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Do Videogame Skills Transfer To Real Life? 207

Posted by simoniker
from the i'm-a-superlative-tomb-raider dept.
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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Do Videogame Skills Transfer To Real Life?

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  • Hrmmm.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by consolidatedbord (689996) <brandon AT ihashacks DOT com> on Monday March 15, 2004 @07:40PM (#8573556) Homepage Journal
    Now only if cheat codes transferred to real life!
    • by macshune (628296) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:14AM (#8575632) Journal
      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:)
      • I managed to pull some stupid moves driving too, and all of those times it has been the stuff I learnt from playing Gran Turismo that got me out of it without at least damaging my car.

        Just being able to know how it will behave when certain things happen, which I have learnt pretty much from games, as well as the ability to take basic physics and apply common sense (as opposed to my mate who when we were riding his Dad's trike in the field, figured it was OK to take a 90 degree corner, sharply, in fifth...)
    • by MachDelta (704883) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:57AM (#8575883)
      "Gimmy your lunch money, four-eyes!"
      "Uh, hang on a sec. Got a pen?"
      "What? What you yappin about, nerd?"
      "Nevermind, found one."
      "C'mon poindexter, fork it over!"
      "One second..."
      "What you writing down there?"
      "Hang on, hang on! I... D... D... umm... Q..."
  • by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Monday March 15, 2004 @07:46PM (#8573613) Homepage Journal
    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).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:06PM (#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.)
      • by Cecil (37810) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:47PM (#8574145) Homepage
        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.
        • by ScuzzMonkey (208981) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @01:46AM (#8576062) Homepage
          I think the physics are the least useful part of PC based flight sims--X Plane may well be awesome (I've heard nothing but good things about the physics model) but it's never going to get the same seat-of-the-pants feeling that real pilots use and rely on.

          Rather, it's the knob-twirling and button-punching that get practiced, and Flight Sim seems to do an excellent job of modeling the navigation management issues that are the REAL bane of most pilots. It's not so much a failure to appreciate the physics of flight as forgetting to adjust the flaps properly, or not monitoring engine guages closely enough, or flying into a mountain in the fog, that cause most accidents (at least, from a cursory review of NTSB data, it appears to be flight management issues more than the flight itself).

          Spending time in a simulator that does a good job of modeling real-life navigation, communication, and aircraft management is far more useful than spending time in one that does a good job with the physics of flight. Because, ultimately, computers are good at simulating other electronic systems, and aren't ever going to be that great at physics (at least not anything you can afford to have in your home!)
    • by srmalloy (263556) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:39PM (#8574082) Homepage
      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.
  • by tktk (540564) on Monday March 15, 2004 @07:46PM (#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.
  • by PeteyG (203921) on Monday March 15, 2004 @07:50PM (#8573634) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • 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.
    • by gruntled (107194) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:22PM (#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).

      • Colleges have pistol teams? Higher education is sounding better and better.
      • Pistol team? Has to be a US school, right?
    • by Alkaiser (114022) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:34PM (#8574041) Homepage
      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.
      • >>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
        • 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 d
          • 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.

            The easiest way to control this kind of reaction is to gently squeeze the trigger. Most people slam the trigger when they want to fire, thus jerking the gun upwards as they tense up during the firing.

            Teaching someone to aim lower is just encouraging the formation of bad habits.

            • It is...but generally the people I'm talking about aren't going to be shooting a gun more than 3 or 4 times in their life. They're just curious what's it's like to fire a handgun, and then are done with it.
    • 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.
    • 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.

      For a 9mm pistol you are most likely talking about a magazine.

      Clips and magazines are two different things. A magazine is a holder of ammo. This can be anything from a pistol magazine to the ammunition storeroom on a large battleship. For small arms a magazine often includes a spring to feed the rounds into the firearm.

      A clip is a convenien

    • When we got the targets back, and the scores were compared, I was significantly below average.

