Video games get a bad rap.
Avid gamers get labeled by their peers as “losers” or “virgins” or any of many other colorful pejoratives.
We’re aware of the stereotype– the zit-faced middle-aged adult, one hand in the chip bag and another on the mouse, grinding away in a raid while tuning out the shouts of his disappointed mother upstairs.
The problem with the stereotype is it’s not only inaccurate. It’s downright unfair!
Video games are not only incredibly immersive, making it the ultimate hobby, but they also have helped us as gamers hone invaluable skills that add tremendous value in our everyday lives. It gets better. The skills we learn and develop through video game playing are directly translatable in our careers too
Bet you never thought about your favorite game as a tool for nurturing professional development.
Keep that tidbit handy for the next awkward family gathering when your Uncle Jack insinuates that your cousin is outshining you in every department.
It’s professional development, Jack! Lay off!
The ability to accept risk is the hallmark of an effective leader. Gamers are put in precarious situations all the time, and it’s up to us to make the best judgment call in real time.
It’s when you have 2 downed party members but ignore the Phoenix Down and go for the kill on Emerald Weapon instead.
It’s when your bloodstain is just past that section with the archers. Do you take your time and kill each one or try to make a mad dash?
It’s when you’re playing 4v4 Perfect Dark and you’re 2 kills from the W, but so is Josh and he’s headed into the fray with a Super Dragon while you’re rocking the Falcon 2.
Do you bolt for a better weapon and try to beat him to the punch, or do you go mano a mano and try to outgun someone with better firepower?
You need to weigh risk and reward, and you need to make a split second judgment that will determine the fate of the game.
That’s the kind of risk-taking employers love from their leaders. Whether you can write “project manager” on your resume or not, you have loads of experience all thanks to video games.
Games like Dark Souls are especially great at teaching patience because they punish you for hastiness.
Trying to facetank Darkeater Midir? “You died.” Seeing if you can out-poise Havel the Rock? “You died.” Running through Blighttown with no Purple Moss in stock? Oh, you will most certainly die.
Platformers give us a similar lesson. Sure, you can speedrun Super Mario World once you have the level layout memorized. Until then, leaping before you look is only going to leave you losing life after life on avoidable nonsense like jumping directly into a lava pit or running face first into a measly Goomba.
The best games challenge us to take a step back and assess what we’re going to do before simply charging in and hoping for the best. Through patience and strategic planning, we will overcome and succeed even up against impeccable odds.
What I’m saying is, yes– you will beat DoDonpachi if you stop weaving erratically and look at the bullet patterns for a second here. I mean, you’ll still die a lot, but you will succeed.
What is a job other than a place you’re supposed to show up at to handle other people’s problems all day?
Video games give you great practice at dealing with other people’s problems constantly, and you’re often rewarded with loot. Sounds kind of like a real job kind of situation, right?
That’s right. Go ahead and toss a coin to this Witcher right here.
Beyond quest lines and NPC side plots, there’s plenty of puzzles in most video games. Resident Evil, for instance, loves to fry your nerves before asking you to problem solve.
Just got spooked by Marguerite? Shut up and solve this light puzzle.
How about that cargo rig before fighting “It” in Resident Evil 4? Even if you know where to shoot, you’re on a timer and U-3 is trying to give you the most painful and aggressive French kiss ever, so you better be quick and you better not miss!
How about your first head-to-head with the head honcho, King Koopa himself– Bowser in Super Mario 64? You can’t punch him, can’t jump on him…
What can you do?
Well, Mario is much faster, and Bowser’s nubby little tail is so inviting to grab. It doesn’t take us long to realize we can scoop up the lizard and give him a swing and a toss at those conspicuously yellow bombs around the arena.
And there it is. Classic problem-solving in action. We apologize for the spoiler, but the game is nearing 30 years old. That’s like not knowing that Liquid Snake is…actually, never mind.
Gamers are well-practiced with problem-solving and puzzles. Games provide us a unique perspective that will add immediate value to organizations and teams of all kinds.
Use that exact phrase during your next interview and see how you fare. If you get the job, please send me a small stipend to celebrate and thank me.
I accept most forms of payment. Yes, even crypto.
4) Inventory Management
You’re on disc 3 about to head to the Northern Crater, but pump the brakes.
Do you have everything you need?
Did you grab any of the many ultimate weapons from different side quests? How about the notorious Knights of the Round Materia?
On a more simple level, do you have enough Potions and Phoenix Downs? Did you level your Materia enough to outfit your main crew?
A successful quest or video game venture is more than dumb luck. It takes strategic planning and vision and careful management of inventory and overhead.
You’re essentially managing the budget and assets of an organization. That’s exactly what a business needs from their managers.
5) Communication and Social Skills
We know what you’re thinking. Video games develop social skills? Video games– the quintessentially antisocial pastime?
If you’re trying to keep competitive in multiplayer giants like Fortnite, Apex, League, or Dota, you need everyone pulling their weight. Each member needs to know where to be, when to be there, and what to do.
Anyone who’s ever been on a great team knows it’s more than just skill and exceptional communication skills. It’s synergy and camaraderie too.
Even with a team of the greatest players on the face of the planet, it means nothing if you don’t know how to work together.
Among Us is another great example of communication skills in action. You’ll get especially great practice if you’re the Impostor and you need to keep the heat off you.
Say too much, you’re sus. Too little? Totally sus.
The skills translate directly for folks in the customer service field. Customer service reps are constantly caught in the middle between managing a customer’s frustration while dishing out canned company lines.
Sometimes, that’s a tricky spot when you know your company totally botched something and you’re supposed to sell it to someone like it was no one’s fault.
It’s a slippery slope to navigate, but you’ll have a leg up if you’re used to talking your way out of a sticky one.
Listen, we’re not saying you should expect to bypass every entry level job on the totem pole because you white-knuckled your way through the Contra series. Although, kudos to you. It’s definitely an achievement.
What we are saying is that video games provide us with lessons and skills that give us a great headstart on many of any great career paths. Gamers are quick-thinking and decisive, and we’re never known to shy away from a challenge.
Don’t let them push that antiquated, unfair gamer stereotype on you. Let’s debunk it together and get some hard-earned respect at long last!