Video games have long had an interesting ability to educate us. We don’t usually think of games as being educational (save for computer games built to teach children basic skills). But almost inadvertently, we can learn everything from math to psychology or any other modern skills from playing games.
Often, when you really start thinking about video games that can teach you lessons, you’ll land on some of the classics. For instance, our post on ’30+ Popular Games Streamers Need to Play in 2020‘ mentioned poker and chess games that have long been favorites among players — and both have educational components.
Poker and chess can train us in psychology, teach us decision-making and negotiating skills, and even get us thinking about statistics and odds. (There’s a reason that the best poker and chess players you know are probably some of your smarter friends!)
Video Games can also be used to teach modern skills more directly though, and this is what’s interesting moving forward. With so many highly relevant modern skills being digital in nature anyway, it’s interesting to think about what video games might be able to help us with. So without further ado, here are some modern skills that might actually be easier to learn through gaming.
Coding may have lost a little bit of its shine in recent years because solutions have emerged for people who don’t know how to do it. Now, if you want to build an app or website, for example, you can find a “low-code” or “no-code” platform that helps you to do it. Nevertheless, coding still has tremendous value.
Inc.’s argument in favor of coding covered that value in two categories: intrinsic (such as problem-solving, attention to detail, and analytical skills) and external (like job appeal, the ability to build digital products, and monetary gain). It also made the argument — perhaps somewhat dramatically — that not learning to code could lead to “professional extinction.”
Again, that final point is dramatic. But the value of coding is still extensive. It can enable you to design your own products, lead to lucrative job opportunities, and even help you to better understand how the internet really works. The problem is that for those who don’t take to it naturally, coding is about as difficult to learn as a foreign language.
However, it’s also something that can be taught through strategic progression and repetition, which can certainly be built into a game. In fact, there are already some video games that endeavor to teach coding — we’d just be interested in seeing a better one.
The creation of printed circuit boards is at the core of the majority of our modern tech devices. Greater sophistication in how these PCBs are designed is in part what helps tech companies to make better and better devices — which ultimately makes the design process a hugely significant and distinctly modern skill.
Generally, we’re fortunate enough that there are enough electrical engineers to innovate and create the PCBs we need. But this can also be a fascinating skill to learn, and one that gives people a better understanding of how modern electronics really work.
Currently, it is possible for people to train themselves in PCB design. It’s explained in Altium’s take on PCB viewer downloads that a fairly quick set up can allow for access to digital design tools. In some cases, this means viewing and exploring digital renderings of others’ PCB designs.
But some of these software programs also allow for the actual step-by-step creation of circuit boards. Still, the practice might be more engaging to people without experience if it were presented through a game. It’s actually quite easy to imagine a mobile or PC game, in particular, that would present challenges and guide players through PCB design in order to solve them.
Achievements, awards, and progress (the things that keep gamers playing) could be built based on successful electrical engineering, and soon enough players would be picking up the skill.
Social Media Literacy
In the modern world, social media is not a hobby or a luxury — it’s a skill, and one that we all need to navigate everyday life. Even if you’re not someone who works online or spends time on your own accounts, knowing how to understand social media is a necessity. It exposes you to news, keeps you connected with others, and can even provide you with social outlets or work opportunities.
There’s also more to learn than it seems. Look through Medium’s list of must-have skills for aspiring social media specialist and you’ll likely see a few skills you never really thought about (like trend awareness or deciphering analytics).
And while you don’t necessarily need to master all of these just to be literate in social media, the more you know the better. Regardless of specifics though, this is another subject that could be taught through a game. A mobile experience challenging players to accomplish various things with various types of social posts (perhaps imitating different real-world networks) could actually be pretty competitive and engaging.
It wouldn’t hurt for a few video games to teach us about the blockchain, either. The blockchain is basically the technological ledger that houses cryptocurrency transactions. But it’s also being used in other ways now, such that all kinds of communications, deals, and transactions are able to occur in a purely digital manner.
It’s possible that as the blockchain expands further into day-to-day life, it will be presented in a way that demands very little of the average person. Functionally, that is, we might not have to make any changes, even if some of the things we’re doing online are operating via blockchain.
Still, people should begin to develop an understanding of how blockchain tech works, and even how to send and receive cryptocurrency. Teaching all of this directly through a game might be somewhat tiresome — but a lifestyle simulation game in which blockchain simply happened to be the norm for handling transactions could be an excellent training tool for the modern world.
Most video games aren’t primarily concerned with gaming, in the end. But there’s nothing stopping clever developers from teaching practical skills by way of fun, engaging games. And these are just some of the possibilities that come to mind.