      What happened, your aimbot was malfunctioning?
  • Chess (Score:5, Funny)

    by NetDanzr (619387) on Monday March 15, 2004 @07:52PM (#8573652)
    I found that playing chess on computer has greatly increased my umm... chess playing skills.
  • Yes they do (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Apreche (239272) on Monday March 15, 2004 @07:52PM (#8573661) Homepage Journal
    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 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Frnknstn (663642)
      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 feed
  • Definitely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neostorm (462848) on Monday March 15, 2004 @07:53PM (#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.
    • by Harassed (166366) on Monday March 15, 2004 @09:05PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vga_init (589198) on Monday March 15, 2004 @10:30PM (#8574881) Journal

      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.

    • 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 so
    • Re:Definitely (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Flozzin (626330)
      After playing CS since beta 6, and now this year playing indoor paintball. I found that my tactics and leadership from the game transfered easily. I was able to direct my friends into excellent positions in the game, and in paintball. Also my 15 years shooting small game on my dads farm helped with my aim.
  • Firearms (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Usquebaugh (230216) on Monday March 15, 2004 @07:55PM (#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"
  • by Quarters (18322) on Monday March 15, 2004 @07:55PM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hythlodaeus (411441) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:02PM (#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 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Clomer (644284)
      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
    • Re:Laser Tag (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Grym (725290)
      Absolutely.

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

    --
    • 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...

      --
    • by GypC (7592)

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

  • 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, especial
  • I don't think so (Score:5, Informative)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:05PM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Grym (725290) on Monday March 15, 2004 @11:40PM (#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.

      -Grym

      • "That's an idea that I found very interesting because I've never seen an FPS game that tries to mimic this"

        I do this ALL the time in Unreal Tournament... and the game calls me... Flak Monkey!
        -

    • Re:I don't think so (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ChTh (453374)
      The swedish army is about to start using Ghost Recon (ink in sweidsh) [www.sr.se] as a means of training its officers. The part in games related to tactics and decision making is probably a lot more useful to real life, rather than actual physical skills.
  • by bmnc (643126) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:14PM (#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.
  • by Cosmik (730707) on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:21PM (#8573944) Homepage
    If true, maybe "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" would be a useful training tool for the CIA and Department of Defense.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2004 @08:23PM (#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.
    • 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 frequent
    • I couldn't agree more... I don't know how many speeding tickets I can directly attribute to Grand Theft Auto skills!

    • Maybe the Bambi Slayer, as I called a friend for a while, should play more Driver -

      He has killed at least 8 deer from impacts and totaled several cars (4 that I know of). In the worst case, which I witnessed the carnage from because I was following a couple miles behind him, he hit a small herd killing three and maiming two (which the DNR may have had to put down - didn't stick around to find out, heck, I probably would have barfed if the cop made us stay any longer and it probably showed). His kill count
  • by GameGod0 (680382)
    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
    • 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 visib
      • One day, some mates from my CS course and I went paintballing, just for kicks. None of us had gone. One girl brought along her boyfriend, who was formerly of the Austrailian SAS.

        It was interesting to note that he either always died first (generally while trying to get the rest of us into some sembalance of a good formation and cover) or died last (generally after singlehandledly annihilating most of the other team.)

        It was also interesting to note that we throughly trounced the squadron of 'weekend war

        • Just a tip...if you're going paintballing, you want to own one piece of equipment, even if you only go once.

          You want your own mask. Wearing a rental paintball mask is like wearing rental bowling shoes...on your face.
        • Yeah - FPS skills don't work well on the paintball field - at least not from my outdoor experience. That may not be true for indoor play, because the agressive play from our FPS junkies worked better than some of the hide and snipe play of the non-FPS guys. We even had 3 military veterans (one Vietnam era, two Gulf war vets) playing that game and that experience was a non-factor (two games with all 3 on the same side and they split one win, one loss).

          As for outdoor, I played a game with my college gaming
    • FPS' may not have much of an effect on paintball, but other games do... I think more mental concepts (eg: tactics) can transfer from a certain games to activities like paintballing.

