Why I Find Gaming Empowering - NCS Grad, Ellie
Video games. They make you more anxious, depressed, less socially able and basically turn you into a serial killer to boot – or so everyone from the mass media to Donald Trump say. But NCS grad Ellie finds empowerment in pixels and controllers and genuinely believes gaming has the opposite effect, making her more capable, compassionate and ready for the future.
As an avid gamer, I love playing and get so much out of it. But I wanted to see how other people felt as well, so I asked a range of different gamers, aged from 17 to 50, “What skills and benefits have you gained from playing video games?”.
The results were a mixed bag. However, the main answer that came back again and again was feeling like you learn lots of varied, positive skills. One person mentioned they were a lot less shy than they used to be, because gaming introduced them to people from a whole variety of backgrounds. They said as a result they had developed a lot more compassion and sympathy.
It was interesting – the younger demographic focused more on the communication element, chatting with friends and making new ones online. Whereas the older demographic focused more on gaining patience and perseverance. All of these skills aid the growth of a person and show that video games are much more than just a form of entertainment – they can help you learn and grow too.
I’ve gained teamwork skills through playing multiplayer games, MMOs and real-time strategy games, where I’ve had to work with other players I had only met five seconds ago. It takes a lot of trust and communication in order to complete the mission, objective or task you’re trying to accomplish.
This translates to the real world in lots of ways. You’re going to be put in groups of people you don’t know: in school, employment, even on NCS, so having good team-working skills are always an important asset that’ll help you along.
I’ve also gained management skills through RPGs and simulation games. A big one is The Sims. The management – and micromanagement! – of a Sim is actually helping you with life skills for school and work, and even helping you with leadership and quick decision-making, as you look after your Sim and get them to do things you feel are best for them.
Overall, for me, video games are a great way to improve your life skills in all sorts of ways. If you already play games then think about all the games you’ve played and how they’ve benefitted you. And if you don’t play video games regularly, why not get more involved and maybe discover a skill you didn’t know you had!
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