Ever since i can remember have always been an avid fan of computer and video games. It might have began when I saw my neighbor with a matte black ‘brick game’. I was instantly hooked to the Tetris and F1 racing games. The concept of beating someone high score (and instant validation that I was better than someone at some thing) made gaming my early childhood cocaine- I couldn’t get enough.
Therefore, like any kid with a new found interest, I quickly dashed home and asked my dad for one. As I stared up at him with expectation, he slowly said “Not now.” It wasn’t harsh at all, just firm. But i persisted, for years and years, getting my grades up and doing all chores i was given to prove my merit.
Eventually, i did get my first console- the “Ending Man” and with it the beautiful joy of 8-bit gaming. Super Mario, street fighter and many more. And my addiction began. Consoles came every 8 or so years with the last console I received from my folks being the PS3 slim in 2011 and topping that by buying myself a pretty decent gaming laptop.
I appreciate that i embarked on this journey of gaming at a young age because i have learnt quite bit of things that are applicable to life in general.
1. NEVER GIVE UP
Every single game I have played has involved the frustration of losing or dying over and over again at the same point. Be it Saren from Mass Effect 1 destroying you at the citadel or being unable to jump over an obstacle fast enough in Super Mario and having to start all over again, i have always gone back over and over with a new strategy. A gamer will never believe that a game is unbeatable. Fr me, there was always a way.
In life, we are faced with difficulties and we often give up, resigning our losses to fate. Like your character in any game, after a defeat all is needed is rethinking your strategy and then going at the problem again with a renewed psyche.
2. YOU DON’T NEED THE BEST RESOURCES TO GET THE JOB DONE
The Need for Speed franchise could be the best example for this. The number of times i have beaten cars that are superior to mine on paper with seemingly inferior cars is more than I care to count. Sure, it could have been easier to beat the Bugatti Veyron with a Koenigsegg Agera, but at the time I only had a Mercedes SLS AMG. so i had to find a way to do it.
And I did.
In life, we often refuse to do things simply telling ourselves that we don’t have the resources to do it. I often fall victim to this. However, this defeatist artist is useless. start with what you have before you advnce t the best in the business. If you want to start photography, begin with your smartphone camera instead of waiting forever for that Ksh. 60,000 ($750) DSLR.
3. ALWAYS CHALLENGE YOURSELF
After playing over the campaign in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare3 i won’t go back and play it again on the same difficultly. Sure, I enjoyed but i have beaten the game. The pursuit of a new challenge is what drives people to online multiplayer. there you find an arena of gamers sharper, faster and generally better than you. this just brings a smile to your face as you accept the challenge to become even better.
In life though, we often fall into complacency. we are satisfied by the meager things we have instead of striving for greater success. We should instead, after a moment of thanksgiving and reflection, get back into looking for a better challenge.
4. YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE
Many RPG’s such as The Elder Scrolls or Mass Effect will often have you at a point where your decision will affect an AI companion in a negative way. No matter what course of action you take, someone will always suffer.
We always try to please everyone; sometimes even to our detriment. Pleasing everyone is as possible as doing complex trigonometry using just your fingers. Instead of trying to please everyone, we should think of ourselves and what would be best for ourselves, as selfish as that sounds.
5. SACRIFICES MUST BE MADE
One of the hardest choices you will ever have to make in a game is when you have decide who of your AI companions should die and who should live. Especially, when the choice has a significant impact on the whole storyline. Take for instance the decision to save either Kaiden or Ashley in Mass Effect 1. This is a decision that you will have to deal with for the rest of the sequel. And even though there is no correct or wrong choice, the fact that one person must die has an emotional toll on the player.
Life might not be as dramatic, with life or death choices. But there are always things we must give up over others- the well worn proverb that you can’t have your cake and eat it. From having to choose between staying in and studying or going out and networking to either your girlfriend or your best friend, there are always sacrifices to be made.
6. ALWAYS PLAN AHEAD
There is nothing more important than having a plan when going into a game than a plan. Even if its to go “guns-blazin'” or stealthily taking out enemies from afar, a strategy makes you win.
Never go into something without a plan of action. It is important to know what you are going to do in the battlefield that is life. Planning for your day and your life in general will help you deal easily with whatever life might throw at you.
6. INTERACTION IS IMPORTANT
What can’t you learn from RPG’s? Try and play any with as little interaction with other characters and see how detrimental that will be. One simply gains XP (Experience Points) from talking to NPC’s (Non-Playable Charachters).
Life spent ignoring every other Homo Sapiens Sapiens you encounter an your life will be a shell of what it s supposed to be. No one can ignore the great benefits we gather from talking and being with others. Longevity, health and joy are just a few benefits of networking.
“Mission briefs and cut scenes; who needs those? Just kill everyone and keep moving forward” this kind of thinking that has ledme to repeat missions over and over again in Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Listening is always important other wise instead of cut scenes game designers would employ other methods to convey information.
In life, we don’t get replays where we can go back and listen to what the other person was saying. If its gone, its gone. More time should be spent listening hence amassing information.
9. SMALL BEGINNINGS MEAN NOTHING
If there was ever a game you started with an upper hand, they always find a way to bring you back down to rock bottom. In God Of War 2 and 3 you start with power and quickly lose it to the sword of Olympus and to the river Styx. You always begin with the slowest of cars in Need for Speed. from these humble beginnings one rises up to finish with the fastest and sexiest cars or the biggest and most powerful weaponry.
Therefore, in life, starting from a humble beginning shouldn’t make you think that are destined to remain small. With the world as yor playground, greatness should be what we all en devour for.