The Friday Debate – Have You Ever Learnt Anything From Playing A Game?

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The question sprang to mind as I received my copy of Rock Band 3 today. I’m particularly intrigued by the Rock Band Pro mode because I play guitar in real life (whatever that is). I can play quite a few songs that are on the disc and I’m looking forward to giving them a try with the TV switched off and seeing what kind of score it gives me.
The flip side is that, theoretically, I should be able to master a new song using the game and then breeze through it on a real guitar.
It’s an exciting threshold where virtual and real life skills merge seamlessly and that strikes me as a first; if you beg to differ, then this is the place to do so.


We’re not just talking about practical skills here; did Broken Sword inspire you to read up on the Knight’s Templar? Did you learn to crochet just so you could make your own Sackboy? Did Metal Gear Solid teach you that smoking makes you a better sniper (to the detriment of your health)?
Share your learnings in the comments and feel free to shout out topics for future debates, either here or via our @PlayStationEU Twitter feed.

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80 Comments

  • Yeh I did – Dante’s Inferno and the Sins. I actually looked up more on this topic. I think I even read some of the Poem from the Divine Comedy that has inspired a lot of games and films such as Se7en. It’s interesting stuff and quite popular. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_(Dante)

  • Voted: I’ve developed an important skill purely through gaming.
    Although technically not through console gaming but the question is still valid.
    Historic knowledge of WW2 naval operations, graphics/texture creation and 3d modeling (mapping and importing to game) were all skill I learnt from my interest in a single game.
    I’m still hunting for that elusive console title that does that to me.

  • I learned not to launch myself with a catapult into a big city as that can leave a big mess :)

  • Id love to see some examples of what people think/have learned. Right now 40% have suggested they have learned an important skill. Really? Like what? Im curious.

  • I can now ear my mom respawning at the begging of the street.

  • Well, I have learnt a lot of new english vocabulary (I’m spanish). Especially from RPG games. And I’ve learnt how to kill zombies in a faster way, shooting them in the head, or that if you mix the correct ingredients you’ll obtain nice items to improve your skills,…..Hahahaha

  • Thanks to games, I’ve learned better English. 8)

  • 1:I always give a coin to beggars and 2: I know how to fry eggs thanks to MGS4 (put a lid on frying pan as the heat is trapped cooking the yellow better)

  • James, what about the Fallout 3 DLC for PL PS+ subscribers? It’s been 9 days already, 2nd batch arrived for other countries. What’s the progress on the story? We’re all still waiting for an update.

  • The DLC has been there for a while…..
    As for skills, gaming has driven me to push my artistic skills so one day I can work in the industry, and Oblivion drove me to learn to 3D model and texture. Plus I’ve found out about a load of stuff from games that I’ve then read up on e.g I decided to read Journey to the West because of Enslaved

  • Thanks to Leisure Suite Larry 1, Monkey Islands and other great adventure games on the almighty Amiga 500 I learned some English vocabulary and grammar, before we even began English lessons in school. So I was ahead of the curve ;)
    Then there’s also my driving behaviour or “skills”, which I’m sure were influenced by Racing/Rally games. I never drove like a mad man around corners or on wet/muddy surfaces, because I knew the limits of traction through “first hand” experience and not only through theoretical knowledge. In a way I could even argue that gaming potentially saved my life ;)
    Who would’ve thought playing games could be that useful ey?

    • If you’ve learnt to drive from games then I’m not sure I want to be getting a lift from you! It’s interesting to hear people say that games have helped them learned English though, as I’d always assumed that people played games in their native language.

  • I learned some fighting moves from tekken

  • More often than not, I’ve taken after the hero of some games in what to learn from their adventure.
    I’ve also got a very mellow sense of humour from gaming.

  • Actually yes, RPGs and whatnot have helped me learn to spell (when I was like 7). So yeah I’d say that was an important skill.

  • I learnt a lot of things through zoo tycoon.
    I feel a lot of people have learnt things in the fallout games, and LBP? That whole game is a learning experience!

  • After playing Battlefield 1942 (back in 2002) i became fascinated in the history off ww2 and have read countless books and bought loads of films etc .
    I also after playing Rock Band took up the guitar and have been playing nearly 3 years now learning off Youtube mainly from Marty Schwartz and thats where im off now to try his new Paradise City lesson that he posted earlier .

