Guest column - Life skills learned from computer games like Sims, FIFA, Grand Theft Auto & more by Emmy The Great
When she's not making Christmas albums with Ash's Tim Wheeler or recording her own latest record, God Of Loneliness which is out next week (7 May) Emmy is busy slicing up goblins or beating up gangsters. No that's not slang for some new release portal, but just an admission from the solo artist, real name Emma-Lee Moss, that she a big gamer. But it's not time wasted on the couch, video games provide valuable life lesson as Emmy herself explains in this guest column.
Once, when I was at university, my friend Will and I spent 48 hours locked in his room, playing The Sims on his Xbox 360. We went as far as to create a system where we could order food from the room downstairs and receive it through a pulley system between our windows. A lot of people said we were wasting our time. We were not. I didn't learn anything from the lectures I attended at University, but I am still very much making use of the life skills I picked up from playing The Sims.
Here is my personal guide to the many ways computer games have taught me to live:
I like to think of my life as having a happiness bar which is depleted whenever I need to pee really bad, or have spent too much time working. Whenever I am glum from being alone too long, I ask myself: is it time to score some social points? Playing The Sims is incredible for your relationships. Just like with people in 'real life', you have to win over the Sims around you with charm and generosity. If I ever get married, it will be because my Sim once spent several weeks building a romance with her neighbour, Derek. The only tragedy was that Derek was already living with Anya.
The Legend Of Zelda franchise
I completed one of the Zelda games on the Nintendo DS during a month long tour. In the Zelda universe you often have to find your way using weird maps that seem to defy all logic and space. TIP: usually there are two levels! That's why there are pathways on the map that you can't immediately see! Some time later I found myself on the Hong Kong subway system, trying to find my way to an exit that was apparently invisible. Suddenly the muscle memory from the Zelda tour kicked in. I scanned the room for a hidden stairway, took them down to the lower level, and cruised over to Exit B and out into the sweet Hong Kong smog.
Skyrim gave me the best Christmas of my life. The skills you learn from this game are as endless as the ways in which you can choose to navigate it, but some of them (alchemy, self healing) are not necessarily helpful in the real world. Things that are helpful include:
- It's better to run away than to fight a giant ice troll, or a correspondingly difficult situation.
- Sometimes it's nice to stop and pick flowers because then the game lasts longer.
- If you leave your companion up a mountain, you probably won't get him back.
My friend and I were lost in Hyde Park once, on the way to the Wireless Festival. No word of a lie, he suddenly realised he'd been lost there before, in The Getaway. We made it to Wireless Festival in the end.
From watching my brother play FIFA, I learned who Didier Drogba is. I also found out he won't sign to QPR. WTF? I also learned that even computer game FIFA needs goal line technology. Sort it out, real and computer game FIFA!
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Pretty sure this is where I first heard Hall & Oates. NB: You must never, ever do to a woman what you can do to them in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
In Sim City, your city is more successful if you fill it with schools and libraries. Clearly no one in the Coalition Government has ever played Sim City (a point that was actually made by the actor Samuel West in his 2011 speech to save libraries...).
Super Mario Brothers
Don't go with the taller, younger brother. He's a wild card.
No one has packed a removal van without a little help from Tetris.
I have still not unlocked the mystery as to why these birds are so angry.
Emmy The Great @Emmy_the_great Portrait Gabriel Bruce
For more on head to Emmythegreat.com.
10:11 AM | 02/05/2012
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