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"She didn't shoot as well as Silvio, she thinks, because she doesn't play first-person shooters"

Contrary to popular belief, gaming can prove to be benificial ;)

I learned the basics of how to drive by playing racing games. Hmm, come to think of it, that's probably why I get so many speeding fines :/

Ronin Tetsuro

I am a big fan of racing sims like the Gran Turismo series...I even have pictures of my OutRun top scores from way back in the stone age...beat Need For Speed Underground inside of a week...so I'm a racing junkie, but don't drive a vehicle on a regular basis that anyone would consider a preformance model.

Two summers ago, I got the chance to race a Lancer Evo on a closed track, and the owner of the vehicle told me to take it easy. So I did for the first lap, but as I started the second, I started noting the racing lines in the track, the best places to enter/exit turns...by the third lap I was making times comprable to students in the classes out at the course.

The owner of the car, Hank, asked me if I had been racing vehicles very long. When I explained that I had been racing for years, but only in gaming simulations, he got kinda green and spechless.

So there's more to games than just eye-hand coordination.


I don't think games as they exist now (even the more sim-oriented ones) can teach you to drive or shoot a gun or any skill like that. The action on the "X" button on your playstation is much different from the gas pedal of an actual race car, as is the resistance of the analog stick vs an actual steering wheel. Similarly, as far as shooting a gun goes, games don't come close to accurately simulating the weight of a weapon and how it affects your aiming, or the recoil. I don't shoot guns that often, but I do know that it is a much different experience from the "point and click" method that I'm used to in Counter-Strike.

Video games as they are now might possess the capacity to train higher level skills; the Army used a specific build of Doom to teach squad tactics, for instance, and I'm sure playing racing sims might help you learn some of the more subtle elements of strategy in a race. But I don't think you can learn how to actually DRIVE a car or AIM and SHOOT a gun through video games.


To debate that last point, I agree that hitting the "X" button does not equate to hitting the gas, but throw in a logitech force feedback steering wheel and then tell me that you can't at least get the basics down with that. I find it much harder to drive in Gran Turismo with the steering wheel, especially in Drift mode, but I've gotten better at it and definitely think those skills would transfer over to real-life driving.


There are two components to this: an intellectual one, and a physical memory one. It seems that games might help with the intellectual component (for example, you KNOW that the car will drift) but the physical memory component (your body 'remembering' the physicality of the car or weapon: knowing by feel how much the car is or will drift in a turn [gaining intuition?]) must be experienced firsthand.


Well, I was only a kid when I first started playing computer games (weren't we all? hehe) and the racing games allowed me to come to terms with the mechanics of the car...when it's good to brake, how to change gears, best times to accelerate in corners and how to handbrake turn *grin*

As far as guns are concerned though, I'd believe it's a completely different matter. The only thing to really be learned from computer games is that you have to point and squeeze the trigger...but we all knew this already.

And then we get the Silent Hill series, which teaches you to scream like a kid despite being 24 *blush*


i'm not a big fan of guns and actually kind of hate them. i hate them because i'm scared of them and i haven't any real exposure to them. all i know about guns is that they are dangerous and most people i know who own them are a little cuckoo.

That says more about the author's social circle than it does about guns.

As for guns in video games, well...

Remember that Civil War film "Glory" with Matthew Broderick as the White colonel in charge of the first 'colored' Union regiment?

There's a great scene in which one of the freed slaves, who is something of a natural marksman, is showing off his sharpshooting prowess to his fellow soldiers.

The colonel rides up, notices this, and asks the man to repeat his performance - only this time, the colonel pulls his own pistol out and fires it into the air a few feet from the soldier.

Of course, the noise and disruption of the nearby pistol blasts turn the soldier from a crack shot into a stumbling mess who can barely load his rifle, let alone fire it.

Every gamer who thinks his mastery of COUNTER-STRIKE actually means something should be forced to watch that scene over and over until he gets it.

I've taken a number of gaming friends to the rifle range and let them try shooting actual rifles (my Bushmaster XM15, reproduction M1 Garand, semi-auto AK-47 and a few others) and the results were interesting.

"Leet" gamers who could shoot a flea off a black dog in an FPS were lucky to get half the rounds on target, let alone center them. All of them were surprised at how heavy the Garand was. The noise, weight, forearm fatigue, barrel drift, etc. were completely new experiences for them.

I didn't dare let them try the handguns, lest they shoot their own feet off. Fortunately none of them have NY State Pistol Licenses, so I could refuse on legal grounds. :)


Well put, eli.


I asked Emil what he thought: I think Silvio and David were better shots because they play a lot of first person shooters and also because they've handled guns before. I know the military trains their soldiers with simulations/games. What do you think?

For reference, Emil is an expert shooter. His qualifications are in the original entry. His response: I think that certain elements of 1st person games translate. For example, the tasks required to shoot well all involve the alignment of objects in your field of view and timing a trigger release. FWIW, I am better at those games now that I understand the principles of shooting. The Marines have experimented with using a version of Doom to train their guys in coordinated fire and maneuver and communication on the battlefield.

Brain, regarding: That says more about the author's social circle than it does about guns.

I agree wholeheartedly. My friends are a pack of wild dogs, I mean, you do know Jane & Justin right? :) People are dangerous, not guns. I grew up in Arlington, VA and went to public high school with four different sets of generals' daughters (Powell, Schwarzkopf, Kelly and Covault). Some of their fathers have created more danger for more people than any one rifle ever has.

Regarding the M. Broderick/Glory scene, there is a similar scene in The Last Samurai (it is hard to perform well when bullets are being fired at you). I can attest that gun fire can make one all jittery. Not since my last visit to the Cu Chi tunnels in Viet Nam had I been so nervous. I could only shoot when all was quiet again.

I don't plan on playing any FPS anytime soon. I haven't the desire. I do however, have a new interest in the sport of shooting.

Hey! Emil pulled the NY pistol license card/excuse on us! I suppose he wanted us to leave with ten toes...Peace 2004.


Could be, Souris. Then again, I know several pistol licensees who have been confronted by undercover cops (and one by an ATF agent) when they were setting up their gear at the range - asking for the licences. A "sting" of some sort, apparently.

I'd agree that FPSes could help train shooters in theory, but the ones available to the public are just too abstract.

For example, I've yet to see one that properly takes into account "barrel float" from breathing or the degree to which the weapon takes up your field of view when aiming "down the iron."

Eli makes a good point re intellectual vs physical components, but how far does that go? I know, intellectually, what a car engine is made of and how it works, but I would be at a loss to perform anything beyond the most basic repairs.


"For example, I've yet to see one that properly takes into account "barrel float" from breathing or the degree to which the weapon takes up your field of view when aiming "down the iron.""

Have you tried America's Army?


Yes, good point. That one is an exception. Should've caught that myself. Whoops.

(Also, CALL OF DUTY does "down the iron" aiming pretty well. So that's two.)

Still, the general case still stands. Hopefully a balance can be struck between playability and realism...


Check this out:

From an article about troops in Iraq using a specialized vehicle to remove improvised explosive devices-
"Years of video games prepared him to maneuver the Buffalo's mechanical arm using only a small display screen to watch the nine-pronged fork scrape into the dirt."


the military is gaming...to stay close to their families. ny times story here


if you have cable access to BBC America, check out the tv show FAKING IT. the latest episode chronicles the adventures of phil deane, an English games tester, who has an appetite for racing games. he trains for one month and tries to fake out the racing world out by competing in a pro race. i won't tell you the outcome of his trickery, but more information can be found here. don't click the results tab to avoid spoilers...


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