Games Teach Us Life Lessons Too!

Image by Bungie®

Since I was 10 years old, I have been playing games on the Xbox consoles. The first game I played was Halo, an American military science fiction franchise by Bungie, with about 8 main games. In these games you work together in “Fire teams” and defeat aliens (The Covenant) and other players. In the storyline you play a genetically modified super soldier: Master Chief. Together with your teammates and Cortana, an AI, you fight off the Covenant and save planets and cities. The Halo games have gotten me through some tough times and have also taught me a few things. I will be addressing these life lessons that helped me out at times and hopefully help you make some decisions yourself. 

One of the main lessons: hesitation gets you nowhere. To hesitate in the game, is to die. It might not always be as fast paced, but in most circumstances an alien will shoot you down and you have to start all over again, which is not the case in real life. An alien won’t shoot you in real life, but you also don’t get second chances. The moment you start wasting time worrying instead of doing something, is seconds and minutes lost, you won’t succeed if you keep that up. Success is achieved by being aggressive and actively seeking opportunities; maybe not as aggressive as killing enemy aliens in a game, though.

Another lesson I learned is about experience. There obviously are people who have natural skill: a feeling for the game and it’s mechanics, or an idea of how something works without having to learn it. But most of the time you have to work hard to acquire and develop your skills. Whenever you are put in a new environment or a new job, you need to learn the ropes, which don’t just come to you served on a silver platter. You actually have to put time into learning it. If you don’t know what you’re working on or how it is done, you’ll be strategically disadvantaged. In the Halo games, whenever you are put in a new world map with new weapons, you probably don’t know where everything is located and what these weapons do. However, by putting in the time and effort to learn about them you will be able to master them pretty quickly, instead of when you don’t take the time and don’t stand a chance against enemies.

The third lesson: teamwork: everyone knows it and it’s pretty common in adult life. Wherever you work, you most likely have to deal with a team. Some people might think it wouldn’t matter if you could also do it on your own instead of with multiple people working towards the same goals. The risks of taking on a mission in-game on your own are that you are overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do. This can be in the form of too many enemies or a mission where you have to activate certain machines within a set time. Either way, it’s way harder to do on your own, if it is even possible. In my own experience I have seen that working together with others, even if it’s challenging, proves to be beneficial and will give me the desired results to reach my goals faster than if I were to do it on my own. Especially since you can also distribute the tasks amongst your team members, as everyone has their own skills. 

Image by Bungie®

This brings me to the next point of knowing your strength. If you know your own strength, you can easily take on any sort of task, as long as it’s not too out of reach. In Halo there are dozens of weapons, one for every type of player, at least! There are classes of weapons and also types of those classes of weapons. Meaning there are snipers, melee weapons, assault rifles, shotguns and the like. If a player knows they are better in ranged-combat, they might want to opt for a sniper instead of a shotgun. This way, if you know you are very good with a certain weapon or are skilled with a certain playing distance, you can keep on playing with it and improving your strengths even further. You will also be able to strategize better if you know which weapon you’re best at. In the business world, if you know you are strong with numbers but not with words, you know how you can use those numbers to your advantage instead of using your words for it. So use your strength instead of what you know is your weakness. 

Then finally, there’s details. Everyone knows the Devil’s in the details. Those little important points you need to pay mind to, otherwise you might fail. During my time in school I’ve learnt that watching out for the details is a must, I’ve failed many tests because I missed a comma or one word in a text. To anyone watching a game of Halo, it might seem like a bunch of people running around and shooting without a real goal apart from hoping to kill enemies. However, this game is actually very organized and strategic, the players precisely react to each other and the environment. As well as you need good hand-eye-coordination, which can also be very useful in the day to day life. In Halo you need to pay attention to the smallest of details, a single pixel can make the difference between life and death, as dramatic as that might sound. I have seen this happen quite often in the game, the angle in which you throw a grenade for example. 

In conclusion, even games can be helpful in day-to-day life. It teaches us how to communicate and work together as well as not becoming annoyed by not being able to do everything without spending time practising it. You have to work for the feats you want to achieve, in real life but also in games. Try applying these lessons learnt from Halo and also try to look deeper into the meaning of a game you play! Who knows that game might teach you something important apart from having fun.

Written by Anne van Spaendonck

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