Weekend Question: Have you learned a real-world skill from a game?

PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week's question is: Have you learned a real-world skill from a game?

Did Euro Truck Simulator 2 improve your reverse trailer-parking? Can you build a PC thanks to PC Building Simulator, rattle off the NATO phonetic alphabet thanks to Arma, understand orbital mechanics thanks to Kerbal Space Program, or play mahjong thanks to Yakuza's minigame? Maybe you learned about actual programming from a Zachtronics game, in which case you're better at them than me.
I'm good at problem-solving and making stories and I believe some of that comes from countless hours solving puzzles in point & click games and being able to really delve into the lore of different games.

I have good eye-hand coordination with solid reflexes from countless hours in FPS games. It has definitely helped me in different sports, not to mention having better situational awareness overall.

I have no problem with public speaking. I'll produce a text and tell it to whomever without any problems, and bits of that trait I believe come from times in TeamSpeak and similar channels with different roles in MMO games, obviously with the motivational push from a friend or two.

Playing games has also made me more interested in audio/video editing, even if I have not gone as far as making any machinima video or similar. I am thinking of streaming though, so in that sense, gaming has opened a new way/idea for me to both play and perhaps also earn a living from doing it in the long term.

A more lust for learning I would most definitely say gaming has thought me. Right now I am playing Assasin Creed Valhalla (day 1) and I am looking forward to jumping on the educational section of the game and learning more from my own heritage as the game is set in Norway.

The great joy of playing with my nephews is one of the biggest ones and being able to educate them on how to play from the early age of maybe 6-7 years old and also learning from them while following their road to adulthood.

There is so much more I could have added. Seriously, I could probably write a book about just what gaming has done to my upbringing and how it still affects me deeply. The learning aspect and with it its skills are always evolving in that sense.
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I've learned most of my English from video games. I started playing very young, so my brother had to translate for me a lot. He's always been fascinated by language, so he was a great teacher and video games were a great motivator to learn.

See also these related threads:

I learned how to secure a field and defuse bombs from playing Minesweeper. I also learned how to negotiate peace treaties between kings and queens of various nations and implement prisoner exchanges, by playing solitaire.

But come to think of it, I guess Solitaire is really kind of racist. You take a deck that is full of diversity and work as hard as you can to segregate the various suits/races back to where they supposedly belong.
Doorkickers. The one game that made me actually go on the web and learn CQB tactics by swat teams. Namely breaching and entering and how to clear rooms etc. Ok, it was more a quick 30-1hr read on some website, but it was insightful and certainly something i tried to incorporate into the game itself and some other games. Didn't stop my team becoming swiss cheese in some missions though.


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This probably won't be the answer that was precisely intended by the Author of the question, but I actually learned from games how scripts in programming work. Many years ago I was a creator of maps for the first Starcraft and Operation Flashpoint (ARMA: Cold War Assault).

When I started my journey with modding, I had exactly no knowledge how the games work. I was dreaming about creating my own content, so started tackling with the editor for Starcraft 1. Step by step and thanks to the work of other modders I started to reverse engineer existing maps. This gave me an understanding that to make some action you need to assign them conditions and voila! The hardest thing to understand in making new maps became a piece of cake!

With Operation Flashpoint it was even more interesting. There's no way you can open existing developer made campaign maps without some serious tackling and I desperately needed to figure out scripts commands used in some of them. What did I do? I opened the campaign file in Notepad. Among some standard gibberish that you get when you open such files this way, there were beautiful fragments of standard text and among other this were the scripts that I was looking for. Now I just needed to scroll to the desired mission and find the script I was looking for or just automatically search the file, when I had some suspicions about the correct words that were used in it.

All in all this experience gave me a lot of knowledge about gaming editors. Although I never made a step forward and didn't start to play with something more powerful (like Creation Kit for Bethesda games for example), I still have some plans to make use of the things I learnt this way.
May 11, 2022
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I learned english from video games for SURE.

Also how to back a trailer up from Snowrunner. I was moving a friend and we rented a trailer and I did not give it a second thought and then I backed it up right to the door in a single go and only then did I think to myself WAIT A MINUTE, I CAN BACK A TRAILER.
Interesting comment by interviewee Thomas Geffroyd of Ubisoft at the end of this article about Watch Dogs:

"we did some post-launch studies and quantitative analysis of gamers. We had some number of players, around 60 percent, saying that their point of view about technology, and their own behaviors around using technology, was altered by their experience playing Watch Dogs"

That sounds like a very positive development.
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