Skills That I Learned from Video Games

Most older people would say, video games are for kids. Well, they are partly right way back when but it’s not necessarily the case today.

I grew up fascinated with video games when I saw my next-door neighbour playing Super Mario and other Nintendo staples. We live a simple life then and I never had a video game console or personal computer so I only experience it from afar. As I reached 10–12 years old, I was drawn into arcades where kids spend much of their lunch money playing Street Fighter and other fighting and side-scrolling games. In fact, I got so hooked that I even skipped class. I have to admit that it’s like an addiction that was difficult to get out of. Good thing, I overcame that urge and I was fortunate to get into a top high school and eventually moved on to university and got a degree.

Fast forward today, the video game industry is already a multi-billion-dollar industry. It has become more like an ecosystem that encompasses entertainment, movies, comic books, esports, and cosplays. In my case, there are specific skills that I learned from video games.

Graphics Design

I learned graphic design when I got hooked on making video game mods. The modding community is a specific niche where users create modifications of current and legacy games to expand the user experience or create an entirely new video game mode. Way back when some video games don’t have the option to let gamers put themselves into the game so someone develops tools to help users to extract game textures and replace them with their custom made graphics. That way, you will see games where custom characters run around or a sports team wearing a user-made jersey. I developed my graphic skills as I learned new tricks and techniques that I eventually used in my real-world career. Also, I ventured into other passions like my current Cebu historical photo and old Philippine newsreel colorisation projects.

Video Editing

I never thought that I would learn video editing after years of playing video games. I was impressed by old machinima videos of Counter-Strike and Half-Life (yeah, that was the OG before Fortnite and PUBG became the rage) where some users recreated scenes from movies using carefully choreographed gameplay. Doing cuts, sound design, and transitions have helped me create decent videos that I made through the years. It helped me a lot when I’m doing some motion graphics that I recently learned.

Programming (to a certain extent)

I am not really trained at programming but I learned syntaxes and codes through a lot of exploring and testing. When I played Paradox’s Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron, I went through the game’s scripts to create custom events and game conditions to the point that it helped me understand how codes operate. I soon applied when I started managing my website and blogs so that I can incorporate custom features and elements.

The Intangibles

Aside from these essential digital skills, there are intangible skills that I also gained after all those time playing first-person shooters, real-time strategy, and simulation games.

1. Risk-Taking — I learned the value of risk by knowing the pros and cons of every action that I take. Viewing the unknown gives me the bearing to overcome unforeseen challenges as it happens.

2. Patience and Perseverance — There are games that take a lot of time to finish so I have learned the art of the long game. It means, setting long-term goals and expectations to achieve that win.

3. Problem-Solving — Video games are puzzles to a certain degree. You have to unlock a certain stage to progress to the next level. Challenges vary from reflex to memorisation tests.

4. Strategy — Reaching the end of the game is all about strategy. It doesn’t matter if you play Mobile Legends or FIFA 21.

5. Concentration — It’s a core value in every video gamer whether you’re just a noob or a pro esport athlete. I learned not to get distracted by unnecessary side events to complete a mission.

6. Leadership — When I started playing multiplayer games, I developed leadership skills to lead different players with diverse backgrounds to one common goal — victory at all cost.

7. Social Skills — Video games are no longer just a one-player affair. More and more people go online to play against or with another person from the other side of the world.

8. Critical Thinking — Many video games have puzzles, quests, and even Easter eggs to discover and unlocked. You learned detective-like skills to reach the final boss like Link on the Legend of Zelda.

9. Pattern Recognition — Finding key patterns in games are the best way to find that exploit to overcome challenges. That is the key to winning.

10. Multi-Tasking — An essential skill in the digital world, I have learned to multi-task so I can do a lot of things at the same time.

I have to say that I don’t consider myself an expert in these areas but I do believe that there is always room for continuous learning. Video games are not just about fun and games, you have to adapt and adjust in order to become better at a lot of things. I wouldn’t be here right now if I haven’t learned all these skills that I never learned in university.

How about you, what are the skills you have learned from an unlikeliest hobby or passion?

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Historian, blogger, genealogist, copywriter & video game geek. Check out my bio at bio.link/jpcanonigo.

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J.P. Canonigo

Historian, blogger, genealogist, copywriter & video game geek. Check out my bio at bio.link/jpcanonigo.