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Do Videogame Skills Transfer To Real Life?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the i'm-a-superlative-tomb-raider dept.

Games 207

macshune writes "Lately, I've been wanting to try my hand at firearms, just to see if a youth spent playing Duck Hunt and an adolescence playing FPS games has given me a preternatural shooting ability. This got me thinking, do videogame skills, both reaction-based and of other kinds, transfer to real life? My friends that play D&D are good storytellers, but do games like Counter-Strike build teamwork skills? Inquiring minds want to know!"

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Hrmmm.... (5, Funny)

consolidatedbord (689996) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573556)

Now only if cheat codes transferred to real life!

Daytona USA saved my ass... (3, Interesting)

macshune (628296) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575632)

One reason I submitted this Ask Slashdot was because my ass has been saved by video game skuh-zills in the past.

Right after I got my license a few years after age 16, I had a truck and too much testosterone. I was driving down this long, paved road out in the middle of nowhere when all of a sudden I see the stop sign someways off. Now, I'm going about 80mph on what is little more than a long driveway. I hit the brakes and they lock up. All of a sudden I felt like I left my body and did some weird shit with the steering wheel and the stick-shift. All I can remember is something about Daytona USA. When I regained conscious control, I'm about four-feet away from a telephone pole near my door, in the gravel with a car just 10 feet away from my front bumper, probably wondering what the heck is going on.

I suppose this means I did the mother-of-all powerslides without flipping my truck or ending up smashed and possibly killed.

There are other stories too... But yeah, I believe that at least some video game skills transfer to real life, especially sega race car skills:)

Windows is hated by no one?! (-1)

users.pl (689022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573560)

windows (452268) [slashdot.org] is hated by no one?!

It is your duty as a Slashdot reader to officially and formally hate windows. [slashdot.org] Slashdot is impure until windows' freaks outnumber it's fans! Strike down this vile evil corporate monster today! Show it how much you hate it. Do Slashdot a favor and bloat windows' freaks [slashdot.org] list!

instrument flying and flight sims (5, Interesting)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573613)

My first time flying, we flew through a cloud layer heading back to the airport. I flew the approach perfectly, only having to ask where certain knobs were on the kind of plane we were flying.

I definitely wouldn't have been able to do that without the hours and hours I spent on MS Flight Simulator (many of which, admittedly, were spent ramming into the Sears Tower in my Cessna :-p).

Re:instrument flying and flight sims (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8573810)

FYI - The USAF gives half-time credit for flight sims including PC based ones like MS's. I.e. spend eight hours on a sim and log four hours of whatever craft you were flying.

(Posting AC as I've already moderated in this thread.)

Re:instrument flying and flight sims (5, Interesting)

Cecil (37810) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574145)

Perhaps the USAF has more lenient standards. The FAA, on the other hand, has not licensed MS Flight Sim. 2000, at least, had numerous painfully glaring flaws in its physics model when I tried it. Everything from turbulence to clouds to icing, ground effect, all sorts of things were lacking or poorly implemented. Yes, I am a pilot.

X Plane [x-plane.com] , on the other hand, is FAA-certified. In fact, its physics model is so extensive that it is able to determine handling characteristics based on aerofoil shapes (and has been used to model such characteristics before). It still isn't quite realistic in every regard, but it's a far sight better than MS Flight Sim.

Re:instrument flying and flight sims (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574749)

Doesn't posting at all, AC or not, remove the moderation?

Re:instrument flying and flight sims (1)

Random832 (694525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574938)

that wouldn't make sense - you could just log out and post anyway.

Re:instrument flying and flight sims (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574044)

The FBI will be right with you to ask a few friendly, patriotic questions. :)

Re:instrument flying and flight sims (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574754)

Heh... I dare you to find anyone who owns the sim who hasn't tried...

This was before Sept. 11th, too.

Re:instrument flying and flight sims (2, Interesting)

badfrog (45310) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575287)

Actually, it was kind of disturbing after 9/11 to realize one of my favorite tricks on Flight Simulator II (Sublogic, before purchased by Microsoft) was to try to fly BETWEEN the WTC towers.
It was tricky too... Had to get completely sideways with enough speed to get level again.

Re:instrument flying and flight sims (1)

Q-Mont (761460) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574074)

In the Air Force, for example, the future pilots use flight sims to gain valuable experience with flying before trying the $300 million F/A-22. It's basically a video game, and it seems to work (otherwise my guess would be that they would stop using them). Now I wonder if I could join MI-6 if I showed them my skills with an RCP-90 and a Sentinel Rocket Launcher? ^_^

Re:instrument flying and flight sims (4, Interesting)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574082)

The staff at places like Air Combat USA [aircombatusa.com] have repeatedly admitted that people who play air-combat simulations, particularly against real opponents, do much better in the mock combat they present. One of the things that is the most difficult to learn is SA (Situational Awareness) -- the ability to keep track of where the other plane is relative to yours when both are maneuvering, with the basic ACM (Air Combat Maneuvers) being secondary, and air-combat simulations give the opportunity to learn those skills without the penalties that failure in a real airplane would produce.

Fast Reactions... (5, Funny)

tktk (540564) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573614)

I've found that I've got faster reaction times than most of my friends. I spent a year working at a daycare, and I could consistently catch babies before they fell and hit their heads.

But this discussion begs the question of whether game players develop fast reactions or whether people with fast reactions play games regularly.

Re:Fast Reactions... (1)

pudding7 (584715) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573733)

Kinda like the old "Do you play D&D because you're a geek, or are you a geek because you play D&D?"

Re:Fast Reactions... (3, Funny)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575067)

The answer to that one is most definitely both. D&D represents a vicious cycle into ultimate geek oblivion.

Re:Fast Reactions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574299)

I have found my professional life much improved from my experience playing video games.

