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11/25/2003

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Draigon

My brother is a good example of video game influence. He's not a hardcore gamer and hardly even a casual gamer by my standards, but he does play a select few games on occaision. He's part of that Nintendo generation so gaming is still in his roots. He knows the mechanics, the rules, the ideas. The reason I mention his background is I think it's interesting that even though he doesn't play video games much, he still gave me a good example of how video games effect his life. His life right now is pretty much full time school.

After you posted the first article, I asked for his opinion and he said sometimes when he's having a hard time with college or feeling discouraged about a class, he'll try to imagine he's playing an RPG. Paraphrasing: "It's like Link. He can't defeat Gannon until he has the master sword and to get that he has to beat all these other dungeons first. For some reason it helps when I think of completing a class like completing a dungeon." He also started comparing things like school books to spell books and good arguments (for his philosophy classes) to spell casting where sometimes other students have more powerful spells (better arguments) that cancel out his and he feels defeated (in more than one sense). The boss (his teacher) tends to have more powerful spells than everyone else.

I don't think he takes it too far, I'm sure he's not living out a video game in his head all the time, but that's what he said. I find myself approaching things in a similar fashion, but he was far more detailed in his comparisons. I guess the idea is just breaking the world down into a more managable vision. Does this sort of thing exist outside video games?

Kuchen

I remember reading about some research a while back, (I think I have the link hidden amongst my bookmarks somewhere), that suggested that gaming, specifically FPS gaming, improved your ability to track multiple objects. Now I don't know whether it's because of that article or not, but when I've been playing FPS's regularly as I have in the last month or so (UT2K3), I feel more 'in control' as I drive.

I feel as if I know what every other car is doing, or what it might do. For example, I have a keen awareness of cars pulling into intersections, anticipating the cars that might turn in front of me, cars in lanes around me, etc etc.

I feel totally switched on.. tracking all the objects around me.

Mr. Mechanical

In the beginning, my "social stats" were in danger of atrophy until I got into RPGs. For me, playing good RPGs weren't so much about ability and inventory management but more about connecting to the characters portrayed in the story. I guess if I had a "humanities stat", then RPGs went a long way in boosting it for me.

As far as "physical attributes" go, I think anyones who's been gameing since the NES days has a huge beefed up "gamers muscle", the muscle/tendon between your thumb and forefinger. I've found that after 5+ hour heated sessions with my favorite console FPS Halo, my wrist and forearm muscles have been sore, but hey, no pain no gain, right?

But if all you do is sit around playing games all day then other more important "physical attribute stats" will atrophy, like excessive weight gain due to extreme inactivity, so I always try to exercise caution in this area and try to have more physically demanding activities from time to time, like general exercise.

I've been playing games since the late '80s with Zelda and Mario, and gaming for me is now a sort of meditation. If I'm playing a really good game and I get "in the zone" I find myself transcending the physical realm and actually becoming the avatar on screen. I identify with my character and the trials wrought upon me, so in a way, gaming is a very personal experience for me as I assume it is for many others. It's not really a psycho type thing, just my own personal way of enjoying a great game.

I can't think of the "stats" this "meditation" would boost, though. Willpower, maybe? It's been a while since I've played RPGs though, lately I've been more into action/adventure games. Consequentially, my "twitch reflex" stats have sky-rocketed. I also think it depends on the emotional bond someone has with a game that depends on which "stats" are boosted.

Great site, by the way. Keep up the good work. :)

madsax

This is a bit of an expected example, but that doesn't take away any of its power: my brother has lost about 30 pounds playing DDR. And he's 36.

He's also taught himself how to read Japanese by playing Japanese RPG's and bishoujo games. If only college language courses were as much fun. Why shouldn't they be?

TitusByronicus

i really enjoyed Draigon's post and what his brother said. that is an excellent way of applying video games to 'real life', as it were. i find that i do a similar thing, but i never really thought about it like that. games certainly helped teach me that every big goal must be broken down into a series of menial tasks that must be accomplished in some order. trying to fit my mind around the big goal is often impossible, and tends to depress me because i cannot see how i will possibly accomplish that goal. but break it down into small steps that lead me there... that's the ticket. not sure what that 'stat' would be.

i guess a big 'stat' that has been increased by playing video games is persistence in the face of defeat. got slaughtered by that damn boss? i'll go build my character up some more and try it again. and again. and again. it applies directly to life. make mistakes, learn from them, prepare yourself so you won't make the same mistakes again, but also prepare yourself to make other mistakes, just don't give up and break the controller!

a key word in that last sentence is "prepare". just as draigon's brother said that a good argument is like a spell, you need to know how to prepare the right spells for your current battle, something that has cerainly been taught in RPGs.

