Gaming My Way

06 Jan

Skills Developed By Gaming: Crisis Management and Patience

Sometimes people like to discuss benefits of gaming, which sometimes include skills developed by gaming. Common ones that I hear about are hand-eye coordination, spatial recognition, and reading better. We’ve heard about those quite a bit. Let’s talk about two others today: crisis management and patience.

Patience is probably the more obvious and no brainer selection of these two. If you play a challenging game, you’re going to lose. A lot. You’re going to need to try again, try new things, think about how to tackle the challenges the game throws at you from another perspective, and sometimes just practice until you get it right. This learning process requires patience, as any gamer who has dealt with this will attest. But hey, it’s a fun way to learn patience at least, and that can definitely take the edge off when you’re frustrated after dying for the 10,909,186th time. (It was Sekiro, alright?!)

Then, there’s crisis management. Dealing with too much stuff at once, so you feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. Inspired by recent Work to Game Ironman Deep Dungeon Challenge videos for Final Fantasy XIV, I decided I was going to start a Palace of the Dead ironman run myself. I’m playing a Dark Knight, since I still need to level it up, and normally everything runs nice and smooth.

Then I engage a monster. Another one wanders by and joins the fight. As I run out of an AOE, I step on a trap spawning five more monsters. Then another monster wanders in and joins the fray. So now I’m up to eight monsters on me, my health is dropping fast, and I reflexively panic.

I start by popping as many defensive cooldowns and healing items as I can. Then I spam all of my AOE killing off the weaker enemies. Then I remember a pomander of witching and desperately try to find it in my sea of pomanders. Now that everything is a chicken and hitting for way less damage, I finish spamming AOE to kill off the rest of the attackers. switching over to single target attacks when there are only a couple left standing.

Those of you familiar with Final Fantasy XIV in general, and Palace of the Dead in particular, will note a couple things about my above description very quickly: I did not play my way through it optimally, nor was it as bad of a situation as I made it out to be when describing it.

What can we learn from this? Well, first, not all crises are as bad as we make them out to be. This is not to minimize truly bad situations, only to point out that sometimes, when you have time to consider the situation as a whole, it’s actually not as bad as it seems. But even if this is the case, something can still feel and be really difficult to deal with as it’s happening.

Second, getting through a crisis situation doesn’t always require an optimal solution, but it does require tackling the challenges presented, often quickly, and as you eliminate specific issues then whatever is left to deal with becomes easier, until you are dealing with a single issue, which you then can resolve more calmly as the surrounding related issues have been dealt with.

Obviously, a difficult encounter in a video game is no where near the same level of stress and seriousness as an issue affecting you in life. I think that goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway since I’m sure some people will read that into my comparison here. But, the similarities are there, and learning to deal with overwhelm in a safe environment like a game can make dealing with overwhelm with real life issues easier to process when you have had a chance to practice dealing with those same feelings in a low stakes situation where it just doesn’t matter that much.

Although I don’t play games for what they teach me (I’m in it for the fun and joy they bring, naturally), it can be a fun or interesting exercise to think about what benefits can be there beyond the ones we commonly think about.

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