Lessons from video games

Published on Sep 6, 2020

I wouldn't be my current self without video games. I spent a lot of time playing them in childhood and a little bit in university. Now I play only from time to time with my friends. It's never been the same but always been fun.

In childhood, online games, like World Of Warcraft,  were a way to me for meet people, socialise and learn English. The entire game client had no localisation for my native language. I had to adapt, read and look for translations and learn new words. That's the main reason that I knew English well enough to write here. Also, as a bonus, I have a great fantasy vocabulary.

Virtual worlds are like the real world. Players have social status and reputation, wealth, skills and professions. If you're a "cheater" or don't respect others, you won't be successful in long-term. Players have to learn how to interact with others online, produce and sell goods and services, and "exist" in general. The more time you dedicate to the game, the more successful you will be in it.

Consistency there matters a lot, even more than in the real world. Games teache you how to focus on one thing and dive into it for a long period of time. Playing games has been a way for me to distract myself from the real world, but I never wanted to escape from it. In that way, the gaming process is close to reading or meditation. You must focus on a task and your attention span must be bigger than a few seconds or minutes, or even hours.

Unlike scrolling endless feed on Instagram or Twitter giving yourself small but constant dopamine shots, many games demand concentration and long-term thinking. A reward, like reaching a max level or getting an epic sword you always wanted, might be a few weeks or months away. And like in real life, if you give up during the process, you'll never get what you want.