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Gaming for life

Students gather in Bldg. 2 for some friendly competition. Photo by Jenaro Ramirez.

When most people hear the term “gamer,” many negative stereotypes come to mind. A propensity for violence, antisocial behavior, and even a loose grip on reality. Could it be that this overall negative outlook on gaming has blinded our community to its more positive attributes? Positive attributes like leadership, time management, problem solving, critical thinking, stress management, and more. If we choose to focus less on the negatives, and more on the positives, our community could grow in many aspects of life, especially in education.

All of the skills listed above factor into one’s ability to succeed, and that is no different when it comes to gaming. Many people have seen great improvement in their ability to effectively understand, practice, and master specific skill-sets due to their past in gaming, whether it be at a casual level, or a competitive one. Through gaming, people of all ages can strengthen these core skills and put them into practice in real situations.

Anthony Rosario, one leader of the Gaming Club, as well as a member of the student council, spends most of his game-time playing RTS (real time strategy) games. RTS games focus on base building and management, careful timing, and outsmarting the opposition to secure victory in a simulated battle with each player in command of a virtual army.

“Definitely, yes,” Rosario said when asked if he credits video games with the development of any of his life skills. “Resource management, the most important thing,” the ability to understand your limits, craft a plan, and put it into action.

“Also being able to think on your feet. You have to get really creative. You need to be able to make decisions on the fly,” Rosario said.

He credits his gaming hobby with improvements to his hand-eye coordination, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.

Matthew Christian, the Gaming Club’s PR representative, plays different games than Rosario, but has similar genre preference. Christian shared his experience when it comes to gaming, and the skills he attributes to that hobby.

“People management! For a lot of games I’ve been a part of, I’ve been on a team of people,” Christian said. “And when it comes to competing it’s very important to know your team.”

There is no doubt that teamwork is a huge part of success in most aspects of life, and that includes gaming. Christian has a history of competing in a professional setting. He played in the UGC League, a league which organizes tournaments for well known esports games, including Team Fortress 2, which Christian played.

“Oppositional awareness is also very important,” Christian said. Knowing your opposition is a valuable skill, especially in the entrepreneurial line of work. Being able to understand the competition can give one a strong advantage in the business world. Christian also said that his gaming hobby helped him to learn to practice moderation.

“If you don’t know your limits, you’ll play into an abyss, which is not something that is good,” Christian said. “It’s a real life-skill because you can apply it to jobs, relationships, and hobbies.”

Even in college, professors will encourage their students to step away from hard problems if they can’t seem to solve them, and come back at a later time. Proper time management and knowing how to step away when overwhelmed can help lead to a clarity of mind.

There are many different genres of games, and specific genres can help specific skill-sets. Regardless of the genre, nearly all games can teach critical thinking, problem solving, and self-management skills. There are already people using simulated environments and using video games to further education. Games as training can be seen in places such as the military, customer service job training, or even surgery. Taking further advantage of video games’ ability to foster critical skills could help improve the effectiveness of education. Artificial reality has its downsides, as with all things, but with proper discipline and self-control, the positives far outweigh the negatives. While gaming as a whole continues to gain popularity, our community will eventually see its merits and uses. In the future perhaps it can even be used to further progress our ever-expanding, and yet outdated, world of education.

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