11 important life lessons we can all learn from video games
It's fair to say that a lot of us were born and raised on video games.
If you totalled up the precise number of hours you've spent rescuing kidnapped princesses, upgrading your armour, and hitting "RETRY", then it would probably be astronomical.
But despite what your granny says about staring at screens and square eyes, chances are you've picked up some pretty handy life lessons in all your years behind the joypad. Here are just a few...
1. Maps are your friend...
It's 2016, so you probably don't travel anywhere without the questionable instructions of an irritatingly confident sat nav. But video games have taught us that sitting down to really study a map can be fruitful.
Working out the best route and following it to your destination without missing any important locations is as rewarding in real life as it is in gaming. The only difference is that we're less likely to come across a treasure chest or pimped-out safehouse.
2. Sometimes you need to do a side quest before you're ready for the main test...
If you're playing an open-ended RPG, there's always the temptation to charge into the main storyline without properly buffing up your stats first. That approach can work for some people, but more often that not it ends with having your arse handed to you and a whole lot of "YOU DIED" screens.
Taking on side quests and honing your skills is the way to progress, and in life it's the same. Every time you do an odd job or run an errand you're levelling up. Remember that next time you get asked to pick up milk for the third time that week.
3. Always look out for your mates...
We'll admit it: trying to revive a downed ally in a Team Deathmatch will nearly always result in you having your head blown off too. But it pays to look out for your brothers-in-arms.
It's never fashionable to play as the medic in a game, but you can guarantee that you'll be the one everyone relies on when you are. You're indispensable, and the end-of-match score tables will reflect as much. Being that guy in real life can be a thankless task, so next time you have to sacrifice a night out to carry your puke-stained pal home from the pub, just imagine it unlocks an achievement.
4. Talk to everyone
Every character in a game, no matter how minor, usually has something worth saying. Sure, some of them just want your money or your prized possessions, but others could have some profound advice.
It's good to approach life with the idea that everyone is worth talking to, because you never know where a conversation could lead you until you initiate it.
5. Rage-quitting might seem like a good idea at the time, but you'll regret it later...
Many of us have been on the wrong end of a 6-0 mauling on Fifa and subsequently turned the console off in fury. When you're Barcelona and your superior 12-year-old opponent is Wigan Athletic, sometimes quitting midway through a match seems like the only way to save face.
But a gamer with a clean conscience knows they have to play to the final whistle and take the hit. Life is similar. It's all too easy to throw the towel in, but accepting defeat makes the victories that much sweeter when they come.
6. Don't blow all your cash at once...
Splurging all your in-game money at one over-priced merchant's stall is an easy trap to fall into. And what happens when you do that? You stroll into the next village and BAM, there's a better weapon at a lower price. Every time. Video games force you to think about budgeting, saving, and investing your cash - all important life skills.
7. Barrels explode
They do. Just stay well clear, yeah?
8. Battles with the boss are arduous, but with a little practise and pattern recognition you can beat anything...
Boss fights in games nearly always involve getting beaten up until you've figured out their weakness. Crack that, and it's just a case of exploiting it until they blow up in a cloud of smoke, leaving you with a pile of experience points and a big fat grin on your face.
Take this idea into the next row you have with your superior at work. We don't recommend challenging them to a sword fight, but if you're constantly hitting a brick wall, think of another way to approach the situation. Pattern recognition is key to bosses in games in the real world and in the gaming. It aways pays to know what them turning red means. There's always a route to victory.
9. Using the bed is always advisable...
When you see a bed in a game, it generally means you can use it and wake up with all your health restored. Sleep is your friend, in gaming and in life.
Neglect your all-important zzz's and your productivity will suffer for it. Plus, if you're randomly attacked by a monster while skulking through long grass - be it in a video game or in daily life - you're going to stand a much better chance if you've had a proper night's rest.
10. You're going to make mistakes, but the key is to learn from them...
How many times have you mistimed a jump in a Mario game and plunged to your immediate death? Countless times, almost certainly. How often have you picked a rooftop with absolutely zero cover as your sniping spot in Call Of Duty, only for a grenade to land on your back seconds later? It's happened. And when you plan the perfect stealth line only to immediately give your position away by forgetting to crouch? Yep, we've been there too. Learning from your errors is how you progress in games, and it's how you get ahead in life, too.