days! Pre-Order NOW… and I get a free key ring! Whoot! What? And an oversized T-shirt? WIN!

At this stage, if I don’t immediately pre-order the game due to a rare moment of lucidity, I will sit and ferment in my ever-maddening brew of insanity. Every forum will be abuzz with “strategically” leaked details about new features, speculation as to how the story will end; and purposefully vague press releases about how this game will “revolutionise” the way we see gaming.

And if I manage to get through this stage, as we get closer and closer to the launch or “what will surely be the greatest day of mankind”, the previews and hands-on demos will appear. Magazines and gaming websites will be filled with reviews about how this game “has everything”. “It will change your life, make you happy and even do your taxes”. At this point I am either rocking myself to sleep as consolation for the fact that I haven’t bought the “biggest thing in gaming since electricity”, or I have removed myself from all media that may inadvertently remind me that my life is going to remain a soulless void, unless I have this game.

Release day… today! And guess what?

Damnit, I did it again! I promised myself I wouldn’t and for the umpteenth time here I am again. Don’t get me wrong – when I first held the game in my hands I felt an immeasurable “oneness” with the Universe. For in that moment…there was nothing but pure bliss. I tore off the plastic covering and, shaking with anticipation, inserted the game ever so cautiously into my console.

After the mind blowing opening sequence of pre-rendered awesomnicity concluded, I was left with a weird sense of “that looked awesome” and yet “that made no sense”. It is at this point that a familiar little voice piped up from deep within me – the voice of bitter disappointment.

The game is buggy; the story is contrived; the game is essentially more of the same only rushed and is over far too soon, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth and emptiness in my soul and wallet that lingers long after it should.

The hype machine takes another casualty.

I go back to the forums to see if my feelings are shared and lo and behold, the former followers are all up in arms about how “fail” this game is. At least they would be if it weren’t for the fact that details about “WarCreed 7: Uncharted Warfare” are out and if I pre-order now I get a pencil sharpener!

And so the machine grinds on…