What we can learn from video games for our life

Philipp Langheinrich

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Most people are just thinking of video games as an entertainment or even a stupid time keeper. But what if I tell you that there is much more in video games and you can actually learn much for your life playing them?

The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time is my favorite video game of all time. I’ve played it the day it was published and since then I’m paying it at least once a year. You playing as the little boy called Link (or the name you give him) and starting of in a little village in the forests. Your destiny is to save the world and all you got is a sword, a shield, your own fairy and a horse. So tell me, how are you be supposed to rescue mankind if you’re just a little boy with this lousy items and an annoying fairy which want you to listen to her all the time?

YouTube / Doctor9 Raccoon – via Iframely

 

It’s all about Courage.

On the journey through the land of Hyrule you will here about some elder stories of goddesses and the triforce. As the name suggest this triforce is build of three pieces: Power. Wisdom. Courage. The villian in the game named Ganondorf is the owner of the Power piece. The princess of Hyrule, Zelda, has got the one of the Wisdom. And as you discover later in the game you are the one with the Courage. Sorry for the spoiler if you haven’t played it yet.

In the end of the game you will face Ganondorf with the help of princess Zelda and hopefully if you’re good or just try hard enough you will defeat him. Wisdom and Courage has beaten pure Power. Just think about this simple triangle. During the adventure, which can take up to hours or even days spending in front of your TV, you discover more and more and you will learn that courage is all you ever needed in live.

The courage to talk to other people as they give you important advice or even trade something to you which you will need later. Often kids are afraid to talk to foreign people or even to ask someone they know because they are afraid of the answer.

The courage to explore every single angle of the world and going behind the line of comfort to be sure you left nothing out on your journey and you’re fully capable of everything you could have found there.

Even if it sounds paradox that a video game could encourage kids to go out and play in the trees or in a park, this had me always to try to find new exciting places in my neighborhood.

The courage to stand up to the bigger ones like Ganondorf. Link is just a kid, Ganon an evil being of unknown age. Would you stand up to that? It may help kids to stand up against their bullies in school.

Courage is very important in a kids further life.

Helping people will always lead to a benefit

As mentioned before talking to people and listen to their stories and requests can give you the piece of information you needed. But every time you listen to a citizen in the game keep your ears open if they’re needing help. Because helping this people with their problems may give you a benefit you don’t want to miss further one. Bringing back all the chickens may provides you with a bottle (doesn’t sound that important but a bottle full of life elixir can save your life during a boss fight). Someone else give you something like a mask which you can trade to another person and this chain reaction often gives you a massive outcome. But be careful with those chickens.

So this shows children to help each other with problems and listen carefully to someone because not every request is said directly.

Helping other People in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Photo Credit Wasfi Akab (Flickr)
Helping other People in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Photo Credit Wasfi Akab (Flickr)

Mario the plumber

The Legend of Zelda isn’t the only game from which you can learn important life lessons.

I guess everyone knows Super Mario and most of you will also know that he is normally a plumber if he’s not rescuing princess Peach from the giant spiky turtle Bowser. So tell me what is your plumber doing after work?

It’s not all about who you are or what you are doing normally. If it comes to the one situation in your life where you need to leave everything behind even your own brother (sorry Luigi!) just do it and rescue that princess. And even if you are small or tiny it doesn’t matter. Just believe in you as the player believes in Mario. I’m not saying this in a sarcastic way that you should go out, eat some mushrooms like Mario and you can shoot fire balls or fly (some texts about what you can learn from video games are about this site of the perspective). I’m trying to tell you that you should keep eye on your personal goals in life and head straight towards them. It doesn’t matter how often you will hear the phrase “your princess is in another castle” or something like that. Mario keeps going to the next one. Just don’t give up. And even if you fail once, you have already achieved something. As you may start back in world 5-1 if you die in world 5-4 in the Mario games, you are still in world 5! Just remind yourself that this already an achievement.

Super Mario - Photo Credit Tom Newby (Flickr)
Super Mario – Photo Credit Tom Newby (Flickr)

Some of you may say now “Hey Philipp, this is all just your own view on video games, its bullshit.”

I say “Nah.”

Researchers have been working on this topic for years.

The American Psychological Association have published multiple articles about how video games may help children to gain problem-solving skills or improve memory. Even playing “violent” video games like Counter Strike may improve reactions and skills working in a team. All in all video games open up a social part for children as they likely talk with others about the newest games or their favorite ones.

Parents.com have published an article about the benefits of video games for children in which they list these things along with further benefits.

Lifehack.org also describes similar things in this article. As they describing situations from other games than me, there are even more we can learn from video games. Maybe even you learn the other site of the medallion as you shouldn’t be too trusty to strangers. Just keep your eyes open out there and decide for yourself who you trust and who you going to help.

Friendship is magic.

I hoped you didn’t stopped reading here because of the My little Pony headline. It’s not about colored horses, I wanted to talk about Pokemon. Maybe it sounds even more strange. But I’m talking about things we can learn from video games and from Pokemon you can definitely learn a very important thing for your live: friendship. Your Pokemons like you when you treat them right and you will benefit from it as they grow even stronger than. And nearly every villain in each game lacks of friendship to his little fellows. Yeah, okay, I know a Gyarados isn’t a “little” fellow. But That’s why you gonna kick his ass in the end. The whole story is about the bound between you and your friends. Just keep this in mind. I’ve take care of many friendships the past 10 years and I don’t want to miss one of my friends. As they grow stronger, I’m doing so as well.

Ash and his Pokemon Friends - Photo Credit Flickr S3ISOR
Ash and his Pokemon Friends – Photo Credit Flickr S3ISOR

So this is not just a quick advertise for Nintendo as all the games mentioned before are made by them. I just grew up with all the Nintendo consoles. But there is more.

Video games can relieve stress.

As you can read in this article video games also helps to relieve stress. I know many people who have stressful and bad days at work. When they come home they don’t want to talk about anything, just be alone and play a little bit on the Playstation or their PCs, maybe they play online against others. It is to help to slow down, to fade everything else out and getting relaxed. I’m doing it this way either and my girlfriend understands it. It is an important part of my day. Don’t underestimate this fact in ones life.

There are many more things we can learn from video games. If you can’t solve a problem maybe you should look at it from another angle and many more. You can tell me what you’ve learned from video games in the comments.

And in the end I’ve got a heart melting article for you in which a young mother describes how hear handicapped daughter has learned to talk because of video games.

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Philipp Langheinrich