Jonty has been gaming since he can remember and has been active in online gaming communities for the last ten years.
Gaming and Learning
Often we consider gaming to be something we do to pass our free time. Some may even consider it a waste of time altogether. But after playing many games over the last two decades, I have found that there is so much more to gaming than just having fun. Whether your personal preference is single or multiplayer games, there is a lot you can learn from what you play.
Gaming offers us challenges in various forms and levels of difficulty. Going from learning the game, beating those challenges, and reaching our goal shows us how we go about problem-solving. Some may use Google searches looking for information or guides. While others might learn as they go, improvising and improving on themselves. This ability to adapt as we solve problems is a skill that can prove beneficial in real-life situations.
Now, you might be thinking about how solving a problem in a game can be similar to solving one in real life. The answer is in the tools we use to do it. For example, you might find yourself short on cash, and you need to figure out how to budget your income better. In gaming, this issue is often something you will face as you try to gain progression but are required to save resources for what you'd consider essentials. You learn to place value on things, budget, and figure out ways to be as efficient as possible.
Of course, this is a game, and doing something such as budgeting is a lot easier than doing it in real life. However, what you have learned from doing so in a game is no different than in real life. The skills are the same where it is applied, is the difference. Another example of problem-solving is learning where to get information. Just like using a library used to be the go-to, learning to use the internet for research can be incredibly useful.
With online gaming comes online communities. It can be a great way to make friends or meet new people who share a common goal. Many of these online games have some form of grouping like-minded people together, such as guilds. A great way to overcome challenges, form bonds, and have fun socializing all in one immersive package.
You might come to find yourself in a leadership position in one of these guilds at some point. That's when you'll need to sort out event times, participants, and rallying your guild behind you. The challenges involved aren't far from the real-life equivalent. More often than not, you won't be in such a position in real life due to a lack of experience or qualifications. But in online gaming, it's a lot easier to find yourself in a position of power, giving you the space to experiment with your leadership abilities or lack thereof.
I know from personal experience that I have found untapped leadership qualities that I never knew I possessed. I would often pass on taking responsibility for groups as I felt it would be too much of a burden (I like taking it easy sometimes!). Learning this about myself has given me a higher level of confidence to take charge of situations whenever I am needed to. The confidence we often need to bring order to the chaos we find ourselves in.
When it comes to making friends online, we don't judge them on the same level as we would in real life. You are more likely to befriend someone who shares a similar goal in-game, who is as capable as you are and is friendly toward you. There are some exceptions where people who enjoy causing others grief, and even each other sometimes, can form a bond. However, it's usually unhealthy and not a long-term relationship.
It may be easy for some to find groups of people they can socialize with. But for some like myself, it's rare to find people you'd want to spend time interacting with. The reasons can vary from individual to individual, but if your goal is to play with friends, making them is necessary. Getting over this hurdle, while difficult for some, can be very rewarding.
Appearing edgy, aloof, and cool might get you somewhere with making friends in real life. But online, you'll have a hard time making new friends if you are rude or too reserved. Giving you a reason to learn new ways to present yourself that will draw like-minded people toward you. A skill that can help you do the same thing in real life.
And let's not forget that it is possible to find someone you could be involved with romantically. While gaming is ever-changing, so too are its audiences. Finding people who might have similar quirks or hobbies that you find attractive isn't unheard of. However, how beneficial these long-distance relationships are can be tricky. Still, you might end up finding that special someone who you could end up being with. But my advice would be to not get into gaming looking for this sort of connection as it is still pretty rare.
While these are just a few ways that gaming can influence us more positively than just passing some free time. Naturally, there are negatives that you have to be careful of. We might like to think of gaming as some nerdy or pointless fun, but there is a lot to be learned and many skills to be honed in playing them. It just takes a little self-reflection to see some of the skills you might have picked up on.
As someone who plays games across all sorts of genres, I have found myself drawn towards storytelling and writing. Something I never knew I cared about until I spent time reflecting on my history of gaming. And that I can lead and be steadfast in confronting challenges I might face, virtually or not. Learning from my failures and improving on myself in gaming the same as I would in real life. All good skills to have that I am grateful to have learned through something I love, gaming.
My second article on this can be found here on HubPages: The Drawbacks of Gaming