Are You Learning Anything From Video Games?

We as gamers spend many hours of our day playing video games. We take to our consoles or our PCs to spend hours playing games like Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Battlefield and Skyrim.

But are we learning anything from our experiences?

In certain games I think we are learning something. In most games, we're not truly learning anything.

Take the Assassin's Creed series. A series based on going back through history and experiencing certain time periods. Assassin's Creed II with Renaissance Italy, Assassin's Creed III with the time of the American Revolution and Assassin's Creed IV at the time when piracy was very much alive.

Players are learning something. In particular moments throughout the game, either by completing certain missions or exploring certain areas of the world, players would get a message that the database has been updated. These updates would contain information on historical architectures and landmarks that many people today still talk about and can still visit today.

Landmarks of Assassin's Creed 3 for instance can still be visited in modern day Boston.

L.A. Noire did this as well with landmarks players would stumble upon by exploring the huge world of late 1940s Los Angeles.

Players would be learning something about historic locations and landmarks from these games, but are other games besides Assassin's Creed and L.A. Noire teaching gamers something?

Many would argue that violent video games today, reaching the level of 'reality' that they are, is teaching players in certain things such as shooting guns, killing people, and most recently, hacking.

Are players really absorbing anything from blasting away their assault rifles in Call of Duty? Do players really know how to operate a jet in real life like they can in Battlefield? If you hack in Watch_Dogs can you hack in real life now?

Are you learning anything from those video games?

No, because you are pretending.

 You are not learning how to actually fire an assault rifle and kill somebody in real life.
You are not really shooting an assault rifle simply because you did it in Call of Duty. You're pressing a button and information is being sent to the game and the game is reacting to the information you sent it. If you were to use a real assault rifle, it would not sound the same and it would not have the same characteristics of the assault rifle you used in the game. You would not know how to field strip the weapon and how to repair any broken parts that are found within the weapon.

You are pretending to fire an assault rifle.

You felt a rumble in your controller after firing the gun, in real life there is not going to be a little rumble felt in the palm of your hand. Your arm is going to feel something and if you're not strong enough or properly adjusted to firing the bolt action rifle you used in COD. Chances are you're going to break your arm.

You were pretending to feel recoil.

You managed to hack into that security camera from your smartphone in Watch_Dogs. Did you learn how to hack a security camera in real life? No. You could have the most recent and up to date smartphone in the palm of your hand looking at the camera. There is no instant hack button on your phone and chances are you don't even really know how to begin hacking into that security camera.

You were pretending to hack.

You brought your fallen  teammate back from the dead in Battlefield. That sniper may have gotten that headshot but your defibrillator has brought him back to full health.

Do I even need to say it?

You managed to become a master at driving in Grand Theft Auto. Do you know how to drive in real life? No.

Driving in real life is a lot more complex and difficult in real life. It's not something anybody can just pick up and start doing. You also can't do the same things you did in GTA and expect to do it in real life.

You were pretending to drive sports cars.

Are You Learning Anything From Video Games?

Yes and No.

Certain games do educate the player in certain things such as history.  Assassin's Creed and L.A. Noire are teaching you about historic landmarks and real places that exist today. These landmarks will have the same historic information that they do in real life as they do in the video game.

Call of Duty and Watch_Dogs do not teach the player anything. At least, anything that can be used in real life.

Because it is all pretend.

We are pretending to shoot high powered sniper rifles and machine guns in Call of Duty.

We are pretending to fly a high speed stealth jet in Battlefield 4.

We are pretending to drive a sports car in Grand Theft Auto V.

We are pretending to be experiencing something. We are not actually experiencing the act of murder or the act of hacking.

We are pretending.

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