7 Times Gamer Skills Came in Handy in Real Life

Far from causing antisocial behavior, playing computer games can actually help you in the real world.
Christopher McFadden
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Playing video games gets a bad rep from time to time. But, as these stories will attest, the skills acquired when playing games can actually help save lives!



How do video games help you in real life?

Apart from the various interesting skills that video games can provide to players, they can also help you in many other ways in real life.

Games can, for example, help you relax and relieve anxiety and stress -- putting aside the game rage, of course!

What are some examples of gamer skills being used in real life?

Not only is gaming great for relaxing, but it can also (on occasion) actually save lives too. Here are some examples of how gaming skills can actually help people in the real world. 

1. This kid saved his sister (and himself) from a moose thanks to his gamer skills

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And they say video games rot your brain.

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Back in 2007, a 12-year-old Norwegian boy actually managed to save his and his sister's life thanks to the skills he'd acquired playing computer games. The boy, Hans Jørgen Olsen, put the skills he'd gained playing "World in Warcraft" to great effect.

When he and his sister were confronted by a moose, he immediately set about "taunting" it to draw its attention. This freed his sister to run away to safety.

With the moose keeping Olsen in its sights, he feigned death (a skill he had picked up at level 30 in the game). The moose eventually lost interest and left the boy alone. 

In the game, this skill (well spell) is used to convince enemy units that the player had indeed died. By doing so they lose all ingrained animosity and leave the player's character alone. 

2. Another kid saved his friends' lives thanks to "Counter-Strike"

games save lives counter strike
Source: gamebanana

Back in 2013, another 12-year-old managed to save his and his friends' lives thanks to the skills he'd learned playing "Counter-Strike." Jose Darwin Graviano and his friends were playing on the streets of their home city of Mandaue in the Philippines when they stumbled across some interesting looking objects.

Being curious and adventurous children, they decided to investigate the mysterious objects more closely. On closer inspection, Graviano immediately recognized them for what they really were.

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He'd seen them before in the popular shooting game "Counter-Strike" and immediately told his friends to put them down until police could be notified. What the children had uncovered was a small cache of hand grenades.

If it hadn't been for Graviano's timely intervention, his friends' game could have turned very deadly indeed. 

3. "Grand Theft Auto" helped save this little boy from a car crash

games save lives gta
Source: justinianlui/Flickr

Back in 2014, an 11-year-old boy managed to save his and his grandfather's lives thanks to his time playing "GTA." While navigating traffic, his grandfather blacked out at the wheel leaving them both in very real danger of a serious crash.

Charley Cullen immediately noticed the danger and managed to take control of the car to avoid incoming traffic until the car had stopped. The car eventually collided with a wall while he attempted to rouse his grandfather.

Cullen suffered a serious head injury but made a complete recovery. When interviewed about the incident, Cullen credited his driving skills to the game. 

4. This chap saved another man's life thanks to the game "America's Army"

Back in 2007, Paxton Galvanek managed to save another person's life thanks to his time playing "America's Army." While driving, he spotted an SUV flip upside down.

Galvanek slammed on the brakes and rushed to the scene. The SUV began billowing smoke, and he started pulling the stricken passengers from the wreckage.

Without any medical training, Galvanak aided one victim (who'd lost some of their fingers) by using a towel to staunch their bleeding wounds. He also advised the victim to raise his hand over his head to prevent restrict further blood flow and prevent dangerous clotting.

Without any official medical training, he'd learned some basic first aid thanks to the "Medic Training" section of the game. 

5. This Canadian teen managed to prevent a suicide

One East Hampton teenager actually managed to prevent suicide thanks to his time playing games online. While normally a literal cesspool of hate, there are times when online gaming can show the brighter side of humanity.

The teen, Reilly Howard, was playing a computer game when one of his online gamer acquaintances called him up. His friend, who lived hundreds of miles away, began telling Howard how he'd thought about ending his own life. 

Howard, realizing the very serious danger, began talking to calm the boy down over the phone. 

“I took it [seriously]. I stayed on the line and I just kept reassuring him you’ve got a lot to live for,” Howard explained in an interview

He eventually persuaded the boy to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Howard stayed in regular contact with his new friend and has since been hailed as a hero by his local school.

6. Video games speed up stroke-victim recovery

Researchers have found that playing computer games can actually speed up stroke-victim recovery. Normally recovery from a stroke is a very time consuming and slow process, but video games appear to be of help in speeding it up. 

The research showed that playing either Nintendo Wii or Sony Playstation games was five times more effective at improving arm motor function and cognitive function. This has been attributed to the fact that playing video games provides both physical and mental stimulation. 

Video games are constantly changing, which requires the player to adapt and change strategies. This, the research shows, helped the patients' brains improve by augmenting neuroplasticity. 

7. "Pokemon Go!" helps fight depression and anxiety

The popular augmented reality game "Pokemon Go!" has been shown to actually fight depression and anxiety. According to various reports, the game has actually helped a large number of people get out and about and meet people.

As the game encourages social interaction and exercise, many depressed and anxious individuals were able to socialize with other like-minded players. By getting out of the house and gathering with others, the game provided an immediate ice-breaker between strangers. 

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