I've played video games my entire life. My brother and I have always been fans of them, dating back to our original Nintendo and Super Nintendo all the way to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. While I haven't been playing video games nearly as much these days, they still encompass a big part of my life. I was thinking recently what a life playing video games has given me, and I must say they have shaped me for the better.
Some of my favorite games over the years have been the Mass Effect trilogy, several of the Final Fantasy games, Heavy Rain, LA Noire, Bioshock, The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto 4, Call of Duty, Halo, and a plethora of fighting games which I enjoyed (and still do enjoy) playing with my brother. There are many other games I've enjoyed but for the sake of brevity, I'll cut myself off.
Video games have taught me many things, some may seem unexpected or odd but nevertheless I value the contributions this medium of entertainment has given to my life.
Especially back when I had to read all the dialogue from older Final Fantasy games, video games helped me learn new words and have an appreciation for understanding what they mean through context clues. Reading is important for everyone at all points in our lives and I happened to do a lot of it through video games. It doesn't matter what you're reading, as long as you are reading and are comprehending what is being said.
Problem Solving Skills
A lot of games have different puzzles and mysteries to solve, encouraging you to not just solve them, but rewarding you for solving them well and quickly. Critical thinking is a highly important skill for all people, and nurturing this through video games is a fun and effective way to build this skill. Especially a game like LA Noire, where there is groundbreaking motion capture for the characters in the game which allow for nonverbal ticks when interrogating people as well as in depth crime cases to solve with a myriad of possible outcomes. I enjoyed this game greatly and appreciated how it encouraged critical thought throughout the game.
I tend to prefer playing games on my own, but me and my brother always liked to play our fair share of them together. We'd have to communicate and take different roles to succeed. I tend to play a support role or (in World of Warcraft for example) I'd be the tank or defensive player that helped take the heat for my team so they could all do the real damage. If we had a team of tanks or people who didn't communicate, we'd never win. We each need to know our role and do it well. It's a super satisfying thing when you can work with others to achieve greater success than any of you could do alone.
While most think playing too many video games will make you into an anti-social loner (it can, but not always), I venture to say that it can help build bonds with others about something they are passionate about. Nowadays especially (far more so than when I was playing them) with the advent of online gaming, we are playing video games mostly with and connected to each other. If we're not teaming up or playing against each other, we're sharing resources, tips, tricks, guides, and generally coming together around what we love.
Video games will always be a big part of my life and I'm thankful for it. They've given me a lot and I hope others can realize what they've been given and what they could get from exploring this uniquely interactive entertainment medium.