hand-eye coordination, obviously, is also a stat that's been boosted by games. and i also agree with Kuchen about having a better sense of what's going on around you because of games. i often feel like i'm playing a game when driving my car (only there's no extra lives :-)

as for stats that have atrophied... i don't know about social skills. i think playing coop with a good buddy (who's in the room, not online) is an ultimate social experience. when we both get really into the game, it's like we become the same person for a while, communicating without hardly speaking. and i have to say that playing deathmatch games with friends is how i learned to shit-talk :-)

i honestly can't think of what i traded of myself by playing so many games. i'm sure that there are many stats that atrophy because of games, but i keep my life pretty well-rounded as far as physical activity, mental activity, and social activity go... i'm not a gaming recluse (at least not all the time).

i'm sure all these things can be learned in ways other than playing games, but its how i chose to learn them. the path you take toward your goal is just as important as the goal itself.

anyway, that's all i can think to say right now. maybe more later if anything comes to me.

-Titus

TitusByronicus

another quick thought:

i don't think games have atrophied my social skills at all. they have taught me the value of interactivity. it's nice to hear a good story, but it's much, much better to be part of a good story.

-Titus

Slyfeind

I'm living a very class-based life right now. I refuse to go into any in-depth study of anything outside theatre -- and even then, I'm focusing further on sound design and stage management. It's as though I feel like I have only 700 skill points to spend for my entire life, and I want to make sure I reach grandmaster theatre technician before I concentrate on any other skills. Either that, or I want to make 65th level Bard before I reroll another character....

BoringBot

so games have really guded my development in life. i know you prolly htink its terrible, but a lot of my ethics ive learned through video games. im not saying all, my parents definitely guided me, but ultima 4 and 5 have always had a special place in my memory. because of those games the idea that you could do amazing things by having a set of marlas and ethics that you judge yourself against has always stuck with me. i think that ultima 5, with its twisting of virtues had a very profound effect on the little kid me. it taught me that you hadda actually want to do good things for them to have an effect, that being forced to be good was not the same thing as doing so with your own free will. ive played a lotta rpgs since then, and although they usually have sidequests and junk that reward you for bein good, i think that the way those ultima games were set up definitely taught me more about those topics.
i know that people worry about games teachin kids to be terrible, but games can also teach you to be good. ill use knights of the old republic as an example. throughout the game, you must make personal choices that have profound effects in the gaming environment. if you want to be evil, you can be really realy evil, and if you wanna be good you can be super awesome good. in fact i tried playin through doing all the evil stuff i could, and i started realizing that i felt pretty bad for some of the things i did in the game. i'm pretty sure that this is the kind of thing that parents and conservatives are worried about, but they dont complain about this game as much as others. i think because you have the option of doing good or bad, unlike games like gta3, where your best bet for doing good is just standing still in an alley somewhere. i think that games do teach kids a lot about ethics and morals, and im really thankful that there are games where you can make he choice for yerself to be good or bad.

so i guess my "piety" stat or whatever is pretty high. im not into religion and whatnot, but i still do a lot of volunteer work and actually try to be as good a person as i can be.

i think that games have helped me become more inteligent. i played "omega" an ai writing game when i was a kid and that definitely left a big impression on me. always thinkin about ai and choices now. hahah.

as far as skill gained from video games, well theres this one thing that i learned to do in order to press the button very very fast, by holding my hand still and vibrating my arm. it was pretty essential for the interrogation part of metal gear solid, so i think that there must be other peops that can do that. i found out with my last girlfriend that its actually a very nice skill to have. hahah. its not about button mashing, btw. i know its a bit crude, but seriously, i mean, seriously. it is a skill right?

Madster

Experience has showed me what most genres will develop in you (i am my own guinea pig on this)

-DDR for losing weight/getting fit and eye-foot coordination
-FPS for tracking objects (been there, its true!)
-RPG and admin games (tycoons, sim-city) for managing stuff (keeping track of huge amounts of numbers and simultaneous tasks)
-Fighting games for .... yes! actual fighting! (improves your reaction time and quick strategy, and gives you somewhat better coordination)
-Strategy games for planning and light management skills
-GTA3 and Vice city for thinking really evil thoughts... and getting out of traffic jams in ways that you'll feel bad about later (note to self: after playing GTA or any racing game for that matter, allow at least 30 minutes to pass before driving)

=)

-The Mad Guy

Madster

Experience has showed me what most genres will develop in you (i am my own guinea pig on this)

-DDR for losing weight/getting fit and eye-foot coordination
-FPS for tracking objects (been there, its true!)
-RPG and admin games (tycoons, sim-city) for managing stuff (keeping track of huge amounts of numbers and simultaneous tasks)
-Fighting games for .... yes! actual fighting! (improves your reaction time and quick strategy, and gives you somewhat better coordination)
-Strategy games for planning and light management skills
-GTA3 and Vice city for thinking really evil thoughts... and getting out of traffic jams in ways that you'll feel bad about later (note to self: after playing GTA or any racing game for that matter, allow at least 30 minutes to pass before driving)