My boss promoted me over three senior employees, and I attribute it all to the skills picked up playing this game [syberpunk.com] .

I recommend that every /.er take time out from his busy schedule and "have a fun" [syberpunk.com] with this game ASAP. It could be the one move that saves your career.

Re:Fast Reactions... (1)

jakoz (696484) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574416)

Kind of disturbing that on here, a comment about babies hitting their heads that was probably meant to be serious gets rated as funny. ;)

Re:Fast Reactions... (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575654)

Well, babies fall and hit their heads all the time. What can you do but laugh?

Haven't you heard? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8573626)

FPS games teach our children to kill! What are they called again...ah yes, murder simulators!


Of course, that's what irresponsible parents and clueless politicans would like you to think.

FPS skillz != firearm skills (5, Interesting)

PeteyG (203921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573634)

I consider myself a pretty good shot (in CS, Day of Defeat, Quake, etc). However, about a while ago I had the opportunity to fire several clips (or magazines? I forget) with a 9mm pistol in a large group of other first time shooters.

When we got the targets back, and the scores were compared, I was significantly below average. I am quite certain that I was well above the average of that groups FPS skills as well.

On the other hand, my good friend, who was a computer gamer but NOT a very good FPS player, joined the military and quickly earned expert marksman qualifications on both rifles and pistols.

There is absolutely no correlation.

Re:FPS skillz != firearm skills (3, Informative)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573870)

Yup big difference between being able to hit something with a cursor or a light gun and being able to hit it with actual lead.

FPSes and games like Duck hunt ignore so many things that an actual marksman will take into account when aiming. Wind, distance, the characteristics of the gun/ammo in question, slight inaccuracies in optics, etc.

Re:FPS skillz != firearm skills (5, Interesting)

gruntled (107194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573954)

I agree that you'll never learn to properly aim a firearm via first person shooter; in fact this is one of my primary arguments against those loons who say Doom and its ilk teach kids how to shoot. No sights = no training.

I have, however, actually taught people to sight using a light gun. The sighting is somewhat less accurate than you'd get with a real weapon (light guns are more charitable), but you can definitely learn the principles of accurate shooting. I hadn't fired a weapon in nearly 20 years, but was impressing the hell out of my future father-in-law three months ago using a heavy frame 22 pistol, something I largely attribute to continued practice with light guns over the years (although the fact that I was on the pistol team in college may have had something to do with it).

Re:FPS skillz != firearm skills (1)

blindbat (189141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574955)

I think the complaint against the games was not about that it made people accurate with firearms but made them shoot without the hesitation they claimed "normal" people had.

Re:FPS skillz != firearm skills (1)

gruntled (107194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575364)

Yeah, I suppose some people believe that's the case. But I remember some years ago interviewing an "expert" who claimed the Corps was using Doom to train shooters, and I challenged him to name the facility and program where that was taking place (he named a base, which, when I checked it out, was not doing so). He kept insisting that U.S. Marines were learning how to shoot using Doom, which is nuts, because you simply *cannot* get anything about shooting from a game that doesn't let you sight your target. This guy knew weapons, but it eventually became clear that even had never even seen Doom, much less played it, or he wouldn't have made the claim.

Re:FPS skillz != firearm skills (4, Insightful)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574041)

Same here. I'm deadly accurate in light gun games, and with the sniper rifle in Q3 and CS...I've fired 9mm guns, .45s, etc.

If you're shooting not expecting the full pyhsical force of the kick, it totally messes up your aim, moreso than someone who's coming in not expecting anything.

A gamer's going to level his sights, and expect to hit where the crosshairs says he's going to him. The normal guy's going to aim lower like the people teaching them tell them to.

Re:FPS skillz != firearm skills (2, Insightful)

Visigothe (3176) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574275)

>>The normal guy's going to aim lower like the people teaching them tell them to.

Interesting. I am not much of a gun person, but I am an archer. In my experience [and instruction] I was always told to aim higher than what I thought to be "correct"

Obviously they are totally different animals, but an interesting observation

Re:FPS skillz != firearm skills (1)

gruntled (107194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574468)

Hmm. I've shot bow too (but I'm not an archer). Agree with you that bow is aimed above your target; pistol/rifle rifle typically have target sitting right on top of properly calibrated sights. But I always assumed that was due to velocity/distance involved. That is, firing at a distant target, rifle/pistol as well have to aim higher....

Re:FPS skillz != firearm skills (3, Informative)

zelphior (668354) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574975)

some people say to aim a gun lower than where you want to hit because they instinctively flinch just before pulling the trigger. This flinch brings the barrel up slightly, and hopefully into the general vicinity of the target. However, a good marksman knows to control the flinch reaction, and thus aim exactly where they want their shot to go.

A Sniper (or anyone going for a long distance shot) adjust their sights so that the barrel of the gun is above the target to account for the fact that the bullet drops as it flies towards the target.

Re:FPS skillz != firearm skills (2, Insightful)

SeanAhern (25764) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574282)

There is absolutely no correlation.

Strictly speaking, your stories would argue for "negative" correlation, not "no" correlation.

However, I'm sure plenty of people could tell the opposite story.

Chess (4, Funny)

NetDanzr (619387) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573652)

I found that playing chess on computer has greatly increased my umm... chess playing skills.

Re:Chess (0, Redundant)

mandalayx (674042) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575636)

Hey, PartyPoker [partypoker.com] has sharpened my poker skills too :)

Yes they do (4, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573661)

They most definitely do. The problem is they get no respect. For example, only people with exceptional leadership and social skills can become great captains in a game like puzzle pirates. But you can't put that on your resume. You'll only get hired on the rare rare rare chance that the person hiring is a player.

Of course other skills go over as well. Problem solving, hand eye coordination, etc. etc. But in this world nobody will care unless you've done something "real".