    • I play guitar and still stick to paper tabs… I’ve been meaning to try some of these YouTube tutorials so I might take the plunge with this Marty guy, being a fan of Back to the Future.

  • You might not believe this, but I’ve been gaming on PlayStation since I was 4, and it has improved my senses. I now have an increased sense of awareness and my eyesight is greatly improved.

  • I’ve learned quite a lot of stuff from games such as stealth, how to shoot, play lots of different card games.. hehe. So not very useful in every day activity.. unless I was a stealthy hunter who played card games with the animals I kill? Too much like a final fantasy game though haha.
    I hate how most people think that people kill because of video games, in my opinion games stop you from killing! Besides paintball would be more fun than killing people. You must already be in that frame of mind before playing the games anyway if you were planning on killing people. So Jack Thompson for the lose.

    • I was trying to get my friends to play Perudo with me the other day, which is basically Peruvian Liar’s Dics. After trying to explain it for a while, I said “the dice game in Red Dead Redemption” and they got it immediately.

  • Games (and WWF wrestling back in the day ;-) ) played a huge part in me learning English beyond what they teach you at school!
    25 years ago many games were only available in English, and there were whole genres that were ideal for teaching language skills. The adventure genre, particularly the old Sierra games where you had to type in simple commands and a lot of feedback consisted of text, were very helpful in that regard as were the Lucasfilm Games adventures. And they were fun as well, there is no better way to learn!
    There was no other way to play some games unless you learned a little English.
    These days most of the games are localized and the genres that taught me have changed or died. :-( I helps many more people to enjoy video games, but they don’t have that teaching aspect anymore unless you force it onto yourself.

  • I can tell from experience that having extensive FPS experience makes a whole lot of a difference when playing a paintball game against people who haven’t. :) And I also learnt a lot of English from playing games.

  • I learned how to navigate through London thanks to The Getaway! Many a time, I’ve led my gf down a street, assuring her that I knew where I was going because I’d seen it in a game. oh, how she chided.. until I got us to our destination! :)

  • ‘The Sims’ has taught me that children need to eat regular meals, wash and use the toilet. Hopefully my children will also learn valuable life skills in the same way. They smell horrible!

  • earned a lot of Greek mythology from god of war and learned about weapons from and WW2 from all most any FPS, learned extremely much about cars from gran turismo, and also learned to handle stress from video games :D

  • i learnt quite a lot thru uc2 and crash bandicoot X)

  • James, when you mention about wikipedia-ing The Knights Templar from Broken Sword, I actually did! The story of that game really grabbed me and I was fascinated by it, was only about 10 too! Broken Sword 2 had the same effect, once I’d completed that I learned about the Mayans, and Tezcatlipoca!

  • I’ve learned my English of games. :D

  • ive learnt stuff from video games like in uncharted 1 and 2 but the best you can ever learn some from is littlebigplanet… for know until littlebigplanet 2 comes out

  • I know for a fact my vocabulary and spelling has been greatly benefited throughout my life thanks to video games. My english teacher and I thank you Playstation…

  • Gran Turismo tought me the basics of how a car worked and inspired me to learn further. i am now a time served technician trained by nissan and am now progressing to gain my master tech.

  • Fallout 2 taught me the definition of “fluffer.”
    And they say games aren’t educational :D .

  • Metal Gear Solid taught me lots about the cold-war (and inspired me to read more into it). It also taught me lots of morals in a strange sort of way. How power corrupts and not to clone people.
    WW2 games can teach you more about the WW2. Lots of war games can teach you lots about the war they’re based on.

  • I learned some English vocabulary and grammar thank to games aswell.
    because Dutch games are ugh.

  • I learned a lot ’bout aircraft instruments on the old Flightsim 2 on the Atari ST, and a lot of English words/expressions from the old Magnetic Scrolls and Infocom text adventures (‘Kick bucket. You are dead.’)
    Besides, it made me want to learn 68k assembly, do more with computers, and basically be who I am today.
    And currently, I keep learning/remembering things when playing Buzz :)

  • Not much really, they might cause me to google things now and again, ala Nanotechnology and PMC’s via MGS4.
    Although Football Manager has given me a huge knowledge of players around the world, like i could be watching a match and i would spot a youngster and just say “He is a fantastic player”, although he could be useless.
    I suppose i know alot of guns because of COD.
    And most importantly, cake is a lie….

