So here are two different serious gamers, Antoine 24 years old and Andrew 20 years old, they were asked the same questions. Sometimes they had similar answers, other times they didn’t, either way they both seemed to have great insights to the whole “gaming concept”.
Do you find gaming a waste of time? Why or why not?
Antoine: Gaming is a waste of time as much as sports, music, movies and other hobbies are a waste of time. We live in an age where games are a form of art. Older people might find games to be useless because they are not used to that form of entertainment, like older generations used to say about the television, and the radio before that. And we all know how that went.
Andrew: It depends on the game and how much you play it. Gaming is only a waste of time if you let it be. If gaming is all you think about when not gaming, and you’re choosing it over having a social life, then you’re addicted.
Has it ever affected your performance at school or at university?
Antoine: I could lie and say it hasn’t but deep down I know it has. Any serious gamer knows that gaming will make you procrastinate if you let it. I’ve never let it deeply affect me, but I did find myself at some point skipping a class or two for a video game.
Andrew: Regardless if I was gaming or not I wouldn’t study. I don’t game at all now and yet I still don’t study. So I’m going to say it could have an effect, but in me and all my friends’ cases, it had no effect.
What did it help you learn?
Antoine: I did not learn any English at school until grade 6. At that point I had already completed multiple games. So I was first in my English class for many years simply because of that. Also, I have a lot of video game characters, quotes, story-lines and strategies memorized. So my memory is excellent because of it as well.
Andrew: Gaming helped me develop my long-term memory, decision making skills, and reaction time. The game I played, Dota, had over 100 heroes to pick from at the start of the game. Each game you have 6 item slots but over 200 items to pick from. Besides memorizing every single hero and item, you have to analyze how each hero works with other heroes, which items work best with which heroes, and which items work best with each-other. Reaction time was incredibly important to winning in Dota so it’s only natural that skill was developed too. Most importantly, you had a lot of decisions to make throughout that game. And that taught me 2 things about decision making.
1. It’s important to know how to make decisions very quickly.
2. It’s important to understand how each decision has consequences, therefore always think before deciding.
Did you innovate anything because of it?
Antoine: Personally, no. I am not much of an innovator. However, video games are now a global phenomenon, and some of my peers have already participated in, and won, international tournaments. They made gaming their main source of income. If you told someone 10 years ago that you were going to pursue a career as a gamer, they would make fun of you, now thousands of people are doing it, and getting sponsored by huge companies.
Andrew: An innovation is an invention which is widely adopted. Widely adopted is a big word, so no. But there have definitely been some huge innovations out of gaming, especially for artificial intelligence. Just look at OpenAI’s bot which taught itself to play Dota and beat the world champions. They don’t do that just for fun, they do that because if the technology is applicable to games its applicable anywhere. Also, gamers are the only people who kept pushing for more powerful GPUs (computer component which improve graphics), but little did they know is that GPUs are crazy good for artificial intelligence.
If you’re looking for more of a gamer turned innovator story, there’s that 11 billion dollar company, Slack, which a guy started as a chatroom for gamers, but turned into the biggest business messaging platform.
Give out a word to all the Gamers out there.
Antoine: Never. Stop. Gaming. Seriously. If you enjoy it, don’t let anyone make fun of what you do or make you feel bad for having a “childish” hobby. Games are the best form of entertainment available today. They are like movies you can control. They are like books you can visualize. Maybe don’t let it take up too much of your time and affect your studies/work. Every single ‘big’ technology advancement happening today is because of Gamers. VR and AR tools (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality) were developed because of Gamers. AI development in the past 3 years, machine learning, etc. All because of us “nerds”.
Andrew: Let yourself grow out of it. I know it’s hard to imagine quitting the game. You might tell yourself, oh no I’d never quit I’d just play less, but trust me you’re going to quit and you should embrace that.
Who do you agree with better? Anything you’d like to add?