5 Unexpected Ways Gaming Can Enhance Real-Life Skills

There’s an invariable amount of knowledge to be had when you amass the thousands upon thousands of hours of gaming in a gamer’s life. For years, there have been a number of attempts, both successful and not, to brand forms of gaming as particularly educational and market them to kids, particularly those who have parents who are more stringent about the way their children spend their time in front of a computer or console. Here’s my short list of five skills that have been ingrained in me through gaming — mostly through indirect subsidiary parts of major franchise titles.

This list is presented by Ian Khadan at Black Nerd Problems.


How to Read a Map

Maps are a basic part of games across countless genres. Maps are used in games to relay landscape, resource, quest, story line and territorial claims among countless other variations that cater to what a game designer may feel necessary to convey to the gamer. Though there’s precedent for reading maps, particularly in urban areas, via Google Maps or something of the like, there aren’t many people I’ve met who can truly read a topographical map. Just consider you’re dropped into the middle of nowhere and you’re given nothing but a map of the immediate 10-mile radius around you. I don’t imagine there are many folks in both urban and suburban areas who can even locate where they are on that map given the context of the landscape, topography and direction they’re placed in. Through gaming, I’ve honed this skill solely because that’s exactly what many games do, they drop you in the middle of nowhere and you have to figure out the best route to loot, food or shelter. Many games even incorporate nature as a compass in that you can use the sun in game (because in-game time and the passage of it is synchronized with real-world time) to determine what direction you’re heading. Now I’m not saying that I’ve been transformed into some sort of survivor-man because of what I’ve learned about map reading via gaming, as I certainly am not about swallowing any bugs for small amounts of protein, but I can confidently say that if I’m dropped in the wild and I’ve got an accurate map of the area, I’m most certainly capable of finding the nearest Chinese food buffet.