=)

-The Mad Guy

Madster

Experience has showed me what most genres will develop in you (i am my own guinea pig on this)

-DDR for losing weight/getting fit and eye-foot coordination
-FPS for tracking objects (been there, its true!)
-RPG and admin games (tycoons, sim-city) for managing stuff (keeping track of huge amounts of numbers and simultaneous tasks)
-Fighting games for .... yes! actual fighting! (improves your reaction time and quick strategy, and gives you somewhat better coordination)
-Strategy games for planning and light management skills
-GTA3 and Vice city for thinking really evil thoughts... and getting out of traffic jams in ways that you'll feel bad about later (note to self: after playing GTA or any racing game for that matter, allow at least 30 minutes to pass before driving)

=)

-The Mad Guy

Madster

Urrmm... sorry for the multi-post... methinks the comment thingy is broken, at least for Mozilla
there is no indication (not even a refresh!) that the post got trough.

=/

apologies

saint

i've also found that games have helped me track multiple objects; another thing that they've helped with, FPS games in particular, is keeping cool in potential panic situations. counterstrike is the main one there; that's a game where you absolutely must keep a level head to succeed. if you're playing that game and suddenly you're getting shot up out of nowhere, you're not just going to be able to randomly run and jump away as is often possible in other similar games. survival in that situation requires a sort of mental picture of the environment around you-- to figure out from where you're taking fire, and where you can go to get out of the way.

if there's one thing they've eroded, it's not social skills; i was never particularly great at social interaction anyway. what i do have noticed slipping away sometimes, though, is the sense of permanence of action and consequence, the understanding that if the results of what you try aren't satisfactory, you can't reset and reload. personally i find that a lot more worrisome than any loss of social skills.

Yaka St.Aise

Generally, it seems difficult to me to set apart videogaming from other activities when it comes to assess their relative bear on one's skill-building process.

Still, I had the opportunity lately to see how RTS games, combining the comforting process of trial and error rewarded learning (campaign style), and the various multiplayer modes (coop and comp), seemed to provide good practice ground to my two nephews (7 and 9), one of which used to show spectacular anger and frustration when faced with failure.
RTS seems to have helped both, to various levels with the following issues:

Campaign style play (solo):
----------------------
Pros:
- persistence in face of failure/seemingly overwhelming challenges.
- holistic approach to problems
- self-confidence building
- valuation of effort combined with planning

Cons:
- "Undo" syndroma, better known by videogamers as "quick reload" syndroma.
- Overachieving behaviour reinforcment.

Multiplayer (all modes):
--------------------
Pros:
- coping with failure (the ability to rematch under same or different conditions helps a lot)
- relativistic approaches - what works against the computer doesn't necessarily work against human opponent, and vice versa.
- solves the "Undo" syndroma.

[Specific to Cooperative play]
- cooperative play against the AI opens new perspectives on "winning", "better" and such.
- reproductible and consistent control over setup allows for emprical experiments and own defined goals.
assess the defining quality of videogames
- virtues and vices of metagaming: sharing tips and tactics helps beating the computer, but can be reused in PvP later, effectively enhancing mostly tactical games with meta-strategy extending beyond the screen to the realm of Diplomacy/Politics.

Cons:
- None that I can see.

TTFN,
Yaka.

Yaka St.Aise

Generally, it seems difficult to me to set apart videogaming from other activities when it comes to assess their relative bear on one's skill-building process.

Still, I had the opportunity lately to see how RTS games, combining the comforting process of trial and error rewarded learning (campaign style), and the various multiplayer modes (coop and comp), seemed to provide good practice ground to my two nephews (7 and 9), one of which used to show spectacular anger and frustration when faced with failure.
RTS seems to have helped both, to various levels with the following issues:

Campaign style play (solo):
----------------------
Pros:
- persistence in face of failure/seemingly overwhelming challenges.
- holistic approach to problems
- self-confidence building
- valuation of effort combined with planning

Cons:
- "Undo" syndroma, better known by videogamers as "quick reload" syndroma.
- Overachieving behaviour reinforcment.

Multiplayer (all modes):
--------------------
Pros:
- coping with failure (the ability to rematch under same or different conditions helps a lot)
- relativistic approaches - what works against the computer doesn't necessarily work against human opponent, and vice versa.
- solves the "Undo" syndroma.

[Specific to Cooperative play]
- cooperative play against the AI opens new perspectives on "winning", "better" and such.
- reproductible and consistent control over setup allows for emprical experiments and own defined goals.
assess the defining quality of videogames
- virtues and vices of metagaming: sharing tips and tactics helps beating the computer, but can be reused in PvP later, effectively enhancing mostly tactical games with meta-strategy extending beyond the screen to the realm of Diplomacy/Politics.

Cons:
- None that I can see.

TTFN,
Yaka.

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