Re:Yes they do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8573750)

Yep, that's the problem with the real world... so focused on "real" accomplishments

Re:Yes they do (2, Insightful)

Frnknstn (663642) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573763)

Absolutely not. When was the last time you played CS? The only social skills you could learn from it are sexism, racism, and smack talk.

As for the 'computer games develop hand eye coordination' myth, there is almost no correlation between computer use and real-world coordination skills. All the headshots in the world won't help you catch a ball.

Real hand/eye coordination is not just 'you see something, you move your hand.' It is about developing psycho perceptual models of the world through physical feedback and spatial awareness.

Re:Yes they do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574169)

Absolutely not. When was the last time you played CS? The only social skills you could learn from it are sexism, racism, and smack talk.

You probably only say that because you're bad at it, you mexican jew lizard [penny-arcade.com] .

Definitely (4, Interesting)

neostorm (462848) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573663)

I'd say that many skills from gaming definitely transfer to real world scenarios. Things that I have noticed personally are elements of resource management from RTS's applying to efficient living in the real world. Critical thinking and decision making can be taken away from nearly any game, from snap-decisions in FPS games to strategic ones in Strategy.
I'm not so sure about social skills, but efficient team work definitely grows when playing a team game, regardless of the genre.

Something I've noticed before is that it's not so much the subject of the game that is conveyed to our minds, but the mode of thinking that are minds are forced into after hours of play. We begin to think more like machines, efficient decisions, precise moves, cunning strategies, and these roll over into the real world more than raw knowledge (which is something that edutainment hasn't really touched on yet).

I'd have to say that physical actions are something that have very little chance of transferring to the real world, though. Games are nearly an entirely mental experience, and the player is usually quite detached aside from the usual hand-eye coordination. Firing guns and playing sports are entirely different actions on the screen and off.

Re:Definitely (5, Funny)

Harassed (166366) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574280)

Things that I have noticed personally are elements of resource management from RTS's applying to efficient living in the real world. Yeah, I've found that too. In fact, I've got the kids out back in the yard collecting food and my wife is chopping up a tree for the wood. Meanwhile I've got the dog digging in the basement for gold and I'm nearly finished building a new wonder on the patio :)

Bravo (4, Insightful)

vga_init (589198) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574881)

After reading the question, I was prepared to write a response that was very similar. So similar, in fact, that you've pretty much summed up everything that I would have said.

Reading through the many responses, it is obvious that the vast majority of posters are seriously preoccupied with guns. While many games have guns in them, many do not, and, setting all that aside, this is hardly important at all.

What many people fail to realize is that what people really gain from playing games is much more abstract. The things you learn to do don't really have anything to do with actual firearms (or cars, or anything else mentioned). As you have put it, they teach modes of behaivor and ways of thinking.

There are other benefits that deal with general knowledge; that is, you can learned raw facts from a game, but usually this is not the case.

Re:Definitely (1)

mandalayx (674042) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575681)

Things that I have noticed personally are elements of resource management from RTS's applying to efficient living in the real world. Critical thinking and decision making can be taken away from nearly any game, from snap-decisions in FPS games to strategic ones in Strategy.

I completely agree that RTS's can develop your critical thinking and decision making skills in allocating scarce resources.

However RPS fanatics miss a key point of real-life managerial decisions--coming up with creative, nonstandard solutions that often would NOT be possible within the framework of a Warcraft game. For example, if you have no more peons, surely the warriors could carry the gold at 1% of the speed. Or many of the uncertainties: people flake out in real life.

At the end of the day, a master RPG player is just a master of making many complex decisions but only in a highly stylized (simplified) system.

Hand to Eye Co-ordination (0)

Plake (568139) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573678)

I must say from years of FPS, side scrollers, etc... I've become very quick and acurate with my hand to eye (and even foot) skills.

I have played sports for my hole life (hockey, golf, baseball) and I can't deny the relation between the two but I'd have to say it didn't hurt me.

Firearms (4, Interesting)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573700)

It depends on what type of shooting you're doing.

Twitch as in skeet or practical pistol, will probably be helped by anything that improves reaction time and hand eye co-ordination.

Logic as in 1500yd or three positional will probably not be helped by having a lightning reflex.

The important question of shoot or not shoot is probably fucked up beyond all recognition in those that play FPS.

"Well officer, the victim suddenly popped up from behind a crate so I fired a warning shot through her chest. Better safe than sorry"

Re:Firearms (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574339)

"Well officer, the victim suddenly popped up from behind a crate so I fired a warning shot through her chest. Better safe than sorry"

I've never played this "Real Life" game you talk about, but by your description I am sure the admin just forgot to turn off the frindly fire.

Re:Firearms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574408)

I've never played this "Real Life" game you talk about, but by your description I am sure the admin just forgot to turn off the frindly fire.

The admin didn't turn off friendly fire because the game was never intended to be PvP in the first place.

Re:Firearms (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574431)

Oh yeah, how do you know?

I attribute my pilot's license to simulator time (4, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573708)

I solo'd at 12 hrs. I took my flight exam at 42hrs. The averages for both (respectively) are ~18-20 hrs and ~50+hrs (some say 60).

While most PC based sims aren't certified as trainers there is still inherent value in things, like:

*Just shooting landings for a few hours to get the timing and visual cues of things down.

*Planning your cross country and then flying it virtually to make sure you've gotten everthing correct.

*Practicng stalls in a controlled environment

etc... Yes, PC games can give you skills that transfer to real life.

Laser Tag (3, Interesting)

Hythlodaeus (411441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573768)

The hands-on aspects of aiming and firing guns probably has nothing to do with FPS skills. On the other hand, I see a strong correlation between people who play FPS's and those who are able to effectively use cover in RL Laser Tag games.