  • Shenmue II got me interested in China and Hong Kong. That’s the most prominent I can remember..

  • Thanks to The Secret of Monkey Island I have learned how to swordfight.
    You fight like a dairy farmer!

  • ‘The Sims’ has taught me that children need to eat regular meals, wash and use the toilet. Hopefully my children will also learn valuable life skills in the same way. They smell horrible!
    I love that comment…
    I think I have learned tons from playing games. The more important thing is that I remember far more of what I learnt in games, than anything I learnt in school. It shows how important making learning interesting is. I envy the children of the future who will be told to just go and play games all day. It seems to already be starting.

  • I’ll tell you what I didn’t learn from gaming……………….mass murder or violent crime.
    http://newsarse.com/2010/10/19/playing-video-games-increases-awareness-of-playing-video-games-finds-study/

  • I learned to race and race fast.

  • I lernt about the Italian Renaissance and decided to reaserch further because of Assassins Creed II.

  • Oh, games taught me several things.
    The most important of all is english. A summer of Final Fantasy 7 allowed me to change from bad grades to pretty good ones. Please put a good word with Sony, so that games sold for the EU market will NEED to have english as a language, even if not the main one: translations are awful and dubbing can be so bad that will make impossible to play an old game (italian MGS deserves… nothing. Localization is that horrid.)
    Also, Metal Gear Solid got me my quiet and sneaky way to walk. Plus i know how to cook eggs thanks to MGS4 lol.
    I got my driving style from Need for Speed: Road Challenge…. seeing how cars are easy to crash made me the slow and careful driver that i am now.
    Assassin’s creed 2 got me to look up a couple of things on Wikipedia, to see how accurate the game was.
    Fallout 3 showed me how to pick a lock (it’s not magic! lol), something that always puzzled me.
    Photo Mode in Gran Turismo 4 gave me a little knowledge about photography.
    I found out that Eudora wasn’t only the best email client ever, she was part of greek mythology thanks to God of War, that got me looking up the subject.

  • dose anyone know how much money sony are losing every day or gaining.

  • “I’ve developed an important skill purely through gaming”
    I learned how to kill people using excessive violence xD

  • I learned some italian from Assassin’s Creed 2. :-)
    Molto bene, Ezio!

  • I think that anyone with even a slightly inquisitive mind has, Or at least could, Learn from playing games. So much of games these days is based on real life people or events. My best advice to people is that if you see or hear something in a game and you wonder what the people are talking about, Or if something in a game really exists. Anything that pricks at you curiosity then look it up, Google is great for this.
    Although I don’t work with cars in any way for a living I’m a pretty good amateur mechanic nowadays, And the responsibility for my interest in automotive engineering is down to being a motorsports fan and also from playing racing games. And especially trying to get car set ups working for me in the more realistic racing games. I guess you could say that it was working with the various settings to get cars set up properly that peaked my curiosity to get out and find some old banger somewhere and start pulling it apart and seeing how the things you change/use in a game actually work and what the settings actually relate to in real life. Seeing these things for yourself and understanding how they work makes the sometimes not so clearly set out settings options in some games much easier to work with.

  • The flip side is that it also makes you realise how staggeringly unrealistic most racing games are, Even the supposedly more “simulator” ones. Most games don’t differentiate between driving a turbo charged car and a surerchrged car but in real life both give totally different drives, for example. GT games physics are as good as you’ll find on consoles, after 5 years of development they should be ; )
    And if you’re after something directly learnt from playing games, Does unleashing long streams of profanities at inanimate objects like the TV count?

  • That I need a social life.
    :/

  • I think most games often encourages you to go and search for knowledge about something that you’ve seen in the game. I have become more and more interested and fascinated by the US Navy SEALs after playing Medal Of Honor

  • My first ever game of paintball, I was the best one there! and won all the games for my team :) I was doing Max Payne style dive shots, stealthy “Freeze” moments like MGS (although I just shot them. Gotta love dark hiding places) Pssh I just own :)

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