Can computer games build real life skills?

CrazyKinux linked an interesting article on his speedlinking post (http://www.crazykinux.com/2008/10/eve-online-speedlinking-for-october-3rd.html).  Can computer games help you build real world skills.  I do recommend reading the entire article (http://mybroadband.co.za/news/Gaming/5366.html).

The gist of the article discusses how people actually gain real world skills that they can apply to their everyday lives.  They go into how educational games in the past have been shunned by the consumer markets, but the recent success of games from Nintendo for their DS platform have begun to change all that.

For years, the US military has taught people to play games to improve various real world skills.  Checkers, Chess, Poker.  These games teach you basic strategic thinking.  Something that can translate onto the battlefield.

So, the question here is, what skills have you learned from playing EVE Online?

Well, let’s take a look at some of the things that you do in the game and what they can teach you.

Training skills

To effectively train your skills in EVE, you need to learn to manage your time well.  If you do your research, you find that you need to train up the Learning skills so that you can reduce your skill training time over the long term.  You learn to manage you time in a way so that you always have a skill training.  You learn that you need to adapt your skill training plan to fit external game events, such as down times, patch days and when you are able to be logged into your computer (i.e., can’t change skills when you are at work or on a long vacation).

Such time management skills can be translated into the real world, in way of planning out things like a savings plan or how to address a busy day.

Corporation/Alliance Management

If you are running your own corporation, are a director in a corporation or an alliance, you quickly learn that the in game skills for running a coporation are just scratch the surface.  As your corporation grows in size, you begin to have to address personel issues.  Not all members of a corporation get along all the time.  You have to learn how to effectivly manage people.  You do learn people management skills.

As your corporation/alliance grows, you have to learn to delegate administrative tasks, setup seperate divisions and even plan and/or lead operations for resource gathering and trade.  As you expand you operations, you will encounte other corporations/alliances.  You have to learn to address these encoutners, whether diplomaticaly or with combat.

Such skills can again be translated into the real world.  You have gained some expeience in management.  You can use this knowledge to manage people who work under you or help yourself grow in your work.  Learning how to deal with hostile relationships in the game does help you to see things from different angles.  Such knowledge can help you to deal with a difficult boss or co-worker.  Of course, I would not suggest that you apply the combast aspect of EVE to these real life situations.

Market Trade

In EVE, the currency of trade is called isk.  You need isk in order to buy all those ships and modules you need for combat or movement of goods.

Learning how to use the market, buy low, sell high, identify trends, figure out how to make a profit.  These are all skills that you can use when dealing with your personal finances.  Buying stocks, shopping for real world goods.  These things can help you along in life, teaching you the value of money.

So, do computer games teach you real world skills?  They can, if you can apply what you learn in the games to real life.  If you can recognize that learning is not restricted to the classroom.

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~ by J. Riley Castine on October 4, 2008.

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