Re:Laser Tag (1)

Xistic (536149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573976)

I'm pretty good at Quake 3 and I stink at Laser Tag. Especially in the finding and using cover department. Although, I don't think my "rocket jump crowd blitz" maneuver works very well in RL Laser Tag. =)


Re:Laser Tag (3, Interesting)

Clomer (644284) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574179)

I work for a laser tag arena as a marshal, so I play RL laser tag fairly regularily. I also enjoy FPS games like Quake 3 and UT 2004. I have noticed a definate correlation for the kinds of skills I use in both.

As I watch people play while I am on the job, I marvel at how some people are basicly clueless as to how to effectively use the cover that is provided in the arena. I doubt such people play FPS games on a regular basis, if at all. OTOH, there are people that instinctively use the cover effectively, and in many cases it's people that had never played before. I wouldn't be surprised if they do play FPS games, or perhaps have military training.

How this translates to useful real life skills I don't know, but there is something to be said for being good at on-the-spot tactical thinking.

Re:Laser Tag (1)

RustyTaco (301580) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574563)

Actually, I find the opposite. I've found myself being more aware of cover, and keeping an eye on the enemy sneaking around and flanking me, after started paintballing in January. Something about impending pain flying at you at 290 feet/s makes you more cognizant of how to avoid it.

- RustyTaco

Re:Laser Tag (2, Interesting)

Grym (725290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575243)


On my summers, when I was still in High School my parents would take me to Hilton Head where they had a deathmatch laser tag setup. Between my experiences in paintball for a couple years and playing FPS games since Wolfenstein I would absolutely clean house. Even the owners were impressed when I would beat them when they would cheat by wearing two vests or putting clothing overtop their sensors.

Tactics learned in deathmatch FPS games are vital for a good laser tag player such as: keeping on the move, learning the movement/attack patterns of other players, reducing the ability of your opponent to hit you by changing height (ducking or going to one knee) or rotating your torso to present a minimal target, randomly increasing or decreasing your speed to throw off the leading of other players, and most of all, establishing kill-priorities (knowing the chances someone has of killing you in a situation, so you can kill your opponents in the most efficient order.) Nearly none of these are skills you can learn outside of laser tag or first person shooters in civilian life.

There is no doubt in my mind that these skills, given some further refinement, would easily transfer over to real-life combat situations. In fact, if you want proof, look at the game America's Army. It makes perfect sense that the army would want to attract FPS gamers because of this.


Sounds familiar... (1)

sabNetwork (416076) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573770)

Would you happen to be interested in bowling [bowlingforcolumbine.com] , too?


Sounds familiar... (v1.0.1) (2, Funny)

sabNetwork (416076) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574021)

I've been wanting to try my hand at firearms, just to see if a youth spent playing Duck Hunt and an adolescence playing FPS games has given me a preternatural shooting ability.

You wouldn't happen to be into bowling [bowlingforcolumbine.com] , too, would you?

Someone arrest this man...


Re:Sounds familiar... (2, Informative)

GypC (7592) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574254)

Ah yes, "Bowling for Columbine", the answer to the age-old question, "when is a documentary not a documentary? [bowlingfortruth.com] "

Big Difference With Real Firearms (1)

stuffduff (681819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573789)

Newton's Third Law (for shooters): Firearms have a big kick. Generally, he bigger the caliber the bigger the kick. Start out with something lower in caliber and work your way up. If you're not careful, your shot will easily go wild and the kick might smack you right in the face. You are resopnsible for where that shot goes! Rather than just running out and buying a gun to try at home I'd suggest that you find an experienced shooter, join a club or take lessons before 'experimenting' with guns, especially handguns. Safety first!

Re:Big Difference With Real Firearms (2, Funny)

AnotherFreakboy (730662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574462)

Safety first!

This refers to the practise of checking that the safety is off before shooting civilians, yes?

Somebody mod parent Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8575002)

Wish I still had mod points, that is hilarious!

Re:Big Difference With Real Firearms (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575129)

If you're not careful, your shot will easily go wild and the kick might smack you right in the face.

Would anybody else pay to see that?

I don't think so (4, Informative)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573795)

With the caveat that I've spent a lot more time with real firearms than FPS games, my impression is that no, the skill doesn't transfer. Guns in games are much easier to use than real-world guns. The main differences that I can see are:
  • It's easier to aim in a game than real life. I suspect this is an intentional feature to make the game more fun to play.
  • Guns in most games never jam or misfire.
  • Guns in games require no cleaning, repair, or other maintenance.
  • Automatic weapons in games never seem to overheat.
  • Guns in games reload themselves automatically.
  • All the ammo you find lying around in heaps and mounds(!) is in excellent condition and is never booby-trapped.
  • Bullets in games don't ricochet, and shooting at brittle objects nearby (concrete walls, for example) never seems to spray you with high-velocity debris, nor does shot bounce around dangerously in enclosed spaces with hard surfaces.
  • The player character in most FPS games must have some sort of prosthetic ears, because not even a grenade detonation at close range ever seems to cause either temporary or permanent hearing loss.
  • Guns in games have no appreciable recoil.
...and so on. As for developing teamwork, you may have a point, but that probably applies to any team sport. Evidently, the Army seems to think that multiplayer FPS games might be good tactical training, and perhaps it is, but the Army makes soldiers get lots and lots practice with real guns.

Re:I don't think so (1)

pilybaby (638883) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574122)

Booby trapping the body armour in HL is always fun. It's just the shout of someone shouting "you smegging bastard!" from the other room that makes me giggle.

Re:I don't think so (1)

Siniset (615925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574498)

man, if only some game developer would read this comment. If they could make a game that included these characteristics, it would be pretty cool. I mean, I like myself a good game of counter-strike, but it would be really neat if the guns were actually balanced according to real life, not nerfed because of in-game play imbalances.

Re:I don't think so (4, Interesting)

Grym (725290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575438)

Bullets in games don't ricochet, and shooting at brittle objects nearby (concrete walls, for example) never seems to spray you with high-velocity debris, nor does shot bounce around dangerously in enclosed spaces with hard surfaces.

