Life Lessons From Video Games

Life Lessons From Video Games

If you have been active on the internet in last 5 years or so and have played video games in 90’s you would know this great line / meme about Tetris below.

Like most of those who grew up in 90s, I too, was hooked onto video games for a good 4-5 years. Most of my childhood memories are of those afternoons trying to show off my game controller skills to my younger brother. We did not think enough about these games then, but lately I have been imagining this – If I were to draw life lessons from the games I played on my samurai 16 bit console, what would they be like?

So here are a few of those.

Super Mario Bros: When you think it’s over, it is just the beginning.

It was a never ending chase to save the princess, only to meet another challenge. Mario taught us persistence. No matter how close you get to your target, it is always moving. Your life is never about any ‘one’ goal. At every stage you may fix a target, but it is actually only a milestone. Anyone who played Mario knows this. Our poor plumber went to all possible worlds to save the princess (including a few underwater missions). He hopped over strange looking turtles, fought with hammer throwing monkeys and conquered forts after forts only to find a toad who turned out to be a mere messenger for the next mission. If that does not represent life, nothing can…

Here is a zoomed in version of that messenger’s signalling out the hidden message from life. (to a trained eye it looks like he is showing middle fingers)

Contra: You are only as good as your gun.

Two Rambo like men on mission made me believe I can actually convert my medals into my lives if I have the right mission. But most important thing was the gun. Almost everyone knew that if you have the right gun, you can finish them all. Sometimes in life we forget that we need to keep looking for that right arsenal to complete our missions. I mean we might know how to swim, crawl or even jump the burning bridges but that right type of gun can sail us right through.

Contra teaches us to keep looking for that ‘S’ powered gun which can kill enemies effectively. And also “never mess with that dude not wearing a shirt”.

Road Rash: If you don’t kick your competition aside, they will do it to you.

Sometimes it is tough to remain a kid after completing a video game. Road-Rash fed the little evil in all of us. We loved kicking and punching the bikers that tried to over take us. It was the biggest lesson on survival for a 10 year old me.

It is a bad-cruel world out there man.

Duck Hunt: Sometimes hunting is all about shooting in time.

Honestly I never understood this game. I shot my gun shaped controller pointed at the TV screen and it killed the duck. I still do not know how it works. Anyway, I knew one thing, if I spend too much time thinking and taking an aim, the birds fly off.

Duck Hunt taught me to be prompt and focussed. And I will be honest again, the only reason I became good at hunting ducks was because I could not bear the stupid dog laughing at me if I missed those ducks.

If you have any other lessons from the games let me know and I will add them here.

– Sachin