Video Games: The Mindset

There are some people in the world to whom video games simply call out to. Born naturals, these people simply pick up the controller and excel. It is true that, as you've no doubt encountered, it is the youth of today that seem to understand video games, primarily because they have so much more time to do so. An interesting thing to consider, however, is that it's not the generation itself that breeds this compatibility. It's the mindset of the person playing the game.

Video games aren't important.

This is an extraordinarily common opinion, largely held by the parental section of the populace. Occasionally phrased in a more condescending manner, such as, "Video games are a waste of time," what most of those who oppose video games fail to realize is that, while the lessons learned in-game are a tad unorthodox, they are definitely valid, and definitely important. Avid gamers establish very advanced logic functions, and develop a remarkable ability to think around problems. They improve hand-eye coordination, as well as bolstering the imagination, sometimes sparking new ideas in a creative mind. The first step in becoming compatible for competent gaming is to remember that if you think what you're doing is trivial, then your results will be mediocre.

In terms of escapism, video games trump books and movies.

If you look at escapism as a three tiered tower, then books stand at the bottom. Depending on the imagination of the individual, the events described in the pages can elicit a state of immersion. If the reader is rather imaginative, then the resulting escapism will be more effective. Movies take things one step further, and occupy the second tier. One doesn't need the ability to imagine the scene if the scene is visible before him. Cinema brings immersion to a whole new level by placing the viewer practically at the site of the action.  Video games, however, occupy the highest tier, hands down. The potential for a rich, creative story is just as prevalent as it would be in a book, and the visual effects are at par or even greater than that of a movie. The trump card in the video game's arsenal comes from the control. The gamer has nearly complete control over the details of the escapism experience. While playing a video game, you are actively occupying the body of a soldier, or a spy, or a basketball player. He moves where you want him to move, she jumps when you tell her to jump. Short of virtual reality, this is as deep as immersion gets. The deeper you can get into the game, the more rewarding the experience will be for you.

The movements of a character are made to mimic the movements of a person.

As an avid gamer, it is unpleasant to the point of physical discomfort to see people trying games out for the first time, only to be completely baffled or visually confused by the array of controls. It is a key point to remember that when you can forget that you're looking into a screen, and can pretend that what you're seeing is really what's in front of you, the easier moving will become. This point is most embodied in the First-Person Shooter genre. The typical FPS viewpoint is anchored at the face or eyes of the character you are controlling, and is commonly rather disorienting to new gamers, causing jerking, twitchy movements, or spastic sweeps. The game is made to emulate actual locomotion, so keep that in mind. Move like you would in real life, albeit with a peg leg, or a basketball jersey on.

Don't get frustrated.

One of the most pleasing things about a video game, especially as a form of escapism, is that regardless of your performance in the game, there aren't consequences. If you spend an entire afternoon failing world 4-2 of Super Mario World, then there's still no reason to be upset. It has almost the same concept as practicing a sport, except that, while what you get out can be an engaging and remarkable experience, what you're putting in is absolutely no effort. If what you're putting in equates to nothing (minor motions of the thumbs and index fingers), then why should you be frustrated? It's a win-win situation.

Practice doesn't make perfect.  Perfect practice makes perfect.

The most important thing to remember when attempting to jump into the world of video games is that some games are hard. They're meant to be hard, and they are made so in order to appeal to gamers who like challenges. Beating your head on a game that is too difficult for you won't yield positive results no matter how long you do it for. You don't improve your skill at one game. You get better at video games. There isn't an invisible skill level that applies to each person, and once you reach a certain level, you can successfully complete specific video games. As a person becomes better and better at games as a whole, his logic functions improve to the point of being able to swiftly process new ideas and challenges that are often presented by the more advanced video games.

It's best to imagine skills of this particular kind as being vastly interconnected. Your logic skills, your ability to adapt to new situations, your reflexes, your hand-eye coordination, your ability to think like you're a gladiator or a ninja. They will passively increase as you play, and you'll find that, as they do, you will begin to enjoy video games more. At that point, where your abilities in a video game are equivalent to the amount of fun you're having, you've truly become locked in the rapture of the gamer.

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