I had the opportunity over the summer to talk with a solider in the U.S. Special Forces, and, being a paintball player I asked him some questions regarding actual combat.

What surprised me the most was when I asked him how they handle people at the ends of long hallways. I know from paintball and FPS games that this can be one of the most frustrating situations.

He told me that what they do is "skip" bullets off the walls so they don't actually have to come around a corner to shoot the other soldiers. I immediately asked him "So, real bullets will bounce off regular walls if you shoot at a shallow enough angle?" His response? "You're daaamnn right they do...", with a smile.

That's an idea that I found very interesting because I've never seen an FPS game that tries to mimic this, and it's not really applicable in paintball where the balls have to be soft. I really hope that some games/mods in the future try to model this kind of stuff because it would definitely have an impact on the tactics and realism of the games.


chicken vs egg (three choice) problem (1)

eamonman (567383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573798)

Well, as a card carrying member of "I'm most certainly not wasting my time playing video games" club for the last 20+ years, I hope so! ;)
Really though, I think playing all those twitch games (Robotron, zookeeper, etc), racing games (Pole position to Daytona), sports games (Super Breakout (hey, they had a tennis player on the cover) to NFL Street), fighting games (SFII), shooting games (duck hunt to slient scope) etc, have improved my hand-eye coordination skills. In real life, I like to play games which are more hand eye coordination related: golf (10 handicap), tennis, ping-pong, air hockey. Yes, these aren't all the bext example of hand-eye coordination, but more so compared to say sports I hate, such as running, soccer or billiards.
So the question is, do I like these sports because I was born with coordination, because I played video games which improved my coordination and made me better, or did I have coordination to begin with which made me predisposed to video games and hand-eye co-ord related games. I'd like to believe it's the second choice, but as I don't think I have any twins (evil or not) around to have as a control, I'll never know.

Translation of skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8573822)

While I cannot say for certain that skills in video games translate directly into real life, I have personal reasons to believe that they can enhance related skills quite nicely.

Back before college when I used to play a lot of FPS type games, I found that when I stopped to do homework, my ability to do mathematical calculations in my head was significantly improved (albeit temporarily). Some days I stayed "in the zone" even after I was finished with the game and found normally difficult and tedious work to be quite intuitive and natural. Who says video games are bad for your schooling?

It is my believe that this stems from the well known correlation between spatial reasoning skills and mathematical ability. FPS games rely on quick spatial correlations of multiple entities and surrounding barriers, and so it should come as no surprise that many mathematical problems, especially those involving geometry or geometry-based calculus become much clearer after immersing yourself in a dynamic environment like that.

I noticed the same thing with my typing skills improving dramatically while being "in the zone", provided that I did not think too much about what I was typing.

I have fired many different weapons, including an AR-15 with my boss down at the local shooting range, and from my experience it's very different from shooting in an FPS.

Maybe once we have virtual reality the distinction will blur enough that the translation is more evident.


I am able to... (1)

Meneudo (661337) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573853)

Click really fast... not only that, but I can click places on a computer screen very accurately.

I can also type "OMG LOL n00b" and "pwned" in an instant (very useful in typing official documents)

...and I can't sit still for more than five minutes.

it has been remarked that new doctors (3, Informative)

bmnc (643126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573878)

seem to have a much smaller learning time when using machinery for keyhole surgery, or the various 'scopys.

I can't remember the source (think it was 20/20), but the suggestion was that the abstract skills of manipulating mice/joysticks/etc in games translates well into manipulating the weirdass device used for controlling the camera.

SO that is an affirmative from the medical profession, i guess.

Trap Shooting (1)

Xistic (536149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573935)

It seems to be on a person-to-person basis. The big problem with analyzing this is you have to see if people are naturally good at something that they have never tried before that is related to a videogame that they do have skill in. You really have no way of knowing if the person would have excelled at the activity without the help of a video game.

A good experiment would be to take two controlled groups of first time marksmen with, say, a pistol. One group with skill at coin op gun games such as Time Crisis and Area 51 and the like. The other group would have no such comparable skill. Send them out to the range and compare the results.

I don't see the correlation, however, between FPS and handgun proficiency, as they are two different types of coordination.

To add my experience to the list: I'm pretty crack at games like Quake 3 but I'm also good at Time Crisis. The first time I went trap shooting and only the second time I had used a firearm I scored 8 out of 10 on the first try.


Where in the World is.... (3, Funny)

Cosmik (730707) | more than 10 years ago | (#8573944)

If true, maybe "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" would be a useful training tool for the CIA and Department of Defense.

Re:Where in the World is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574631)

Yeah, but I bet Carmen Sandiego is too complex for this White House... Try something on the easier side.

Yes, definitely. "Driver" helped save my life. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8573956)

I'm fairly certain that the game "Driver" on the (Playstation 1) saved my life - or at least my car.

When you're cruising around the city, Driver is fairly similar to Grand Theft Auto - with the notable exception that the traffic behaves realistically and tries to obeys all the rules of driving - including stopping at intersections for lights. The result is that if you drive up some streets at the wrong time, you get a *lot* of heavy cross-traffic.

At first, when I was driving like crazy and encountered a car in the intersection, I would often swerve the wrong way. If it appeared from the left, I'd swerve to the right. Of course, because we were both moving, I'd T-bone the car almost perfectly. Eventually I learned to judge the speed of the cars and swerve towards the rear of them if their speed was sufficient compared to mine - because I'd have a much greater chance of passing behind them.

Then, one night in real life, as I was driving home on the highway - an elk ran across the road. There was a car in the left lane in front that had just overtaken me, blocking my view of the left lane. The first I saw of the elk was when it entered my lane just in front of that car - it was moving very fast from left to right across my field of vision - several car lengths in front of me.

