There’s a lot of life lessons in first person shooters like Call of Duty. I’ve been playing a lot in between tasks. It’s great for procrastination! I’m not even above average mind you, but coming late to the party there’s a lot of things I can appreciate. Even if the benefits of playing FPS games turns out to be bunk, it’s a great way to take a break. Maybe even too much.
There’s so much you can learn from this game that applies to life.
Try Not to Die
If you die, that’s it. You can’t go further. Your kill streak ends and the mission is not accomplished. You can take some hits but before you go further you need to recover by either hiding or neutralizing the immediate threat. When you get splattered your mobility is limited. Plus getting shot messes up your aim. You need to know which risks are worth taking and assess the trade off of making yourself vulnerable and making a good shot.
Dying Isn’t a Big Deal
So you die. Now what? Play it again! Just because you get shot up doesn’t mean you can never play again. Now in life dying is a big deal but how many things really matter that much in life? There are millions of people killing others or killing themselves for things that in the grand scheme of things aren’t that big of a deal. Lost a job? Broke up with someone that you thought was “the one”? Company went belly up? The list goes on. These are challenges and not life or death situations. There is a way to recover or at least continue to fight the fight. This time take a little something from your last fight and try not to die the same way.
When you’re playing a shooter, you’re faced with lots of choices. You need to choose wisely while getting shot at and/or trying to achieve a mission. You’ll frequently be in a situation where you ask yourself, “do I shoot this guy first or try to pick up the ammo?”, “three hostiles, one behind me, which do I shoot first?”, or “do I throw the last grenade to get out of this bind or try to plough through?”. You can die from making retarded choices like trying to pick up some ammo or not paying attention to someone creeping up behind you. These are all choices. Each choice will affect the next choices available.
You might find yourself shooting at a cluster of enemies while keeping an eye on the map to see hostiles coming at you while the clock is running. You need to figure it out quick!
Don’t Give Up
So you got cornered in a bad place and there’s a whole family of enemies coming at you like zombies and yes you’re running low on ammo. At some point you need to pick up one of their guns and do something if you manage to handle the first five. Now, it’s not a big deal to die in game. You just play it again. However, the whole point of the game is to give it your best. You need to take the game seriously for it to mean anything. “It’s just a game” is a great way to move on but don’t ever let that be an excuse to failure. Many times you’ll find yourself in a bind but manage to find a way out or maybe learn a lesson that will help you avoid getting in that situation to start with. When the situation gets overwhelming try to get out of it somehow. Embrace the adversity. If you fail, do it again but do your best to get out.
Sometimes you’ll get through a really difficult patch relatively unscathed only to get shot up by some weak loner who was right in front of you. These lapses can come in hairy times or long stretches of waiting. You need to keep yourself alert and at least prepared to respond. Zoning out is rarely a good thing. The game will teach you how to maintain a flow.
Shoot First, Ask Later
If you see an enemy, shoot. If you see a funny shadow, shoot. If you hear something, shoot. There’s rarely a moment where it’s better idea to contemplate the situation. If you don’t know what to do at least run. You always need to be doing something. There’s no way to just sit still and not die.
Set the Tone, Stay in Charge
It sucks to be chased around and running all the time. It’s a lot better to manipulate the enemy and get them in the right position to blast away. As long as you’re the one reacting, eventually they’ll get to you. This is especially true in hostile/survival mode.
Know the Territory
The more you know about the map or sticking points in the mission, the better. Same goes for the guns and their quirks and advantages. Ditto for enemies and their movements. Find an angle that will give you an advantage, sometimes it’ll be a nook where you can take the heat off or a maze-like area you can run and lose your enemies. This knowledge will give you an edge.
Always Have Fun
At the end of the day, it’s about having fun. Shoot em’ up and laugh a little. Don’t get beat up if things don’t go your way. If you get a little bored switch it up. Put yourself in a bit of danger and try to maneuver your way out. Set tougher constraints on yourself and set goals. If all you get is stress then it’s time to quit and find something else. Sometimes I’ll get a chuckle from the dumbest bugs like an enemy running in mid air or their bodies half hidden by a dry wall.
I’m sure there are some others I missed but the fast pace of the game and the high pressure environment provide a great way to release stress while maybe learning a lesson or two about life.