What Game Production Has Taught Me

Some parents might be questioning playing (and making of) video games. Parents might bring out reasons such as “you will lack social skills if you play too much games” or “you need to have physical activity instead of staring the computer screen” or “games have lots of violence, they are not good for youngsters” and so on. While I agree that there are negative sides in video games (like pretty much any activity if it takes too much attention), but I would also like to remind all the good sides what playing or making can teach you.

Here’s a short list what playing video games and making them has taught me:

  • Languages: My English skills wouldn’t be on the level that they are today if I hadn’t played computer games (I’m not praising my English skills, but you can rest assure my English would be worse if there were not video games. Big thanks goes to makers of Monkey Island series). I have learned English. I took a Chinese class (about 100 hours) and learned some basics which would also help me in Edoiki game, since it has eastern theme. Learning languages have also taught me about different cultures.
  • Math & Physics: Programming games has required me to learn various topics such as physics (just take a look at my free physics game for example, it did took some effort to deal with the gravity, three dimensions and so on). If I hadn’t programmed or played games, I would have not had so much interest to study these topics.
  • Business skills: Launching my company would not have happened if there were no video games, and while I’m just starting up I’ve already learned a great deal about how businesses work in the Internet.
  • Marketing: Even though I have studies in marketing, I must say that theory won’t beat practice. Both are needed and making games has been a great way to learn marketing in practise. Selling your games requires marketing, customer support and many other factors to come together – and much of the thanks from my part goes to making games.
  • People skills: This has been one of the most practical area I’ve learned when making and playing games. I’ve read more books than ever from various topics, and I’ve learned lessons such as that I really don’t need to be right. When I was younger, I needed to make 100% that I was right – and that the other was wrong. I needed to win, the other had to lose. While I liked debating in the past (and that really hasn’t gone anywhere), today I see that the need to be right is not such a good long-term strategy. While it might win me a debate, it might cost me a friend. And that’s bit pricey. I understand that as I earlier thought only lose-win situations, I see that usually there’s also the win-win alternative. There are lots of other examples which I’ve tried to bring up in the philosophy category. These articles contain much of what I’ve picked up from both making & playing games.

This is just a brief sample of what playing and making games has taught me, and I bet many of you readers could easily continue that list. Video games can be excellent tools for teaching complex subjects and an excellent way to simply have fun. And what more could you require from them anyway?

4 thoughts on “What Game Production Has Taught Me

  1. Wazoo & Jake: very good examples! Minimizing travel time was a nice example. So was map reading and 3D space.

    Anyone else?

  2. map reading skills, and ability to memorise a 3D space and find my way around it have come from playing DOOM and every other helf-decent FPS since. Oh wait, realised this isn’t to do with programming.

    OK programming has taught me to be good with to do lists, self-organisation, discipline and actaully getting stuff finished!

  3. Great examples Juuso!

    Here’s another one that WoW (or any MMO I guess) taught me: how to optimize your schedule to get things done while minimizing travel time.

    What happens when you hit the town? You pick up 5 or 6 quests from everyone which usually involve traveling far away to the other side of the zone…and then back again to cash them all in. Before you figure out how this works, new players tend to really “waste” time by only grabbing one or two quests, wandering until they hit the target area of the zone, then finding their way back to town, only to discover the other 4 quests involve going right back to the same area!

    Translate this to everyday tasks such as going to the gym, picking up and/or dropping off the kids at one or more locations, getting the one or two essentials from the grocery store, returning a video from the video store, etc. etc.

  4. I smell the making of another ebook. :)