Can the make-believe playgrounds of gaming really be classrooms teaching the art of self preservation? Yes they can. And the stories we've gathered here are the proof. From the slightly light-hearted to the very deadly serious, this is the evidence that videogames really can save lives.
"Grand Theft Auto saved me from a potentially serious accident"
Blogger Dan Johnson-Weinberger (pictured right) recounted how a personal near-nasty automotive mishap convinced him that Grand Theft Auto was "the best drivers education course in the World." Having played GTA III "quite a bit" Johnson-Weinberger learnt that the quickest way to stop a vehicle in game was to hit the brake and pull the emergency brake - a skill that ultimately saved his real life from a very "potentially serious accident".
This is how Johnson-Weinberger explains what happened: "So one day I'm driving back from Springfield (before I found the only civilized way to travel on Amtrak) in a winter storm. I'm driving up an entrance ramp too quickly and I start to spin out, skidding sideways up the ramp and in danger of rolling off the ramp. The foot brakes are useless, as I'm fishtailing wildly. Instinctively I reach for the emergency brake and pull it, cutting my fishtail radius in half instantly and I come to a calm stop, perpendicular to the ramp.
"Hours of playing Grand Theft Auto had trained me to pull the emergency brake when I lose control of the car."
To read Dan Johnson-Weinberger's account in its full context, visit his blog, Progressive Advocacy.
"I feigned death, just like in level 30 in World of Warcraft"
Did you hear the one about the 12 year old Norwegian boy who saved his sister by shouting at an attacking moose and then feigning death "just like in level 30 in World of Warcraft" to avoid being moose mauled himself? He survived to tell the tale to online Norwegian news site Nettavisen. Thankfully, the desperately needed punch line to this amusing story was provided by WOW geeks who stepped up to comment threads to flex their referential funniness. Here's a few of our favourites:
"If he was a good hunter he would have let the moose kill his sister, then feign death as it came for him. When it dropped aggro, hop up and use Jumper Cables on her."
"This is what happens when Misdirection is applied correctly to a member of your party."
"I say we get a 25 man together and go after the Moose. Moose have a hot lewt table."
If that style of WoW humour tickles your funny stick, you can find plenty more wisecracks about the moose story here and here.