What do you think of when you hear the title ‘gamer’? For many, it raises images of gaming addiction and unhealthy habits. But this is not necessarily true. In reality, gamers are often actually well equipped to handle life’s challenges and achieve professional success.
This is because the games we play usually replicate the same trials we face during our careers. Games are designed to test us and force us to adapt to overcome things like logical puzzles and other players. Companies are even finding that employees who play video games at work boost their productivity and improve team culture. Video games are a great way to develop the skills you need for success and might just become the way we network in the future.
According to game designer and researcher Dr.Jane McGonigal: “the signature finding [in video game studies] is increased self-efficacy [through playing video games]”. Self-efficacy occurs when we believe that we can do something successfully and is a vital component of achieving success. The great thing about self-efficacy is that it spreads across contexts and brings you confidence in many areas of your life.
For example, if you play a video game where you become an expert at communicating with teammates, you are likely to carry those same communicative skills into other areas of your life and feel confident when speaking to bosses or working with new people. Essentially, the skills you hone in the virtual arena can transfer over to the rest of your life.
In most online games, you’re required to collaborate with your friends while working towards a specific goal. In Clever Play’s Operation Tango, two players must work together using verbal communication to stop an evil online network.
The game requires you to communicate clearly while performing complex tasks like codebreaking. Each player has a different display on their screen throughout and much of the challenge is in clearly communicating what each other sees so your teammate can make correct inputs on their end. The benefit here is clear: by working collaboratively in a video game like Operation Tango, you gain vital experience communicating under pressure and performing tasks as part of a team.
Check out some Operation Tango gameplay below!
Puzzle games require you to identify patterns while solving a problem of some kind. For example, in Valve’s Portal, players are required to escape from a research facility that has been overrun by a dangerous AI. Players navigate the research facility using portal guns and pass through the AI’s traps.
Here, the transfer from the game to the workplace is all about developing logical reasoning skills when encountering new ways of working. For example, during the pandemic, we have all encountered new systems and technologies for work and learned to utilise them effectively. Those who succeeded quickly grasped new technology and adapted to meet the unique needs of remote work during the pandemic.
According to the American Psychological Association, the five traits most commonly associated with workplace success are volunteering, putting in extra effort, cooperating, following rules and procedures, and endorsing organizational goals. Unsurprisingly, these are the same traits that top video game players also credit to their success.
For example, Riot Game’s League of Legends is a competitive online battle arena game that actually facilitates players’ practice with practice modes and unranked matches. In these modes, players can develop their map awareness, train their responses, and improve their strategies while practicing for ranked matches. Through League of Legends, players learn the habits necessary for workplace success and can develop resilience when faced with complex or daunting challenges.
We all hear about business being done on the golf course, and in the 90s that might have been true. However, when I recently landed the highest-paying job of my career, I was asked for my GamerID within the first few days, and have spent countless hours networking with my peers online since.
This experience shouldn’t come as a surprise either: 227 million Americans game regularly. In the coming years, we won’t be talking about the weather during breaks; we’ll be trading gaming tactics, deliberating over upcoming releases, and sharing our virtual experiences.
The Gaming industry
Gaming represents a wonderfully diverse industry that requires input from a multitude of professions, research backgrounds, and life experiences. In Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins, video game directors took incredible measures to recreate an accurate representation of ancient Egypt. They employed massive teams of people to visit locations, create 3D models, interview experts, and write detailed, realistic characters.
The gaming industry employs folks from all kinds of different fields and professional backgrounds. So, if you’re feeling stagnated at work, you might rekindle that spark of professional excitement by making a career transition into the gaming industry.
Getting into games
Hopefully, you’re now excited about gaming! If you are new to games or are just looking to find some new titles to try out, consider the following:
- For an Adventure: you’ll want to look into a genre called “open-world”. In open-world games, you get to explore massive maps between missions and will usually find that your choices in the world affect the main storyline. My top two picks are The Witcher 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn.
- For Team Building: there are many different genres to choose from here. You can get into first-person shooters or exploration games. The best two options: Rocket League or No Man’s Sky
- For a Great Story: some video games are short and can be completed in 10 hours, while others continue for hundreds. If you’re looking for an emotive, short game, consider Arise: A Simple Story. If you want a longer story to get stuck into, give The Last of Us II a try.
Remember, too, there are loads of online communities to read and engage with—many of which are dedicated to women + video gaming. So, if you don’t know where to begin, maybe introduce yourself over at r/GirlGamers!
For more from Women Love Tech on gaming, visit here.