Part two of the effects of games - continuing from the comments on the first thread: How Have Games Changed You As a Person?
People wrote about how their lives were changed by specific games, or behaviour from games. I follow their narratives, and I hear my stories echoing theirs. Listening to myself and reading these excellent comments, I get the sense that people are talking about their personal journey in interactive entertainment - "I learned to read," "I learned to solve problems," "I learned to socialize," "I learned to guide myself." As ClockworkGrue said, "If you have memories of videogames, then videogames have made you human." But these remarks have more to say about things people need to learn, and less about the specific agenda or potential for video games. By and large, any of these things could have been learned without video games. Especially if you speak about them that generally - people have been learning to read, solving problems, or finding paths even before we had computers.
But the metaphors are new. Mimi's comment pointed to this - what games have given us, or imprinted us with, is a shared set of metaphors for our experience. "Problem-solving" sounds like language lifted from business management training, "path-finding" is a definite technical term used by the game community. People studying computer science since they were interested in video games also hint at this - they undertook research in technology, a new field, since they were lead there by these games. Games are a gateway to different kinds of understanding, at least about technology, and perhaps about ourselves.
Users like mfb wrote about the way they studied - self-directed, independent, anti-establishment, that seems to reflect the way that games inspired them to learn. This echoes what other people said about video games teaching problem solving, but s/he has articulated something more specific: that games have characteristics, biases almost. I'm not sure I agree, but it's an intriguing idea - perhaps interactive entertainment has characteristics that it shares with the people that engage it, over long periods of time.
So what are those characteristics? Wedge mentions a friend studying dentistry who claims to work on teeth faster, skills he said he learned fighting boss battles. This is a remark in the right direction - how does the problem-solving or hand-eye coordination you learned from games effect the way you work? or play? or talk to other people? Consider what you might have lost or traded for that time spent playing games. By playing games, you were boosting certain stats (to borrow a metaphor from RPGs). What stats were boosted? And which of your stats atrophied?