They say every day is a school day, and that life permeates with a suggestive series of obstacles, specifically designed to increase ones knowledge and further advancing our intellectual capabilities, sadly these unavoidable events don’t always culminate in denser wisdom, with the intended results seemingly lost in translation. When you’re young your almost purely driven by instinct, stupidity and sugar; you learn very quickly that dogs bite, cats scratch, licking a battery initiates periodic, facial spasms. Sitting on a skateboard whilst accelerating down a steep hill is thrilling, but slowing down when you’ve reached the required destination is painful, and that you should never aggravate your Aunt, because she will pursue you round the garden in a comical fashion befitting of any Benny Hill sketch, attempting to impale you with her knitting needle, which still contains the twisted remnants of a repulsive scarf, which will likely make a miraculous recuperation, and unwanted gift for you over the Christmas period.
We learn through the variety of mistakes we make, and that it’s beneficial to attain these lessons young to maintain greater significance when we get older. It’s rather satisfying to still harbour the desire to expand on knowledge already accumulated and more importantly, that games are a beneficial tutor from which to acquire information. I’m not suggesting that the entire education system should be reshaped around the unique teachings of video games (cool as it sounds), but it’s more the delicate influence’s that certain games proclaim. For instance, after surviving Drakes escapades in Uncharted, I became strangely curious about the many historical figures and places documented in the games- Marco Polo, Sir Francis Drake, El Dorado, Shangri-La, if only history was this absorbing in school, I might have achieved more than a D in my GCSE’s!
The transition from the virtual world to the research books is seamless, which never feels like a forced proposition, and the notion of attaining further historical attainment after your efforts, although not directly instigated by the game, does have a profound affect. I recall watching some generic game show where a contestant was asked “In Greek mythology, Cerberus is said to have been a three-headed what?. And without hesitation I instantly bellowed “DOG!” to the absolute terror of one fearful friend, surprise of the others, and I would like to believe the delight of the collective group. Upon being asked how I knew the answer to this seemingly incomprehensible question, I smugly replied “Devil May Cry”. This led to the looks of suspicion and obligatory glares of bewilderment. But I just sat back, swirling my beer like a self-satisfied entrepreneur, basking in the enlightening glory that a game taught me this. It was a moral victory for myself, the game and the credibility and general integrity of an industry often blamed for encouraging impressionable, and apparently moronic kids; as well as instigating the war in Iraq, financing terrorist organisations across the globe, the financial crisis, cancer, talent shows and dyslexia. But now I can finally stick one honourable middle finger, up at the ignorant fools who collectively scoff at us, and affirm proudly, that they are wrong very! Wait, what?
Let me know what games have taught you?