My instinct was to swerve to the right, but I didn't. I knew that if I did that - and based on the speed that it was moving - I would hit the elk straight on. I swerved left... car submarined to the right, tires loaded up, started squealing... my right wing mirror practically touched the beastie on the backside as I narrowly avoided it... and I straightened the car back up again without going very far out of my lane.

If I'd done nothing, I would have hit the elk on the passenger side of my car. If I'd swerved right (what I know I would have done pre-"Driver"), I would have hit it dead-center at 65mph, a 600lb fully-grown male elk would have come through the windshield of my bottom-of-the range subcompact car - and I'd probably have been made dead. I still think that luck had a little play, but the game "Driver" definitely taught me the reactions that I needed to have in that specific circumstance.

Driving games are a perfect example (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574654)

Shooting games. Not your modern FPS mind you, but the old-school overhead dodge-em-ups. Those games require tracking a very large number of objects moving quickly, dismissing anything irrelevant to the situation at hand, estimating positional changes over time, and compensating to avoid collisions. When driving in New York I can feel myself slip into shooter mode, tracking the position of everything moving, calculating collisions, and sliding into open pockets.

Of course, driving in the winter I frequently use years of simulated driving skills when hitting patches of ice. To straighten, let off the gas and turn into the turn. To keep turning, accelerate (assuming RWD) and turn into the turn less. Getting it right is entirely a feel thing.

Re:Yes, definitely. "Driver" helped save my life. (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574980)

I couldn't agree more... I don't know how many speeding tickets I can directly attribute to Grand Theft Auto skills!

Heck yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8573995)

I'm much sexier in my see-through bikinis now that I've played DOA:XBV

FPS Games and Paintball (2, Interesting)

GameGod0 (680382) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574015)

I've been an avid FPS gamer since The Catacomb Abyss come out (I was 6 at the time),
and in the past 3 years I've started playing paintball.

I can tell you, being a FPS player gives you no advantage over any other paintball player.

In fact, it might even act as a disadvantage, because playing paintball is so drastically different
both tactically and physically from playing a game, that it is nothing like one would expect it to be.

Paintball plays nothing like a FPS.

In the reverse argument (and going back on topic), I think being a good team leader
in paintball has enabled me to become a better leader in team-based online FPS games.
I was able to practically learn better leadership in real-life, and apply it to computer games.

Re:FPS Games and Paintball (2)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574099)

I went paintball with a group of people for my friend's bachelor party. One guy there was like, "This is going to be boring. I'm awesome at Counter-Strike, so this is just going to be the same."

At tne end of the day, two guys were covered in paint. Him, and the groom's Dad, who had gone through boot camp, and was really, REALLY using the cover. (Leaning up against the freshly paintballed walls.)

Playing on a map you've played a million times before, and figuring out where exactly your backside is visible behind cover in RL are two completely different things. CS will help a little, but generally only in the determining how to use cover fire aspects.

Racing Games and RL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574095)

A friend of a friend bought a Playstation and GranTurismo to learn the tracks. I think he got third in the first race he entered.

Research, Not Anecdotes (2, Informative)

zentinal (602572) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574167)

Anecdotes are fun, but I'd guess that what you're really asking is if there is any research out there on the transferability of virtual skills into RL. Folks like Dr. Carrie Heeter - http://tc.msu.edu/people/faculty/8 (and no, I haven't asked her permission to post the URL on slashdot so please be kind to her server) might know. I know she did research into a place called "Fighter Town" a few years ago, but I don't think she was looking into transferability of skills.

Come to think of it, I'd bet that DOD has a bunch of solid, repeatable data on the subject; at least as far as driving/flying/submersible simulations go. Any slashdotters out there working in a simulation lab that can talk about their work without being arrested? ;-)

Some more research (2, Informative)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575271)

Of course, being able to shoot in a game is not the same as doing it in real life. But according to this [rochester.edu] , games can help skills in less direct ways.

Darn Right! (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574178)

All of those driving skills picked up in Grand Theft Auto (splitting lanes, jumping rivers, shooting pedestrians, etc) come in handy every day!

Seriously though, the ambulance in that game handles terribly compared to the real thing.

In some general ways (1)

photon317 (208409) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574189)

I think computer games can definitely improve your mental reaction times, and even up your quick tactical thinking skills. Certainly group games can improve your team skills. However, specific physical tasks emulated in a game rarely transfer to real life. Duck Hunt will not make you a pistol marksman, not by far. (By the way, did you ever wonder wtf you were doing shooting ducks with a pistol anyways? Shotguns are for ducks).

Never fear, firearms are an enjoyable hobby that follows the old slogan from that Mastermind boardgame "A minute to learn, a lifetime to master". You'll have great fun with it anyways despite the inapplicability of your Duck Hunt skills.

CS poor practice (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574218)

I doubt CS would help much. The recoil effect modelling is pretty bad, there is no gravitational or bullet flight-time effect - the guns are more like lasers than anything else. Day of Defeat is a bit better in the recoil effect, BF1942 has decent bullet flight time modelling.

Personally, I spent a lot of time playing FPSs, and I also got the highest score for marksmanship (Cadet GP) in my cadet days, but I think that's more to do with a childhood shooting air rifles and BBs than Doom.

Reloading (5, Funny)

Tetrad_of_doom (750972) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574307)

Many modern gun games at the arcade require you to shoot off screen to reload.

I'd hate to be the guy standing next to the Time Crisis pro at the real shooting gallery. I might just get shot it the head when he thinks his clip is empty.

Simulations (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574405)

I think that lots of simulations have some value that is transferrable to the real world, but this tends to be knowledge-based rather than related to motor skills.

I know that formula 1 drivers used to use the old formula 1 grand prix game - not to improve their driving skills, but to learn the layout of tracks. I imagine a golf game could be used in a similar manner by amateurs, prior to playing a course for the first time.

