What lesson did video games teach you?

For me it’s Being a guild leader taught me a lot about leadership, especially when you have employees. It taught me that transparency and fairness is valued above everything else. That one bad apple can infect and ruin a team, no matter how skilled they are. That you can’t make everyone happy all the time and you can’t do everything yourself no matter how hard you try. That the kid who takes your phone calls is just as important to group cohesion as your top programmer. And that you don’t have to be the best to lead the best, you just have to listen before you lead.

I loved being a guild leader, the pride of it, but I loved being a good guild leader even more. Long after I stopped playing the game I’d get messages from former guildmates telling me they’d never found the same again and it really touched me. I think about all the time I spent in that game, literal years in hours played, and not one moment of it wasn’t worth it. There is nothing in this world more satisfying than 40 or 25 or 10 people working and practicing over and over until finally nailing it. Remembering the eruption of cheers in ventrilo and feeling everyone bask in that glory still makes my eyes water.


Always take the longest, hardest, most tedious dead end routes, because there will always be a treasure chest hidden back there.


I’m not sure I’ve learned many lessons in my life and if I have I’d put money on videogames reaching into my brain and plucking them out.

Being heavily engaged with the lore of things like Morrowind fostered a fascination with religion, culture, and myth writ large, especially their malleability and how they change in and between societies over time. I guess that’s a kind of lesson.

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The main lesson is that you can always get stronger or better if you spend time working towards it.

I played a lot of RPGs. The key to each and every one of those was to take your time. If you had a terrible time fighting something you could always grind away elsewhere to get stronger and come back more powerful. Patience is a virtue, and it was instilled into me through games.

Same goes for day to day life. I lift heavy by slowly working towards heavy weights. It doesn’t happen overnight. I work out complicated gymnastic maneuvers by breaking them into smaller parts and developing those. Chaos at work is dealt with by prioritising and dealing with acute issues before moving towards everything else. Slow down, work out a plan of attack, then implement the plan.

Gaming helped instill some of that in me.

In the most general sense, patience and attention to detail. I mean, maybe I knew these in a general sense outside of games but matching up different types in Pokemon taught me to take my time in a game, assess my surroundings, and then make a decisions as opposed to spamming a move I thought was cool. That and I think, when you are young, games can do a wonderful job of rewarding your curiosity in unique ways. Be it an NPC saying something kind of cute or funny or a hidden item, that games tend to reward and encourage random exploration has always been neat to me.

Mae Borowski taught me a very important life lesson:


The World Ends With You really helped me grow up while I was entering early adulthood. I was already learning the importance of skepticism thanks to The Daily Show (I live in a pretty conservative family in Texas, so that show really helped me deprogram some garbage I had been fed), but TWEWY was probably the first time I experienced a story about communication, understanding, and the fluidity of identity. It helped me realize the importance of expanding my world view, and I think if I had never played that game, I would have slid off the slippery slope into toxic masculinity and would have never even understood my own sexuality.

Also Yakuza taught me all of life’s problems can be solved by punching.


vaula city in skies of arcadia (and valua in general) def accelerated my anticapitalist and anti imperialist attitude at a pretty young age, which is kinda silly to think about.


I think The Binding of Isaac, the first roguelike I got really into, made my brain think about min/maxing in ways that have bled over into real life (and not exactly always in a positive way). When faced with a decision or a task, I instinctively try to run through all the possible combinations and potential order of actions and identify the absolute best way to do something. If I have errands to run or chores to do, I try to think about the best – more specifically, the most efficient – order to do them in. I can do them all in any order, but there must be a best way, and dammit I have to find it. It’s nice and it feels good when I know I’ve done something the best way, but it can be kind of debilitating sometimes.

(Relatedly, I also think BoI was an early example of me thinking about my experience with a game from a mechanical perspective, rather than from a narrative or a visual perspective.)

I like to say that the first Dark Souls took me 4 years to beat; that’s the time that passed from my first experience with the game to finally beating Gwyn, with a few abandoned playthroughs over the years. I gave up on the game many times as it just wasn’t for me, I found it too hard and I figured my time was better spent elsewhere.

At some point the game just clicked for me and the joy and pride of finally “getting” what Dark Souls is all about was a very enlightening moment. That’s around when I realized that there is genuine enrichment and pride to be found in any experience, by going head-on into situations that I don’t understand or that aren’t appealing to me at first sight.

It’d be silly to put all the responsibility for this life lesson on games. Personal and political events in my life pushed me into unfamiliar situations during the same years and that definitely contributed to a shift in my mindset. But beating Dark Souls really strikes me as the instant when I really verbalized the wisdom: “Hey, I put effort into understanding something that ticked me off, and my life is better for it!”

Oh, and when I was but a small child, JRPGs taught me to never ever trust authority in any circumstances. A pretty empty lesson on its own, but it definitely came in handy when I first developed a political identity.


I really learned from Raul in Fallout NV. (Story spoilers if it matters) As you spend time with him he feels like he can’t contribute to society anymore because he’s too old and washed up. With my speech up I could let him know that he was still a viable source of wisdom and general ass kicking. I try to use this for all the older people I come across, 'cause we’ll all be there some day.

As another Texas boy I understand that narrative but have never played that game, I’ll have to check it out.