Monday, 9 July 2012

How Video Games can improve your life

Personally speaking, I’m not as highly motivated to write as before.  And not because there aren’t many readers to read my “chef d’oeuvre” (yeah, I’m just another person who betrayed his country by learning a foreign language in my 11th and 12th. And no, I don’t care if French is spoken in Pondicherry, it’s still a foreign language! (And by the way, “chef d’oeuvre” means “masterpiece” (I think it means so. Help me out here, Manish!))).
Maybe I overdid those brackets? But Spell Check asked no questions (thankfully)! Anyway, I love writing, but I’m “distracted” from blogging by computer games these days. They are very fun to play, and the quality of video games has noticeably gone up in the recent past. Big bucks are spent into making bigger video games which have eye-catching graphics, compelling storylines, and really unique and fun gameplay. And then I asked myself “Video games are still kinda pointless. How do I convince people that I’m actually gaining something good by playing computer games?” And these were the answers I got. Now some of them are very tongue in cheek, and so, I beg you, don’t take this seriously, get addicted to playing games, and then have your parents lash at me when you quote from my blog post about their usefulness (as if you’d actually quote it. I know my readers wouldn’t dare to quote me!).
  • Just before I started to type this, I was playing a game. I got stuck at a really tough part, and I managed to succeed only after failing 30 times! Now, is that a way to develop your determination, or not?!
  • Video games improve your focus. Focus on the head, kill the guy with a headshot, and save a lotta bullets, instead of pumping 30-60 bullets on his leg! And when a one-hit kill is the incentive, who wouldn’t try to improve their focus?
  • Real life incident here. Manish and I decided to play Counter-Strike 1.6 at an internet centre near his place, and there were some kids not older than 12 who were already playing. We decided to join them, assuming we would have some fun with these kids by dominating them. The kids however were so good that they ended up killing us even when we had a “tactical”edge (not to mention finishing us before we could even see them. It was then that I realised the term “child soldier”). Video games teach you to be humble, because one day, you could take down your elite friend, only to be pwned by your baby sister! (By the way, click the word “pwned” for its meaning. Then thank me later.)
  • And the other thing I learnt from this incident. A “tactical edge” is an advantage that sounds great on paper, but fails on you and becomes your demise (literally). For example, you decide to take out a person from far away with a powerful sniper rifle, but you’re so busy scanning the horizons for your target, you realise he’s right behind you only after he finishes you. So, don’t revel in “tactical edges” in life, but be prepared for everything.
  • Never give up. Even when ten enemies surround you in a room, there’s always a way out. Well, that’s what grenades are for. Though you might have to do a suicide bombing… (Fun Fact: In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, this is actually a perk in multiplayer mode! It’s the ability to automatically pull the pin on a grenade when you die and kill your killer. It’s called “Makoto”.)
  • Video games are the only artistic medium in which YOU (yeah, you!) are the hero who saves the world! No matter what you do (be it collecting coins, shooting baddies, putting magic spells on evil dragons etc.) you somehow end up saving the world (since that is the ultimate goal of every game)! And that’s a good thing, right? I mean, I want to do more than just reduce my carbon footprint to save the world, so video games shall I play!
  • Narcissism: Even when you are a nerdy, puny little rat of a man, if you can finish that extremely tough game at extreme difficulty (yeah, video games even let you decide whether saving the world should be an ‘easy’, ‘medium’, ‘hard’ or ‘hardcore’ task) in one night, you have more bragging rights than that muscular, hunky sportsman who just came back with three Olympic medals!
  • It’s extreme fun, and lets you hate your friends so bad, you love them so much after it’s over. Didn’t get me? Neither did I, but let’s keep this between you and me *gives a wink that looks like a log just hit his eye*. However, what I meant to say was that, when you play together with a good friend (and by good, I mean, he just introduced you to an awesome game), both of you are just trying to murder each other in-game; when he blocks that awesome attack you tried on him, you curse his grandfather…when he unleashes a powerful attack that drains half your health, you dissect his dead body in your mind’s eye…when you lose, you throw the controller at the TV but it lands a foot before it due to terrible aim (adding insult to injury, the TV was only two feet away from you!), and what not. In the end, you and him smile at each other and recount the happy experience of playing together with words like “epic”, “pwned”, “epic pwned”, “awesome” and somehow, the conversation always ends with “Duuude, let’s do it again!” Ah, good times, good times…
  • Living your life’s most unreal dreams aren’t just possible with video games, but in reality, they seem to exist for the sole purpose of letting you be larger than life lets you. For example, tell me something cool you want to be and I’ll tell you what game to play! A violent terrorist? Then play Grand Theft Auto. A street racer with some tricked out cars? Need For Speed for you! A trained killer in the 15th century? Assassin’s Creed! A war hero who undertakes thrilling missions? Call of Duty! It all goes to say that video games are food for that part of your soul which still holds that wish you once had to be someone a lot cooler than you really are.
  • Games like RollerCoaster Tycoon and Age of Empires can teach you: How to manage an amusement park financially, and how to develop a civilisation that will manage itself with the required resources for thousands of years and continue to progress in spite of wars, scarcity, economic depression and many other terms that you can find only in commerce textbooks.
  • Problem-Solving and Research: Let’s face it. Video games aren’t simplistic mindless killing of hordes of bad guys for experience points. Sometimes, they feature puzzle solving elements as well. Like, if there is a certain enemy you can’t destroy without losing all your bullets. You will “solve the problem” by “researching” a cheat code for more ammo. If the game you play does not work, you can easily “solve the problem” by cracking the application using techniques you have “researched”.
  • It teaches you very important aspects of biology and the human anatomy. Falling down from a great height: Removes 60 health. Taking a painkiller: Gives 90 health. Bullet to the head: Instant Death. When you are nearing death: The screen turns red. When a dragon breathes fire on you: 15 health gets drained every second. Even modern medicine hasn’t calculated that exact an amount…
  • The more civilians you run over on the street in your fancy car, the larger the number of policemen chasing you. Yeah, you really need to know that…
  • How do you check if your internet works? You type in your browser and see if it loads. How do you check if your computer hardware is powerful enough to last you a few more years? You try the latest game on it and see if it runs at maximum graphics. From this, I learnt that I should change my graphics card, but only after three or so years, since it still has a lot of power.
  • Let’s face it. You’d rather play video games than study or work. And that’s all you need to know.

A lot of you may not be into video games (you poor sad people!) and so, you turn to “better” forms of entertainment like TV and movies. Well, I don’t mind that, and hope you don’t mind me blogging about this. If this inspires you to go get a Nintendo Wii©, I’d say “Cool! But get a Sony Playstation© or an Xbox 360© instead.” If this inspires you to brand me a “lazy freak without a social life who’d marry his computer”, I’d say “It’s a he! What made you think my computer was female?” *awkward pause*
Anyway, video games have turned from mindless entertainment into an art form, and maybe they won’t improve your life, but they sure do provide a lot of fun. And that’s that. (Hmm, that sentence sounds nice…maybe I should put it as a “sign off statement” from now on?)
And if you want to connect with me, or have your mother talk to me after she reads my blog, (yes, Booyaka 619! I’m looking at you!) I’d prefer you connect with me on Facebook because giving my contact details on a public space (be it a blog or a website or even your own Facebook profile) is a dumb idea, and renders the term “internet security” absolutely useless. And no, Booyaka 619, I’m not trying to “find your identity”, and spoil whatever secret mission you are on. I’m very concerned for the safety of my real identity, if you wish to know.

1 comment: