Remember those people who would gather together, rolling dice and drinking Mountain Dew? Well, it turns out they might have been onto something with their "Dungeons and Dragons" escapades.
Role-playing games, as well as video games in the same vein, can teach both kids and adults about more than just what happens when you roll a critical fail in the middle of combat. RPGs teach players how to handle complicated problems, but in a fake-stressful environment. If you can deal with a rampaging dragon blasting your troupe with armor-melting fire, a work debacle can seem much simpler.
Strategy of Life
These types of games are often based on question and answer strategy—to learn whether or not this peddler is trustworthy, you have to ask him the right questions. Another skill that translates perfectly into the real world. Along with learning other strategies beneficial to every day life, online casino play has seen a boost in users.
Because RPG games often force you to work in a group toward a common goal, they also teach the benefits of working together instead of for a single player's benefit. Learning to work with people of different skill sets and different strengths and weaknesses can be very beneficial in all sorts of real-life environments. Working on a group project, organizing a fundraiser with different parties or just being in a work environment with different personalities and goals can be a challenge if you have never had to work together as a team. And in games like Dungeons and Dragons, if you can't work together, at least one of you is toast.
"Farmville" for Real
RPGs may only sound relevant to teenagers, slashing through their homework to get to the next level in an alternate universe. However, Boston University scholar Dr. Pablo Suarez is helping millions of farmers cultivate their crops through the use of RPGs and social gaming. Interesting combination? Indeed. According to treehugger.com, Suarez says that community participation and entertainment can be used to transmit knowledge. Working alongside the Red Cross, Suarez travels throughout places like Africa and South America, teaching farming communities to play games that help farmers better understand the implications and potential impacts of climate change.
Groups huddle together and discuss strategy -- deciding whether to spread out to cover for losses in case of a disaster, or to trust the odds and concentrate most people in the middle without protection. Participants get a sense of simple climate politics as leaders emerge and debates sway the outcome. This method of teamwork is effective on a scale of political and communal stability, and eventually helps the communities thrive in crop structure.
Games like "Dungeons and Dragons," as well as virtual RPG games like "Skyrim" and "Mass Effect," usually come imbued with a sense of morality—your decisions have consequences, and based on those decisions the path your story takes will change. This aspect, not seen in most other types of games, can have an obvious beneficial effect on players. If you've learned that your decisions have consequences in the virtual or fantasy world, then it is clear that they also have consequences in the real world.
Strictly in a gaming sense, this allows for much more complex game play. As a character moves through the world, his or her decisions have an effect on the rest of his story. Decide to kill this guard instead of sneak past him? That will have a consequence later. This also gets players more bang for their buck, because if you decide to play the game one way, you can go back to the beginning, make different kinds of choices and play a totally different game.
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