Ever since I got my hands on a grey Gameboy as a kid, I've fallen more and more in love with video games. Not only do I appreciate the time and effort that is put into a game, but the hidden meanings that you can find in some of today's most popular games. Unfortunately, many of the positive qualities a game can have are overlooked by a majority of the public, who often end up focusing on the violent and morbid themes a game might have.
However, there are two things most of us do not realize - one, most of us have been gamers at some point, whether it be having a Sega or Nintendo 64 when we were younger or simply going to arcades to play driving games or shooting simulators. And two, if you play a game long enough you might realize there are plenty of life-lessons and abilities to learn through playing them.
These are some of the games that have not only entertained me, but taught me things about myself and life.
1. L.A. Noire taught me how to read people. When I first started playing as Phelps, the war-veteran gone detective from the 1940s, I was terrible at deciding whether or not someone was telling the truth during interrogations. After a while however I got better at it, noticing tiny nuances in a character's face, the way they would talk, their reactions afterwards. In life, it's important to notice these things. Your friends might not be who they are, and even if they're not lying, a weakness in most humans is the reluctance of always telling the truth. Pay close attention to the people you fill your life with - having the ability to read people's faces will come in handy at some point in your life.
2. Mario Party taught me that life isn't always fair. People might get ahead of you undeserving or get better results than you, even if you pretty much did the same thing. This is particularly important to remember when it comes to school or university - there is always that one person that gets a better grade than you, even if you work just as hard or even harder than him/her. Life is unfair, and sometimes the wrong people get ahead of those who actually are more deserving. Coincidences and pure luck might get people ahead of you, just like in Mario Party, but when you accept that life isn't always fair, and you stop measuring your achievements to those of your peers/friends/co-workers, chances are you'll be a happier person - even if you're not number one. Give yourself credit for your hard work, and if you end up at the bottom of the ranks, don't be a sore loser and know that you'll almost always get a second chance - unless your friends are tired of playing Mario Party that is.
3. The Last of Us taught me about the importance of love. As Joel fought to keep Ellie alive and safe, Ellie took care of Joel when he was ill. It's important to keep reminding yourself that love comes in different forms, all equally as important - the love two people share, the love between family members, love shared between friends and the love one should have for the human race in general - and animals, for that matter. What is often forgotten is the love you should have for the people you don't know. "Love thy neighbour" - and remind yourself of it every day. Spending less time hating or getting annoyed with people around you will make your daily life so much easier. And love should always be a priority in life - it's not until you lose it that you realise how much your happiness relied on it.
4. Battlefield 4 taught me about tactics. When I first played it I was dreadful, and didn't understand how players became so good at it. To me, timing and good luck seemed to be the recipe of success - that, and big weapons. It wasn't until I watched my boyfriend play that I realised that without thinking tactically throughout the game, the weapons or timing wouldn't matter. Where should you hide? Where would you be able to run away? Is your team close to you? Where would it be likely the other team would be? After a few hours of playing, despite being rubbish at acting quick enough whenever I would face an enemy, I had learned that thinking strategically made the game easier - that, and that I should never try flying helicopters. Seriously, they’re impossible.
5. Bioshock Infinite taught me to not believe in everything I see. A beautiful exterior doesn't mean a beautiful interior. Looks can be deceiving, just like the look of Columbia in Bioshock Infinite. I remember the first time I played it and saw the floating city for the first time. It was glittering, beautiful. But then came the nationalism, racism and other dark themes that linger under the surface of Bioshock Infinite. Just like in life, it's important to question things and never trust someone or something based on their appearance. Remember that nothing, whether it be people or places, show everything. There is always a back alley in a beautiful city.
Read Part 2 here.