This week Merric is asking for your help in deciding which of the Riders of Rohan pre-order editions he should buy.
There are a lot of things that we can learn about life
through video games as long as we keep an open mind and avoid being extremely dismissive
about them. Wait! Before you turn away thinking that this is going to be
another one of those generic long tirades about the wonderful stories behind a
select few video game titles that you couldn’t really care less about such as
Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, Skyrim or something similar, then you’re horribly
mistaken. While admittedly, there are some video game stories that are so
engaging that hardcore fans might find their stories infinitely memorable, the everyman/average
Joe/Jane really cannot be expected to take a liking to these stories given the
fact that not everyone plays these types of in-depth video games. Fortunately,
this article is all about the real life lessons that we can learn from much
simpler games; the kind of games that every other person on FaceBook plays or
has played at some point; the “casual games” – so to speak. Of course, given
that there are hundreds of different casual games on the market, I will be
focusing on only a select few games which I have had some personal experience
with either through observation, actual gameplay or both.
video games alone, but that’s not the point that I’m trying to get across here.
What I would like to say is that the importance of planning ahead can really be
visibly seen when you play video games. For example, take a game like Tetris –
which is seeing quite a revival nowadays thanks to Tetris Friends partnering up
with Facebook to make the game easily accessible for anyone with a Facebook account.
familiar with the mechanics of Tetris so I’m going to go ahead and get directly
to the meat and potatoes of the subject matter. When playing Tetris, your main
objective should be to go for as many Tetrises as possible by clearing your
stack in lines of 4. A newbie Tetris player will simply place the blocks in any
way that he/she sees fit as long as it doesn’t create gaps and go for singles
or doubles as well as occasional triples by chance. While this might work well
enough for slower speeds, the weakness of this strategy becomes quite apparent
as soon as the game starts to speed up. A stack that was built without proper
planning is quite prone to gaps and goes up pretty quickly even with modern
piece-holding mechanics in place.
knows that building a good stack is the key to beating the game at higher
levels and usually stacks with multiple Tetrises or, depending on which version
of Tetris he is playing, stacks with long combos in mind.
true whether you are pitting your skills against another player in Tetris
Battle or going for the fastest time in a game of 40 lines or Sprint. It doesn’t
matter whether you place your gap at the right side, the left side, or even in
the center as some players do and whether you prefer Tetrises or the more
stylish T-spins. What is really important is that you have a good plan of
action and that you execute this plan effectively.
In real life, if you don’t set your goals ahead of time and plan ahead, you will often find your past mistakes catching up with you just as that gap that you failed to recover from earlier will eventually catch up with you when you play Tetris.
and you just knew that you deserved the consequences of your failure because
you simply did not do enough? On the flip-side, what is more common is this feeling
that you just got robbed just like how Manny Pacquiao must have felt against
Timothy Bradley when he lost his Welterweight Title Belt to a man who (he must
have thought) he clearly defeated.
Tetris Friends network, you would recognize right away just how this lesson
fits squarely into the realm of video games. In Tetris Arena, you are “recognized”
for your win/loss ratio against different opponents in games using Battle
Tetris rules that can consist of up to six players at a time. Depending on how
many times you have lost/won, you will get ranked as a Bronze, Silver, Gold or
Platinum player using an rpg-style level-up/level-down system.
spent a little time on the network however, you will soon clearly realize that
these ranks are quite meaningless. The truth is that a highly skilled Bronze,
level 1 Ranked Player can easily wipe the floor against a mediocre Level 14
Gold Ranked player in a one on one battle. In fact, it happens all the time.
This is because once the battle begins, the only thing that really matters is
skill. Your Gold or Platinum Rank won’t help you much if all you’ve been doing
is cherry-picking in rooms with players that you can handily defeat, in a level
playing field, if your skills are inferior to your Level 1 opponent, you will
In any field of endeavor, it doesn’t matter if one person is a Harvard Graduate
in that field and the other guy is a graduate of UI-Phinma. When it comes to
actually performing the task at hand, skill and experience will always be the
more accurate measures of competence rather than a shiny Master’s or Doctorate
the more apparent in games such as Zuma and Tumblebugs. The object of these
types of games is to get rid of all the balls in your playing field by hitting
them with the same colored balls and forming groups of 3 or more. For this
example, let’s go with Zuma – since it’s simpler, but also much more
challenging when compared to the combo-friendly and power-up loaded Tumblebugs.
Zuma that it makes me wonder if the developers actually had it in mind when
they created this little gem. It becomes much more apparent when you watch
someone else playing it – in my case, my mother. My mother only uses the
computer to surf Facebook and she wouldn’t even have had an FB account if she
didn’t need it for her graduate school studies. I suppose some of you might be
interested as to how FB might be connected to graduate school studies, but I
digress. In any case, she got hooked on the game after she saw my niece playing
around with it and she tried it out and was instantly hooked as soon as I
explained the simple mouse-based controls as well as the basics of the game to
at the game and would often yell out in frustration when she placed a ball in
the wrong area or if the game didn’t seem to give her the right-colored ball to
end a particular level. After a few weeks of getting acclimated to some of the
more advanced intricacies of the game however, she began to understand some of
the finer points of game and it is these points which drive home the lesson
that “life goes on.”
especially a costly one, you can choose to rage about it and even slam the
mouse at times, but the fact of the matter is that this will not help you in
any way whatsoever. The little Zuma balls will simply keep moving forward and
slowly but surely inch their way towards the hole – as if they were trying to
mock you. They won’t stop moving just because you yell out in frustration over
a costly mistake. As you continue to play the game, it soon becomes quite
apparent that your only real choice is to calm down and try to recover
gracefully whenever you make a mistake – otherwise, you’ll simply be stuck in
the same level forever.
life. We often encounter a huge setback, a harsh failure, a major inconvenience
or sometimes, simply a mild annoyance that might test the limits of our
patience. When we encounter adversity, we can choose to shout, get angry and
blame others for our frustrations, but the reality is that life goes on whether
we like it or not – the wheel of fate won’t stop turning simply because you are
angry at the cards that life has dealt you with.
not always get the balls that you actually need to get yourself out of a sticky
situation. Sometimes, the game’s algorithms are sadistic enough to provide you
with two red colored balls just when you can’t use them because the long combo
of red balls have been obscured from your line of sight by a haze of
different-colored balls giving you no choice but to quickly place one of your
red balls somewhere else and adjust to the situation accordingly.
life doesn’t either, and when this happens, you can either quit playing and be
a failure forever, or simply try again until you finally succeed. By the way,
my Mother is at Stage 12 now and if you play Zuma, you’d know that this is quite
an accomplishment whether you are a gamer or not.
conclude by saying that these insights that I’ve shared with you about video
games are nothing new and I’m sure that you might have a few of them to share
yourself. The last real-life lesson that I have learned from video games and that I’d
like to share with you, is best illustrated in Hatsune Miku’s RPG Maker-Esque PV and song,
Real-Life Stupid Game. For the lazy/vocaloid paranoid individuals out there,
the last few lines of the song go:
nor any of its original creators and I am simply using the said video to better
illustrate the point of this article. Credits to the uploader/translator and
the original creators of the video for making one of the best vocaloid PVs in
Since yesterday noon EST “The Secret World” is life with its Early Access program. Things look very stable with a few kinks in the system still. But those don’t diminish an overall successful launch. It’s something Funcom needed, to improve their track record. No small feat considering the state of the game just one week [...]
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