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5 Important Skills For Life And Career We Learned From Playing Video Games Growing Up

Gamers can pick up valuable skills others are paying thousands of dollars in course fees for.


Today, the gaming industry is larger than the entire movie and music industries – combined and is respected as an important part of modern culture. In 2019, e-sports were added as one of the competitive events in the latest Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

There was a time when playing games in an arcade, LAN shop, or at home on a console or computer was seen as a feckless pursuit, suited for those who rather while away their time than do something “productive”.

However, as people who grew up playing computer and console games for enjoyment’s sake, there were plenty of life skills that we picked up then, that continue to be useful in our personal and professional lives, even until today.

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#1 Technical Computer Skills

Computer games are one of the most demanding applications out there. And if you want a smooth gaming experience, you’ll need to have a good understanding of concepts like hard disk space, RAM, graphics cards, display resolution, computer drivers, and networking latency.

And when computers crashed or performed poorly, we would need to methodically troubleshoot for the issue. Is it a hardware issue? Do we have the latest software installed? Is there some compatibility conflicts with other applications?

The more hardcore among us would remember hanging out around Sim Lim Square or Funan (the former IT mall) and pouring over price lists from multiple stores, and then haggling with the sales assistants for the best prices to stretch our precious dollars.

Even though technology has improved by leaps and bounds since then, the basic building blocks of computing hasn’t changed, and are still as useful today whether in the office or at home.

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#2 Copywriting

Even if you’re not a copywriter, the art of choosing the right set of limited words to convey your desired meaning, impression, and drive action is an invaluable skill that people pay thousands of dollars in courses for.

For those who played online games, text space is limited, and so is the attention of your readers. Communicating in games taught us to use period and theme appropriate terminology.

What combination of words would most eloquently convey the most biting taunts, without using prohibited words? How can we rally a dejected ragtag team to work together to turn the tide of battle in a few short sentences? And what can we say to negotiate the sale of an in-game item with terms that are in our favour?

Even though there were no real consequences, games were strict teachers. Poor copywriting meant your goals won’t be achieved, and you can’t hide behind metrics like ‘reach’ or ‘engagement’ to mask your incompetence.

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#3 Leading When You’re Not In-Charge

Whether you’re in a huge multi-national corporation, a mid-size SME, or working in a school project team, there will be times when you need to lead, without really having the authority to do so.

If you played online games, then this would be a familiar position to be in. Whether it is an online clan that you are a part of, or a temporary team situation that won’t last beyond the 5-minute game round, games don’t have extensive structures to reward co-operative actions or punish selfish or poor gameplay.

The leader, which sometimes isn’t formally defined, would need to use the right combination of text communication, in-game commands, and their own example to inspire co-operation and teamwork from their fellow players.

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#4 Resourcefulness And Planning Ahead

In games, not all rules are explicit, and there could be poorly-documented features, hidden secrets, and other content waiting to be unlocked. Whether by design or simply because of resource constraints, you can’t expect the game developers to spoon feed you and tell you exactly what you need to do.

If you see other plays with cool loot or a fancy skin, you at least know that the gear is out there, and it is up to you to learn how to find it.

In Singapore, perhaps you can say we have too much of a good thing. There are many schemes administered by various ministries and statutory boards. While the government agencies do their best to communicate the availability of these schemes, their limited budgets and time means that it is really up to the individual to be abreast of what might potentially be useful for them, and how best to utilise these.

Towards this end, regularly keeping up with the news, following the relevant government bodies’ websites and communication channels, and having a community of like-minded peers would be your best bet.

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#5 Mindset Of Welcoming Resistance And Difficulties

Ever played the first level of a game over and over again? It probably isn’t very fun after the first few iterations, isn’t it? Part of the excitement of games is that as you improve your understanding of the game mechanics and gain new abilities, the game grows with you by sending tougher opponents your way, and challenge you in new ways.

If you’re not meeting new and tougher tasks at work or in your business, it might be a sign that you’re not advancing into new frontiers, and that stagnation might be in your future if you don’t do something soon.

Conversely, games inculcate the mindset that if you’re encountering new enemies and levels, you’re going in the right direction, and a handsome payout in the form of loot is probably around the corner.

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Life And Work Lessons Are Everywhere – If We’re Open To Learning

There’s much we can learn from hobbies we’re involved in, including games. It would be advantageous to set aside time to explore these passions of ours. Who knows, inspiration and insight might just hit us when we least expect it.

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