I think that snooker/pool simulations could be useful teaching people the angles involved, use of spin, etc.

For reactions-based stuff I'm not sure... does arkanoid make you better at air hockey?

I guess you not only need an accurate representation of the environment, but also of the interaction mechanism.

w00t! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574411)

gamez mprov my comm skillz!!!1 w00t!

Yes-Daikatana helped me (1, Funny)

Operating Thetan (754308) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574662)

Ever since playing Daikatana, I've had no problem dispatching the frogs and insects at the bottom of my garden.

Boobs of Fighting girls (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8574798)

I've noticed that after logging many many hours of watching the knockers of Chun-Li and Mai Shiranui bounce around onscreen, I pay more attention to tits whenever I watch a B-grade movie with some karate chick in it. Does that count as videogame skills transferring to real life?

cognitive skill will transfer, but not motor skill (4, Interesting)

directrealist (754205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574837)

americas army uses thier video game for exactly this purpose. it is a research tool to investigate if squad based virtual combat will make a soldier that accels "better" in a number of different catatgories. They are not really interested in whether motor skills can transfer. they know they dont and have plenty of research that supports this. the ability of motor skills to generalze to novel situations is well known and somewhat easily predicted. if the simmilarits of the game are close enough to the real thing then the skill will transfer. the question of what is close enough is a minute detail question. common sense can do wonders here, too much theory can muck it up. riding a virtual bike with a joystick is not a skill that will transfer to being able to balance on a bike. but chosing a good route through an envoronment will. the lattter is a more cognitive task the depends on being able to execute the more motoric task of riding a bike. I know studies have shown that general reaction time to targets is improved with fps videogame use but actual transfer of skill such as shooting (aiming at targets) from fps games to actual targets has not held up under scrutiny. you may have a better awareness of targets in a visual field but you will be no more able to shoot them than the average joe. cognitive skills transfer more readily to novel situations than do motor skills. Most of what will transfer from a video game will be cognitive unless the new task involves using a joystick or keyboard/mouse in a simmilar way.

Re:cognitive skill will transfer, but not motor sk (3, Interesting)

wibs (696528) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575235)

Depends on the video game. America's Army obviously has nothing to do with motor skills, but I have a friend who in high school was nothing all the special, wasn't a jock and if anything did more to support the Area 51 arcade games than probably any other man alive. The arcade owner most likely retired because of him.

Well, to make a long story short, after high school he joined the army. No previous weapons experience of any kind. During weapons training for the M16 (just like in Americas Army) he shot hawkeye (that's 40 hits out of 40 possible targets... somethng like 33 hits qualifies you for sniper school, I think). He did a few years of bouncing around various elite army schools (special ops training in the phillipines, sniper school where he would spend literally days inching through the grass to take out a target, etc etc) before heading off to Bosnia, where he had multiple confirmed kills in Bosnia as both recon and a sniper. He later hooked up with some underworld elements and became essentially a hit man for a very large gang in Long Beach (one that you've all heard of), and currently is up near the top of the list of people in organized crime in LA and Orange counties, despite his young age, all because of his abilities to shoot stuff and shoot stuff well. He's also one of the quickest people mentally I've ever known, but nobody would have noticed that if it hadn't been for his skills with a gun.

I'm not going to go into the morals of what he does... he's good to his friends, but not loved by his enemies - I've seen the bullet holes in him to prove that. The point is that with no arms training of any sort other than arcade games he was able to almost instantly become a sought after crack shot. And, in his own words, he credits that to his many, many, many hours of Area 51 and video game firearms in general. I'm not sure if I believe that, but it's what he says and if anything I'm telling his story on the conservative side so people don't think I'm bullshitting it.

Full Spectrum Warrior (1)

jnguy (683993) | more than 10 years ago | (#8574994)

Full Spectrum Warrior is a prime example of a game that'll create skills that will transfer to real life, in theory of course. The game hasn't been released yet, however, the whole idea and concept is to create this realistic simulation. In FSW, you never pull the trigger, its all about strategy. Video games are wonderful for simulating things, they can be EXTREMELY realistic, without the risk of a real situation in life.

Driving Simulators (1)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575030)

I admit to being a big fan of Gran Turismo, providing I'm using a force-feedback steering wheel ("driving" with a Playstation control is just wrong).

While I can't vouch for GT providing me with any real-life reflexes I can say that, after playing it for several days, I start watching road differently when I go for a (real) drive. Things like looking for max-acceleration tracks in curves and corners, finding aggressive passing vectors on the freeway, etc.. Of course, the people in my life think I drive like a bat out of hell anyway, so this is not necessary a Good Thing....

Anyway, my point is that concepts or ways of thinking seem to transfer relatively easily to the real world. But unless the simulator is really, really good and you have access to a simulated environment (eg, a plane's cockpit), you won't get the actual reflexes.

My rant (1)

spence calder (679882) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575049)

I beleive this last guy hit the nail on the head. The only skills you can transfer from games like CS are the teamwork and other such higher level skills. If everyone in the army could run around and get headshots while shooting from the hip we would rule the world. Thats definatley one thing that dissapoints me as one who was raised beleiving stuff like that. When I get out to the rifle range and my rifle jams 3 times while qualifying I think "Why couldnt this be more like a video game?" However from what I see games are getting better with the teamwork aspect, but they need to stop being so predictable and toss in more variables.

Driving sims? Oh yes, baby! (2, Interesting)

vthome (21702) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575082)

Sure they do. I believe my life was saved quite a few times by hundreds, if not thousands of hours I spent playing Need For Speed series. My reaction to the situations was, every time, reflexive... How many times did you put your car into a controlled skid in real life? How many times did you manage to do a 180 degree turn and bring the car to a complete stop without losing control? Do you know what is lift-off oversteer? Can you make your front wheel drive car oversteer? And so on and so forth.

