Some say that video games are a waste of time. After 20 years of playing them — the best years of which have been in the past 5 — I have to say I disagree! It’s no surprise these days to learn that someone else my age — or even older! — enjoys playing video games. But is it surprising to learn that your favorite game might teach your a valuable life lesson?
Video games are a fantastic way to unwind. And with online multiplayer these days, it’s an amazing way to meet new people with similar interests. But there’s even more.
Video games are constantly teaching us valuable lessons. Yeah yeah, that might sound ridiculous to some. But I’ve learned countless life lessons from video games. Some of which I may have struggled with otherwise.
It would take me ages to explain to you every single amazing thing that I’ve learned from video games. Instead of wasting your time and my own, I chose my favorites!
Before I get started, please make sure you’ve read my disclaimers if you haven’t already.
Here are 6 life lessons I learned from video games.
Things are not always what they appear
Rule number 1 in almost any video game: investigate.
If you see a wall of vines, take a look; can you climb it?
Is there a weird light glimmering off of that wall? Maybe it’s a secret door!
See a piano in the middle of that room? Maybe you can play it!
There are always little hidden things and easter eggs for you to find in video games. Sometimes you can flip certain switches to open new pathways. Sometimes you can even phase through what appeared to be a wall and enter a new world!
And this lesson can apply IRL as well!
If you see something interesting, explore it. If something doesn’t seem right to you, take a closer look.
You may be able to help someone out. Or maybe you’ll find something incredibly cool.
You’ll never know if you just take things at face value.
Your past does not define you
This lesson really hit home for me in Kingdom Hearts — especially with the release of KH3 this year. (which, uh, I still haven’t finished. Woops.)
No matter what a person did in the past, so long as they showed genuine remorse and proved they were ready to turn things around, Sora and the gang gave them another chance.
Riku royally fucked some shit up, but he was able to let it go and keep moving forward.
Axel (Lea??) may have been a sniper for the Organization, but he let it go to find/help his friends!
The things they did before did not mean they could not be heroes now. And the same goes for all of us.
Maybe you were a toxic person before. Allow yourself to let that go! We all make mistakes and we need to grow past them. If people cannot accpet the ‘new you,’ then perhaps you’ve grown past them as a person as well.
We are all always evolving and changing to be our best selves. Don’t let a mistake form your past drag you down.
The best opportunities aren’t always easy to find
If you’ve ever played any sort of RPG you know just how hard it can be to find treasure/currency/gems at times. In the Legend of Zelda games, rupees are always in pottery or under bushes. Who goes digging through bushes for money?
In the Final Fantasy games and Kingdom Hearts, treasure chests are always hidden or in some seemingly unreachable place!
(you may have noticed I’m on a sort of Kingodm Hearts kick lately. I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m not. I WAITED 13 YEARS FOR A MAIN TITLE RELEASE, I’M GONNA BE HAPPY ABOUT IT!)
Just because you can’t always see something good doesn’t mean it’s not there. Keep that lesson in mind.
The thing you’re looking for is out there. Maybe it’s just not where you’d expect. Opportunities don’t come knocking; you have to seek them out.
Think before you act
Have you ever played Portal? Portal 2?
These games fucked with me in a way that no other game has.
First off, the villains. Oh. My. God. (I love GLaDOS and you cannot convince me she’s not the best ever.)
But more importantly, the puzzles.
These games are all based on these puzzles ranging from incredibly easy to ridiculously difficult.
And without a doubt, these games shaped how I look at the problems I face. Instead of just tackling the first obstacle you see, you have to analyze the entire situation and make the best move accordingly. Make a mistake and you’re looking down the barrel of a shockingly adorable turret.
The parallels to real life are staggering!!
I used to try and tackle problems one by one as they would arise. After replaying Portal 2, I’ve realized how inefficient and harmful that was to my mental health! It always seemed like everything was going wrong.
Now I try to visualize the entire situation and determine what might go wrong past that first step. But I don’t allow myself to worry over them; I prepare for them — just in case. If I encounter the problem, I have an idea of how to fix it. If I don’t, no worries!
Even with preparation like this and thinking things through, you’re still going to make mistakes sometimes. And that’s ok.
Mistakes make you stronger
Now was that a top-quality segue or what?
One of my favorite aspects of almost every video game? Respawn.
You’re playing Overwatch and got sniped by that damn widow? Respawn.
Fighting Xemnas in KH2 and couldn’t dodge those damn lightsabers? Respawn.
Getting materials for your perfect house in Minecraft and fall into a pit of lava? Respawn.
When you make a mistake in these games, you’re given an opportunity to start over and try again.
Sure, sometimes there are consequences: your team lost the upperhand and the enemy got the payload; you have to go back to the beginning of the ridiculous 42 part boss battle; your inventory was turned to ashes in the lava.
But so long as your know what went wrong and can work to fix it, your mistake wasn’t even a mistake. It was a learning experience.
Flank from a different angle, use that block button, don’t mine straight down. You’re improving. You’re getting stronger.
But seriously please dear god use the block button. You can’t dodge roll away from all of your problems.
Obviously this lesson is so easy to apply IRL.
Didn’t get that job you interviewed for? Ask them for insight into how you could improve so you’ll be ready for the next one!
Got into a fender bender? What were you doing at the time of the accident? Next time, keep your eyes and focus on the road and your surroundings!
Messed up on a super important report for work? Acknowledge what you missed and work to fix it!
Situations like these do usually come with a negative consequence, sure: you’re still unemployed; your car insurance payment went up; your report is delayed. But so long as you take this opportunity to learn from it and prepare yourself to not make the same mistake again, it’ll be ok.
Your friends are your most powerful asset
Time to end on a hella cheesy lesson!
I told you I’ve been on a Kingdom Hearts kick lately.
But this has really stuck with me, especially through the difficult times I’ve been experiencing over the past year.
Sora and Ventus realized that they would take on the darkness even without the most powerful weapons because they had their friends’ support. Yeah, it’s probably the most cliche thing to ever be written into a video game, but I found myself agreeing with it.
Whenever we’re having a tough time at work, who do we turn to? Our friends.
Whenever we’ve had a huge fight with our SO or even a breakup, who do we turn to? Our friends.
Whenever we’re scared of doing something new or challenging, who do we turn to? Our friends.
Because our friends are our support system. They’re the ones who give us hope and stability and something to look forward to. And it’s important that we don’t take them for granted.
Utilize your friends. GO to them when you need help or just need someone to talk to. But make sure that you’re there for them, as well. Because you’re their friend; you’re their power.
I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today if it weren’t for my friends.
Video games aren’t only a great way to have fun and maybe relieve a little stress. Every second we play is an opportunity to learn something new. There’s a million opportunities to learn a new life lesson and share it with others.
Have you learned any important life lesson from video games?
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