I want to speak frankly. Video games are beautiful tools for understanding life.
They can make us see different perspectives, they can make us feel powerful things, and they can make us find pleasure in achieving and being better than we were before.
Every gamer could tell you something impactful that video games have done for them, even if they may not know it yet.
Let me tell you mine.
Getting Outside (Yourself)
No, I am not talking about outside exercise. Sorry parents, if you were hoping for a good encouragement to get outside once in a while, this isn’t it. My parents were on my case about that a lot.
When I was little, my friends always had more video games than me. They also had a lot of different ones than me, too. When I was a kid, this was a bit of a sore fact for me, but growing up, I realized a really potent lesson.
Through frequent visits to my friends, I got to partake in adventures and stories I couldn’t touch at home. Through my friends, I broadened my video game horizons and got to have fun in ways I couldn’t do by myself.
These video games weren’t just different from my video games. They were my friend’s video games, and through them, I strengthened the relationship I had with those friends, past, and present. We explored together, fought together, and learned together.
Video games weren’t just what connected us, but they gave us different perspectives too. We all were doing our own thing, and video games let us share that thing with the rest of us.
Rising to the Occasion
Video games are, in essence, power fantasies. Like all forms of media, they allow you to transcend the real world and explore something fantastical. The edge that video games have over other forms of media is how involved you truly are.
We aren’t watching a hero in video games; we are the hero. Our actions have a direct impact on whether the hero triumphs or fails. Our movements explore the world, and we set the pace for how we explore and act.
There is much in life that requires initiative. From school homework to work deadlines, there are always things that need doing and priorities that need taking. Video games give us similar challenges and teach us ways to tackle them.
This goes far beyond the mundane as well. While everyone walks away with a different meaning and level of feeling, I think most gamers agree that you can often walk away from video games feeling a sense of accomplishment for something great.
Maybe that little taste of being a hero can spark something truly great even outside the game. I have found that I started to see my own goals and experiences as objectives. I began to see other people as the heroes of their own games, and sometimes we can play cooperative and win together.
We can all use a little inspiration to be the hero of our own story from time to time. What better way than with our digital accomplishments of another hero story?
The Little Things
Video games have a thousand wonderful moments. They may be the thrill of a victory or the quiet and comforting connection between two fictional characters.
The thing I find most potent during a video game are the details: the little soundtrack moments during an important scene, the beautiful design, and aesthetic of the setting and scenery, the little quips and dialogues from NPCs that make them feel so real.
All of these moments can give you a really powerful appreciation for the little things.
I have lost count of the many times I have stopped in a video game to listen to the music play out and watch the setting sit there and exist. Because of this, I often do the same in real life, catch myself in the middle of a beautiful and quiet moment, and just take it all in.
It doesn’t have to be the quiet moments either. The victory music, the funny character dialogue, that weird glitch in the code that does something silly and makes you laugh.
We as gamers, I think, recognize these moments even if we don’t consciously acknowledge them all the time. They are little moments that ingrain themselves in us.
Look at any group of fans. They talk about all those little moments, from their favorite dialogue, their favorite character said to that really intense moment that caught everyone’s breath in their throats.
We all bond over those little moments.
A Bit of Closure
Endings aren’t always an easy thing. They can be a rewarding mark for all our efforts prior, but they can also be a bittersweet closing on an adventure we wanted to lose ourselves in all over again.
I have never really been good with endings to things. I must admit, I am the sentimental type, so I prefer to experience an adventure as long as I can.
Video games give you a real attachment to an ending. After all, your very actions made it end. Movies you watch, books you just read, but video games you actively play. You weren’t passive at all; you have earned that ending.
Even simple endings such as victory screens at the end of a match or level come with a sense of accomplishment.
Gamers understand that our actions brought it all to an end. It gives a level of pride to know that you brought the journey, your journey, to a final stop. You have a sense of control.
It gives real life a bit more weight. You start to appreciate the actions you’ve taken to bring closure to a part of your life.
Video games can teach you so much as they have taught me. They can teach you to embrace and love the wide varieties of friendship, push you to self-betterment, show you an appreciation for the small moments and little things, and help you feel accomplishment over a good ending.4