      I remember the first time me and my friends ever went paintballing. We were maybe like 14 or 15 at the time, and it was everyones first try at the sport. After a couple FFA matches by ourselves, we bumped into some of the other groups that were playing there. One group of 17y olds challanged us to a quick team match. They were
  • by zentinal (602572)

    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 D

    • Some more research (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rallion (711805)
      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.
  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tetrad_of_doom (750972) on Monday March 15, 2004 @09:11PM (#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.

  • by directrealist (754205) on Monday March 15, 2004 @10:24PM (#8574837) Journal
    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.
    • 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 ha

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by AvantLegion (595806) on Monday March 15, 2004 @11:09PM (#8575190) Journal
    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. :)

  • 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.
  • by dchamp (89216) on Monday March 15, 2004 @11:37PM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jorkapp (684095) <jorkapp@@@hotmail...com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:19AM (#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.
  • 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 reac
  • After playing Counter-Strike and the like for years, now I can detect and kill about 5 times more cockroachs crawling in my room than before.... That, or there are actually 5 times more roaches in my room.
  • by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @02:20AM (#8576171)
    #1. Twitch skill. Raw reflexes.

    #2. Strategy

    #3. Teamwork, patience (and hopefully) maturity

    Yes, maturity. I play a lot of Natural Selection, a team-oriented half-life mod. Actually, the team play in that is pretty hard. A lone player (called a rambo) will get killed pretty quick, and be unable to do pretty much anything.

    In other words, the little kids who don't want to play as a team get killed, get frustrated than leave.

    Just my opinion.
  • I have fired a gun once. From a long ways away I was able to hit a can on a fence post shooting downhill. My friend who hunts a lot missed. I never let him forget it. I remain 100% in the accuracy department. Now only if I could save a princess.
  • In a typical working day I am able to:

    * sit without moving for 8 hours straight.
    * do without food and drink.
    * manage without the toilet until my kidneys hurt.
    * give full concentration with only 4 cigarettes
    * blank out my surroundings, colleagues, and office noises.

    The boss must love me. The missus must not.
  • Based on the fact that the 1st time I went trap shooting (clay pidgeons for those who don't know) I hit 79 of 90 discs with a 20 gauge.

    First time shooting like this and first time shooting anything bigger than a paintball gun.

    Paintball's more fun though - the targets get to shoot back at you.
  • I believe they do in fact help. I have been an avid quake rail gunner for years, and recently went to the shooting range for the first time. My aiming technique that I have developed over the years on the game turns out to work remarkably well in real life. My frist time at the range I consistantly showed perfect grouping and accuracy on a variaty of weapons from .45 handguns to 9mm rifles (didn't even need the scope). Either there is such a thing as a "natual" shot, or the game helped me a lot.
  • There is an actual study on the book "Digital based learning" which talks about the relation between gaming and learning. According the book students who play action games, not only develop fast reflexes but they also develop a "faster logic" they are able to take reactions and analize situations in a short period of time and under pressure, they react well to fast paced activities and timed quizes and puzzles, unfortunately they also get bored easier with slow paced activities such as reading or (worse yet
  • by zero_offset (200586) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @01:49PM (#8580020) Homepage
    I'd say many skills do transfer (such as driving), but shooting absolutely doesn't since shooting in a game doesn't remotely rely upon the same real-world skills required for shooting an actual gun.

    In one of the Doom 3 speeches or interviews last year, Carmack pointed out that they made the Doom 3 targeting code highly accurate, and everyone in the office was stunned to realize that they were really, really bad shots... And you KNOW those guys have a hell of a lot of FPS seat-time...
  • Just remember, take your time aiming and get up extra close for those head-shots. And don't for get to jump around a lot.

    ;-)
  • Well... (Score:2, Funny)

    by ripewithdecay (573894)
    I have improved my skill in stealing cars and beating women...

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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