From a young age we are taught lots of very important lessons in life such as: ‘eat those vegetables’, ‘be kind to others’ and ‘stop putting your brother in the bin Robert!’
These lessons guide us into being the mature adults we pretend to be today. However, as soon as we we turn our consoles on or fire up our PCs, we let the façade fall and slip back into our childish selves. Here are the eight life lessons we ignore when we are gaming.
Remember to Share
One of the first things we’re all taught as toddlers is to share our things. In fact, my brother’s earliest memory is of me punching him for stealing my building block. We are constantly told to temper our desires and be generous as that is the right thing to do.
However, video games ruin our resilience and tempt to us given in to our selfish nature when we are playing them. Whether you are stealing and smashing pots in any Legend of Zelda game or taking all of the supplies from a settlement in Fallout, when we see loot we want it and we want it all to ourselves. Even when we are playing with other humans we want to keep the best equipment for ourselves. Whether it is secretly stashing items away in World of Warcraft or just rushing for all of the treasure in Divinity: Original Sin, we have all had moments where we have forgotten to share.
Always Tell The Truth
Somewhat simultaneously forgotten is our tendency to tell the truth. Your ma always told you never to lie, but sometimes, just sometimes, scenario we often have to push the truth to the side and instead deliver our best porky pies to get the outcome we want in a videogame. The most common lie is the one we tell ourselves:‘one more turn, then I’ll turn it off.’
In fact, some games actively punish you for telling the truth. Telltale Games’ titles in particular make you question if the truth is ever the best course of action. Lee Everett in the The Walking Dead needs his gang of survivors to trust him for his and Clementine’s sake. How is he supposed to do that if they know that he is a convicted murderer? Forget what your mum taught you; it is much better to lie.
Never Give Up
It’s half time and you’re 5-0 down after a terrible start to the match. You pull up the Fifa start menu and hover over the exit game option. In your head you picture the scene. You start the second half well with an early goal or two, with a dogged defence working hard to beat out any counter-attacks. They hit the post after a solid flowing move, allowing you to break and pull it back to 5-3 before getting another shortly after. It is the dying embers of the game and you are given a penalty to equalise. You run up to the spot, draw your breath and shoot. You miss. That is the best outcome you could hope for and you still lost — might as well exit the game at half time.
Many games are lost before the game even knows it. You could be completely smashed in Hearthstone with a table full of enemy creatures with an opponent that is keeping you alive just to torture you. It’s not worth it! Concede and throw your towel in, you can just start a new game, and everything will be better next time around.
Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes
Have you played Dota 2 and made a mistake? I haven’t – I am too scared to play it – but I have heard the tales of those who have. The merciless cries of those who are judging your every move and every decision. This harrowing judgement isn’t contained to Dota 2 though; every single competitive video game has its class of self-proclaimed experts that are willing to shout you down for any little mistake.
Maybe they have a point. The hours people have spent perfecting their craft for you to go and bugger it all up makes them understandably infuriated. It’s no wonder they take it to heart as it is normally the only thing in life that matters to them. So be afraid, be very afraid.
Manners Maketh The Man (or Woman!)
We have all delivered our fair share of obscenities when things haven’t gone our way. ‘Why did the AI do that? That is so $*@”^& stupid!’ you may say before slamming your mouse in rage. Swearing and other foul language is simply a given in the realms of video games — and there’s not much time for pleasantries when the opposing team are rushing B.
Some people take this a step further and allow their inner child to make all worse slurs imaginable. In fact I’m pretty sure many of them are kids on Xbox Live. You know the ones — they are identified by their squeaking voices that make loads of insightful comments about your mother, of which I doubt even half are true.
Don’t Play in Traffic
This life lesson is a practical one. Don’t play in traffic! Cars are tonnes of metal flying around at silly miles per hour, if one to were to hit you, you’d be spread like a lump of strawberry jam.” Those are the words I remembered when I was a kid. However, once I played Grand Theft Auto I realised I wouldn’t be spread like jam but instead I would be flung around like a rag doll, graciously flying through the air.
Some of the best moments in gaming come from playing in traffic, such as creating lawsuits in Saints Row after flinging yourself deliberately in harm’s way of vehicles; creating the biggest crash you could in Burnout and actually planning traffic in SimCity or Cities: Skylines. These games go to prove that this life lesson was a bunch of nonsense.
Don’t Be a Sore Loser (or winner)
It was lag. My internet connection is shit. That gun is overpowered. You only won because you spammed that combo.
Take your pick of those sore loser clichés. They work for fighting games, FPS games and every other genre besides. We spend our lives gaming and sometimes we lose and our pride can’t take that fact. Luckily, there are a plethora of excuses waiting for us to save our face. The only downside is we will end up looking like a sore loser. But who the hell cares? They were probably cheating anyway.
Cheaters never prosper
If cheaters never prosper, then how comes my bazooka-wielding, car-driving maniac has devastated your stone age village? Thank you bigdaddy in Age of Empires! Cheats may be despised in sports for all the right reasons; the unfair treatment of each other ruins the integrity and value of the sport. In-game cheats, however, are the best.
From giving us all the extra resources we needed to crush our opposition to just making our head really big, cheats make us smile. And ultimately, isn’t that the point of games and indeed life? In that case, it must be the case that we do prosper when we cheat… in video games, at least. I would rather be a arsenal wielding, big-headed goliath than a sad Niko Bellic with a baseball bat any day.