It is reported that the global video gaming market cap now exceeds over $100 Billion. Despite what people say about violent video games and it’s impact on kids, I think video games actually trains us to be smarter and gives us skills to make strategic decisions that we may later use as leverage for that bigger paycheck. Driven on pure personal intuition and curiosity here are some of my thoughts on the matter.
Practice Makes Perfect- Did you know scientists have discovered that regular practice with Tetris could boost brain power?
As a kid growing up I was introduced to Tetris on the Macintosh 125k. As the years passed I saw my peers get into Sega, Dreamcast, Super Nintendo, and eventually the Sony Playstation, but I’ve always had an affinity to Tetris. Tetris was repetitive but different each time you played it. Every time you exceeded your high score you felt a sense of accomplishment while subconsciously learning patterns of your block placements a few steps ahead of the curve. I don’t consider myself a Tetris Master, but I’m not ashamed to say that I can out Tetris a lot of people.
Video games are now much more complicated since the early 90s, however, one thing still remains the same. One of the key ingredients in making a good video game is its replay-ability factor. A video game has to be good enough that you can play it over and over again without getting bored. It is in our natural instincts to seek a sense of accomplishment in our everyday lives. When we pull off a difficult combo, defeat the end game opponent, or achieve a higher score we feel a sense of accomplishment. Tetris for me was about getting that higher score and I’ve always sought to push it higher and higher.
What I discovered in myself while playing Tetris over the years is the fact that if you wanted to be great at the game you had to practice. I remember staying awake on school nights secretly playing this game until my eyes felt like burning fireballs. After years of training, grinding, and dedication I saw my own castle blast off for myself.
In life, if you want to beat something, you have to practice. Persistence, dedication, and practice will help you see your rewarding end game.
Hard Work Pays Off – Did you know $2 billion real world dollars are traded through in-game virtual goods each year?
Video games these days are all about big points. Go for the triple bonus point. Go for the multi-kill headshot 10x multiplier combo points. In general, if you pull off a hard feat in a video game you will earn bonus points. The more points you earn, the cooler you are. People love reward points. In fact, we love it so much that we took video game reward points and applied them to credit cards, frequent flyer miles, discount cards, and many others. We have made spending money into a game. Did you think crawling and collecting every hidden piece of treasure in a video game to accrue all of the points was just for fun? Guess again.
Video games teaches you to become detail oriented. A good video game player will hunt and scour every crevice of every level to collect hidden treasures to make sure they always have the best weapons and tools to defeat the game more easily. IRL (In Real Life – for those of you not familiar with the term…shame on you) people do the same thing. Read the fine print or risk missing something important that might jeopardize you from reaping the rewards that you well deserve. What sets the smart ones apart from the rest is the extra effort that they put in to make sure they didn’t miss anything. The best rewards have always resided in details and old fashioned hard work. It’s true in video games and it’s true IRL.
Conclusions – Did you know that the average number of hours spent playing online video games is 8 hours per week?
Video games are now everywhere. Even the most basic cell phones come pre-equipped with some type of game. While I was lucky to witness the rise of the internet, kids these days grow up with an iPhone in their hands. Visit any public place and you are sure to find at least someone burying their heads in phones. Ever feel awkward or nervous about a social situation? It is a perfect excuse to bury your head into your own phone. We rely on games more than just entertainment. We rely on games as a safety blanket and a way to falsely inflate our ego to measure our self worth against the world.
While companies strive to find clever ways to market to us, they are learning that there are inherent psychological values that can be derived by extrapolating the behaviors of hardcore video gamers. One day companies may reward us for being loyal to their products. Imagine a future where there is a computer chip inside your Colgate toothbrush that rewards you bonus points to redeem for their toothpaste for brushing your teeth the full 3 minutes as recommended by dentists. Imagine a future where your e-reader tracks your eye movements as you read a book to verify and reward you for fully reading and leaving an honest review.
The next time you play a video game, pay attention. It is not all fun and games.