Oh, the places you'll go
For many young adults, this will be the last summer before they embark on their own quest of higher education. Whether you call it college or university (depending on your geographic region), its a huge step in life as you start to learn more about yourself and how many classes you can miss in a semester. Youll join clubs and societies youll forget about in a month, and live in houses that wouldnt be fit for Fallouts wasteland, all for a degree that will say youre really smart.
But if youre anything like us, a lot of your worldview will have already been molded by constant video game binges and as you can guess, thats a very good thing indeed. They've been teaching you the sort of skills and tips for how to survive when making that first decisive step into the mysterious world of being a full-time student. You might not know it, but with these tricks under your belt, youll be ready to get through college as if it were nothing more than a tutorial.
How to organize a dorm room
Depending on your circumstance, youll either be in a room that's half the size of most cupboards or you'll be sharing with someone else. Usually, its both. Its time to get used to a severely diminutive amount of space that will make you miss the tiny briefcases in Resident Evil 4. Now obviously youll need one or more consoles, the TV, and the stack of games youve been promising yourself youll finish at some point. But what if the worst happens and your roommate doesnt understand?
What you need is some organization. Like us, youve probably spent countless hours of time fiddling around with cramming those impossibly large guns into the briefcase in Deus Ex. So when you finally take that first step into your living space, itll doubtlessly be just like a game of real-world Tetris, your brain all ready to organize stuff. However, unlike Tetris, once everythings been organized, it wont disappear before your eyes! Or at least it shouldnt Once its all over, youll have enough space to navigate from your bed to the door, which is really all you use anyway.
How to socialize like crazy
Everythings unpacked and your furniture isn't threatening to collapse and crush you anytime soon. Its time to venture out and meet the people who will be your new best friends or the people you wont ever see again after the first two weeks. Lets pretend its the first one, because these folks will be the ones who will end up staying up all hours with you, indulging you in just one more game of Battlefield, because youll finally win this time! (They will then beat you 5-0 and crush your dreams.)
Before all of that though, you need to get your chat on. Mass Effects Shepard spent most of his/her time running up to strangers and having a natter with them about their life or the fate of the galaxy without the least bit of social anxiety. And if youve played Skyrim, youll have spent hours running about in search of someone or something to natter with. Now were guessing your college wont be Winterfell, so, alas, that means the only quest youll be given is to get the beers.
How to not drink too much
Alcohol is a constant for most students during their time at university. Just trying to escape it is actually pretty much impossible. From the student bars to the casual meet-ups and everything that lies between, there will be plenty of booze and moderation--for everything in life, except game difficulty--is crucial. No one wants to be the person who's trundled home at midnight because theyve had one too many Jagerbombs.
Rockstar games in particular have been preaching this for years. GTA IV helped you see what its like being really hammered without raining destruction on your liver, with the hilariously uncontrollable Niko stumbling around aimlessly as if the pavement was coated in butter. But thats nothing compared to poor old Max Payne. His alcoholism may have paved the way for some cool sounding noir narrations, but it also meant he couldnt walk into bar without getting shot at. Obviously thats a subtle meta-textual hint that alcohol equals bad. It cant be because bars are an awfully cool place to shower goons in lead-based death, surely?
How to get the most from your surroundings
Money is the one word that can reduce most students to shivering wrecks. The mere thought of student loans no, lets not even talk about them. Lets think about all the essentials youll need to buy, like food, textbooks, and Steam sales that are always on. Within months, youll be scavenging for anything that looks like it could be of use and comes at the lower than low price of free.
That's where Borderlands 2 comes in. The shoot and loot gem will have hopefully taught you well, as just like that crack squad of vault hunters, youre going to be scouring every corner and inch of the dorm halls to find something of value, although unlike Borderlands 2, you wont ever ignore something just because it isnt rare enough. Still, if you grab a list of shooters, close your eyes and point to one, youll get a game that will have taught the same lesson. Call of Duty? Far Cry 3? Dead Island? Doesnt matter, its definitely skilled you in the art of grabbing items that may be useful. Eventually.
How to (almost) eat healthy
Cooking is something youre going to have to do at some point. Sure, surviving purely on chicken-flavored noodles and delivery pizza for a year might sound like a childhood dream come true, but that childhood dream straight up lied to you. A bit of variety is essential and that includes making a token attempt at incorporating fruit and vegetables into your diet, just like when you force yourself to do a story mission in GTA because you know youre supposed to.
Anyway, there are plenty of games that have hinted at the idea of a healthy diet. San Andreas had CJ go a bit round around the edges after a few too many visits to Burger Shot and closet survival dieting simulator/stealth classic Metal Gear Solid 3 had Snake having to source his own, usually very aggressive, food in the jungle. In one of those rare occasions where real-life has the edge over games, unlike Big Boss, you wont ever have to worry about your food trying to kill you, so venture into the kitchen.
How to repair items of worth
As your savings start to trickle away, the pressure is on to make things last. Maybe its that ripped shirt or the laptop has developed a battery lifespan of approximately 45 seconds, but get ready for everything to break, all the time. Heres where a can-do attitude is required to stay on top of it, lest youre facing a dorm room with a mountain of scrap and a hefty bill to sort it all out.
If youve managed to avoid The Last Of Us, then its time to dig it out, be blown away, and then learn about resourcefulness. Joel and Ellie might be scraping themselves across Clicker country--officially the worst kind of country--but every item they find counts, even if its just so Ellie can keep up on the storyline of the comic Savage Starlight. Its not just The Last Of Us though--Burnout Paradise scattered auto-repair shops across its city like repair-y confetti. You drove your battered car through them and bam; beautiful again, slyly making you become obsessed with keeping all your items in tip-top condition.
How to pay attention
None of the professors are expecting perfection, but they hope people will pay attention and read around the subject. Downloading a few PowerPoint slides and doing a quick Wikipedia scan isnt going to be enough--you need to hit the books hard, and not in a Street Fighter kind of way. Youll find yourself braving trips to the library, only for it to turn into procrastination oclock, spent reading your favorite site GamesRadar (right?) and forgetting why you went in the first place.
Gaming has been teaching you to read around the subject for a while now. Remember hunting for audio dairies in the original Bioshock? Trying to find all the intel items in Spec Ops: The Line? Pretty much the same as studying for a dissertation. You spend ages hunting for scraps of info as you want to know as much as possible about the doomed-filled hellholes the games created. The only major difference is that at the end of the dissertation, the Achievement you get will give you more of a chance of getting a job.
With all the advice gaming has been providing, when the time for moving to college or university comes, there wont be any problems to deal with whatsoever apart from remembering to do all the boring stuff that gaming hasnt taught us about. With those lessons over, why not tell us how youll be implementing them in the comments below?
If you found this article useful, you should see what your life as a gamer from cradle to grave is going to be like video game characters we'd hate to befriend in real life.