It’s been 12 years since I played my first ever PC game. My dad had bought us PC way back in 1997 and it ran only DOS with some 64 mB of RAM. It wasn’t mean’t for us though. Me and my brother were little kids hopping around the machine hoping to figure out what it was and how it worked.
(without the CD drive)
After a few months, my uncle taught me a command which ran the only game on that PC – Prince. It was delight to see something moving on the screen at your command! The objective of the game was none of our business, we just wanted to see the Prince run around and fight.
Then came a few advanced ones like Dave 3 and our beloved Lion King. We were allowed to go to school on Saturdays and play in labs during the summer vacation. That was the period when we developed some ‘game sense’. The whole running and fighting was much more meaningful now. We had to keep our health green, we had to clear levels, we had to win. This same mindset was followed when we played on gaming consoles. Contra, Takken, Tanks, Street Fighter, Mario, Bomber Man, Circus – were all in our favourites list. Being the elder one, I got to play Mario and my brother was Luigi.
The gaming season continued for years till I reached 10th. Now was the turning point where playing games meant going against your parent’s wishes and not studying. Now was the time to study. I admit I was a little too engrossed in my own virtual world (quoting dad). Due to this habit, I just managed to scrape 90% in SSC. Not bad as some would say, but the additional percentages which I could have secured were paid as taxes to Diablo, Mortal Kombat and Counter Strike.
As of today, I have scored a lot of goals in FIFA, cruised through the streets of GTA, reversed the Sands of Time. I’m not a professional gamer nor can I say that I’m the best one around. Yet, my interest in that world has piqued every time I get my hands on a new set of games. Eventually I retrospected and wondered, where has this habit and virtual madness got me? What good has this done to me?
1. Anger management:
Hands down, this is the first point I would like to mention. When you play with people from across the globe, some are professionals and some are learners (noobs as the term is coined). Sometimes, these noobs manage to get under your skin so much that if the person was actually in vicinity, you would have sent him flying out the window. But you can’t do anything about it (except may be type a few cuss words and insult him which ruins the situation further). You have to gulp down that anger and keep yourself focussed on what is to come. He’s a learner and will eventually realize his own mistakes. There is absolutely zero intelligence in going all ballistic on him. You have to learn to work with the situation and do so with ice on your head.
2. Thinking on your feet:
Desperate situations require desperate actions. And in the gaming world, these situations arise every minute. You never know when a person with a machine gun with pop out of nowhere and plant all his bullets inside you. You have to be alert every step you take and be ready to take decisions in a fraction of a second. You have no time to stand in awe of the situation, you either do your thing properly or get kicked out by the leader. I have got kicked out a lot. Now I do the kicking. Give yourself some time and practice, your reflexes and decision making skills will take your miles ahead.
This trait is seen in almost every gamer I’ve met till date. They do not give up. They don’t care how dire the situation is. They don’t care if their team mates are falling into pieces. They keep walking steadily and with that inspiration, their team follows them to victory. The belief that you can win is much stronger than your skillset. Learning not to throw the white flag is a long gruelling process. You will face 100 lose before 1 sweet victory. Those loses, may be due to a weak team or due to your own faults. And do you give up? Hell NO!
4. Team work:
Not every game is GTA where you can hide 10 weapons in your pants and blast a helicopter out of the sky. Especially in MMORPGs, you are thrown into a team with players from another hemisphere and are required to play in coordination with them. You have never met them(and probably never will) and are expected to work as a team to achieve your objective. Sounds difficult as it is, gamers around the globe pull off this feat every single day and some do it effortlessly. How? Experience, practice and a genuine will to understand their team’s thought process.
5. How to let it go:
There will be no limit to the number of times you lose or get insulted. People may not be as understanding and mature as you are. There are assholes out there who bluntly play to insult others and seek please in doing so. You will meet such people once a while and may be it’s one of your bad days. Prepare yourself for the worst blasphemy. Initially, you will feel helpless and down. There will come a time when you realize that by reacting, you are fuelling the fire. You cannot change that person. But, what you can do is not to give a damn about his existence. You may lose or win the game, you may be insulted for a very small mistake by the whole team. But, does all this matter the next game? You can begin afresh. There’s no point in clouding your head with those moments. Never give them much importance and the next round you will own the game.
Gaming is good or bad depending on how you let it affect your life. You can cruise through impossibilities and be a winner if your perspective is right. If gaming is affecting your life too much, go for the shutdown button. Your lessons are waiting to be learnt on one turf or another.
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