For the longest time, I’ve been a computer gamer. I started playing when massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) are just beginning in the Philippines, and access to affordable computer rentals is booming.
I began when I was 10. I started with Counter-Strike and then Battle Realms, followed by Philippine Ragnarok Online, Flyff, DOTA 1, and many more.
Through the benefit of hindsight, I realized that the time, money, and effort that I spent playing those games were not as wasted as my mother used to say.
Here are some practical life lessons I learned from playing computer games.
Unlike today where games can be played anywhere and anytime thanks to our mobile phones, during our time, we needed to go to computer shops before we can play.
When I was in the first year of high school in 2004, Ragnarok was “the game,” similar to how Counter-Strike and DOTA used to be and how Mobile Legends are now.
Ragnarok was a pay-to-play (P2P) game, so I needed to buy a Ragnarok load card before I can enter the magical land of Rune Midgard. The card amounts from P10 (1 hour), P20 (2hours), P50 (8 hours), P100 (unlimited for 1 week), and so on. This is on top of the computer rental.
However, my daily allowance then was only P20. So if I wanted to play, I have to save and budget my money accordingly. I only used P5 for my snack and use the P15 for an hour of play.
That may sound a little extreme, but that was the time of my computer addiction, and I can’t help it. Still, that experience of sticking to a budget allowed me to be financially disciplined until today when I was already working.
2. Finding Other Streams of Income
In connection to budgeting, I realized that I couldn’t only rely on my allowance if I want to play more, so I had to find other sources.
I would usually tell my mother that I will remove the grass and clean the yard in exchange for P50 every Saturday morning.
Also, twice a month, I would go to the farm to help out my father in various farm works in exchange for P100. Those added incomes were dedicated to computer game-related expenses.
Like how I tried to find other income streams before, I am still trying to find additional means of income aside from my salary to be financially free earlier.
3. Law of Supply and Demand
Though I formally learned about the Law of Supply and Demand in Economics, which I often apply in the stock market, my first real encounter with this principle was through Ragnarok.
Some items have rare attributes and very hard to come by (low supply), such as cards, slotted items, highly refined and enchanted equipment (+10 VVS Wind Battleaxe) that many players need and want (high demand).
As a result of the discrepancy between the supply side to the demand side, the price of these items is usually high. On the other hand, common items which are not as wanted would cost less.
Because of that exposure to the Law of Supply and Demand, I became more conscious of how that economic law plays in our daily life, like jobs, houses, transportation, facemasks, bitcoins, and other goods.
In 2006, I was playing an RPG called Flyff. It was fun to play until a bug destroyed its economic system (yes, RPGs also have economic systems).
The bug made it possible to increase the Penya (money in Flyff) by opening and canceling vends. The oversupply of the game money resulted in hyperinflation.
That event forced players to give up using Penya for buying items and switched to the barter system instead. Eventually, players decided to quit the game for good.
The oversupply of digital currency caused the game’s economy to collapse, similar to Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
5. Fast Typing Speed
One skill my coworkers would often notice is my typing speed, which is about 70-75 words per minute (WPM). Though I think it is much slower than my peak speed when I was still playing DOTA 1 and Ragnarok.
During that time, I was trained to type fast because of trash talking. LOL. Because if I am slow in typing, I will lose to the petty arguments I used to engage in against other players.
Today, thanks to my typing speed, I can finish a blog post as soon as I can think of what to write, especially when I am in a state of flow which is awesome.
6. Social Skills
Communication and social skills are necessary when playing online games. Unlike today’s mobile games, which are very difficult to type in because you will need to pause or stop moving, the older games gave a more fluid way of engaging in conversations because of the physical keyboard.
Through those games, I also met many people all over the country. I was often a part of guilds composed of people coming from different places.
I think I learned a lot of my “street smarts” through the games that I played. Also, many of my closest friends until now were the same people I play with.
There were even success stories of couples who started dating through Ragnarok and got married in real life.
7. Buying and Selling
While playing RPGs, it is almost impossible to get rich without knowing how to buy and sell. I found this skill very useful when trading in the stock market and buying and selling items.
One of my friends is very skilled in selling his used stuff, which he often attributes to his time learning to trade in Ragnarok.
8. Taking One Step at a Time
One of the biggest lessons I learned from playing RPGs is to take things one step at a time.
When we are new to the game, we need to learn so many aspects about it, like how to level up quickly, buy equipment, trade with other players, and many more.
Everyone starts as a novice (Ragnarok) or a vagrant (Flyff). Slowly, as you gain enough experience, you level up. You also obtain equipment to use and pick up rare items to trade or sell. Soon, you will get stronger and learn the ropes of the game.
Similar to life, we need to go through struggles and learn from them so we can also have enough experience to level up.
We shouldn’t take shortcuts. We need to take the stairs and steadily grow at our own pace because eventually, everything will fall into place. We just need to trust in God’s plan.
Art imitates life.
I may have struggled with my academics in high school and college because of computer games, however, I now realize that I also learned a lot from them.
Though my mother always told me “kakakompyuter mo yan” whenever I struggled or felt sick, I stand that playing computer games is not something I regret. In fact, if I will re-do my life, I might still play computer games.
In everything that we do, we can learn a thing or two. We just have to observe and do it in moderation.
Now, I am still playing games like Mobile Legends, though not as addicted as before, and I am still learning a lot.