Paintball! (1)

CertGen (591598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575120)

Find out: play paintball! We make a regular yearly outing at my place of work. We're all pretty heavy gamers and first time we did this event we were pretty certain the better FPS players would be the better marksman. Not so. Real life != Video game land. But we have a blast regardless. Definitly recommend performing your own experiment. Maybe repeating several times for the sake of accuracy.

People are trying to simplify too much (4, Insightful)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575190)

As often happens here, people are trying to apply simple answers to what may appear to be a simple question. But it's really not. People can say "yes" and "no" and both be partially right, because there isn't an iron-clad, applies-in-every-situation answer.

Humans can learn from many things. We learn from text descriptions of things, as well as abstract diagrams or photographs. We can also learn from interactive simulations - depending on how much they deviate from what they simulate. Obviously, learning from simulations (like flight sims) has been much discussed elsewhere, with a lot of anecdotal data to suggest that it helps greatly (and the military's own anecdotes and interest in sims should help make the point - not just flight sims, but things like the game that will be released publically as Full Spectrum Warrior soon).

That accounts for learning of mental skills, but there's also the physical ("twitch") factor. Of course, people here are often failing to apply sound logic. Being good at a FPS doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be good at firing a real firearm. That said, one could argue that the same person might have been even worse at firing the real firearm without the FPS skills. The question isn't if one makes you automatically good at the other. The question is if one helps with the other. But people are answering the question as if it were the former.

The original question asks specifically about teamwork skills. Interpersonal skills are, in my view, totally separate from mental or physical skills. I would argue that, yes, playing cooperative games would help build your cooperation skills more than not playing coop games. Interpersonal communication is a very dynamic thing, and does not exist in a vacuum - working with people in CounterStrike is not somehow a totally different human skill than other kinds of cooperation.

This could be a very good discussion, but there's been too little insight so far. This post here wasn't all that great either, but hopefully it will spark some true insight. :)

Absolutely (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575266)

Every person I know who plays FPS on a regular basis is extremely athletic. On the other hand any friend I have that's obsessed with RPG is just a couch potato.

It's an amazing coincidence.

Re:Absolutely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8575726)

Ah, but what about those who play both?

In my experience, they tend to opt toward couch potato.

pr0n simulators (0)

alexdm (728255) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575286)

those skills deffinately transfer!

Some xfer, not for target shooting (3, Interesting)

dchamp (89216) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575413)

I was at a private LAN last summer, out near f-stick Nebraska. My friends there were mostly very good FPS players - DoD and CS. They totally own me at FPS games. I can hold my own against them in BF42 and DC, but that's a different skill set...

The guy hosting the party took us out for some real target shooting. We started with a Ruger 10/22, moved up to a 20 gauge, a 12 gauge "pumpo", and finally a high-powered 7mm rifle (not sure of the exact size, but it was BFG, much larger casing than a 30-06).

I grew up with BB guns, pellet guns, .22's and 12 gauge shotguns, but I haven't done much shooting for the last 10 or 12 years. Other than our host, none of the other guys had any significant experience with a firearm.

On round 1 with the .22, the host and I were the only ones to hit our targets. Once we moved up to the scatter guns, some of the others did better. With the 7mm, the targets (pop cans) were WAY out there. I only hit one by skipping debris off the ground in front of it. :) Nobody else hit one.

I do agree that gaming does have some skill transfer to meatspace... like strategy, or driving / flying skills from a simulator (only as a complement with the real thing), but without some real-world practise, I don't think FPS games directly transfer to real firearm skills.

My Experiences (5, Interesting)

Jorkapp (684095) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575671)

I've had my fair share of experiences with Game Skills Real Skills. Here's probably the best 2 (and recent) examples I can provide.

2 Months after joining the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, and a nice safety course later, I was finally cleared to use the rifle range. I had about 2.5 years skill with FPS games, and 0.0 seconds skill shooting a rifle.

My FPS skills did not transfer over. None whatsoever. An FPS teaches you to move a mouse and press buttons on a keyboard. Shooting a rifle requires actual movement. You actually have to squeeze the trigger (not pull it), adjust the sights, reload, and aim. In a FPS, you click the mouse. Big difference.

After 4 months of Practice, I have earned Marksman 1st class qualification. Basically, 20 shots at a range of 10m (32.8ft) were inside a 2.5cm (1 in - about the size of a quarter) diameter grouping. Not an easy task.

As for flying, I had no experience. Zero. No Flight Sim skills, no real life skills, hell, I hadn't even been more than 30m above ground. After months of Ground School and passing the exam (barely, with a 50%), it was time for a flight.

About a week after the flight, my flight instructor burned me a copy of MS Flight Sim 2000. Everything I learned in real life transfered over. Controlling the Eleveators, Ailerons, Flaps, Throttle, Rudder, and other Aircraft controls is a breeze, thanks to the months spent learning how to do it properly.

I suppose to conclude, some skills do, and some skills dont. You have to look at the complexity of the task in real life vs the complexity of the task in the virtual world. Shooting is complex in real life, but overly simple in virtual reality. No transfer. Flying is difficult in real life, and flying is difficult in virtual reality, so there are some transferable skills.

Better reaction time, and less suprises (2, Interesting)

Quadfreak0 (624555) | more than 10 years ago | (#8575716)

Play FPS games and racing sims has improved my reaction time. I'd also say the level of gore and violence has some what desensitised me to violence. I remember watching 'Black Hawk Down' with my friends, and while those who played quake and BF1942 were laughing it up the non FPS friends and the rest of the crowd glared at or glanced with that "wtf is wrong with you" look. Sorry but if you've made a couple head shots, you've seen them all. War isnt fun but this is just entertainment. Recap: 1. Better reaction times. 2. Less likely to be suprised.
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