June 1, 2006
Life as a Video Game
by Curtis Burns,

I may shock a few people here but I have a son and we play video games from time to time. I have been blessed with the responsibility to help bring up a real person. It's hard, but it is real. Fun always helps. These games are hard, the same programming is involved in military training software.   These games can literally become an addiction, but if you can play them judiciously you can learn a few things:

  1. You succeed if you have a plan. You can't get past a room of aliens or enemy soldiers shooting at your if you don't look at the situation and work out a strategy of victory for that particular scenario. It may not come in an instant but as you study the situation the path of success will become clear.
  2. You can't be a “hero”. You can't rush out guns blazing like the movies because you're going to get cut down very quickly and you'll be dead. You have to economize your ammunition, you can't waste a shot. You have to let the enemy come to you, where you are at the advantage. It will take some time, but you win not by your guns but by your wits and ability to remain calm.
  3. You have to press forward continuously. At the same time standing still will allow your enemies to surround and overwhelm you. It keeps them from organizing and forces them into a reactive mode. Dominance in the field is as much an attitude as it is a physical position. You don't move laterally (from side to side) but advance by vectors forward, and never without a safe landing place.
  4. You don't show your enemies your backside. You just can't turn and run like panicked fool in the face of a difficult situation.  It says to your enemy "Here I am, shoot me.  I won't shoot back."  You have to have a 360 degree awareness.  Retreat is sometimes inevitable, so you have to have your escape route planned out as well.
  5. You have to try and try and try and try again. It may take you 20 or 30 times before before you can get past that level of the game without “dying”. There is a reset, yes; that can tend to create an unrealistic attitude about the game (“If I die, no problem, I'll just start again”); but you do get a second chance and it allows you eventually win.
  6. Failure is not failure; it is a process of elimination of different ways to attack a certain problem. As I said above: there is a reset, yes. However, failure is a better teacher than success, but you must never give up. Above all you must never give up hope about yourself and your ability to manage through any situation. You have the ability to surmount any problem.
  7. At times all hope may seem lost, you have no ammunition, your life points are at near-death levels, and the enemy may be swarming. If you accept your demise at that point it most surely will come. If you bide your time however; energy, ammunition, and opportunity will present itself and you'll be in fit form soon again. You are a winner.
  8. Objectives are never attained in one sweeping move. You get to your goal by bits and pieces, one manageable chunk at a time. You take it one move at a time, you just focus on that and as you persevere on eventually you are taken to your end goal.
  9. The game never ends. There is always a continuation. The names may change but the enemy remains the same. The story moves to another planet, another location.  The ending is just another beginning. 

I would guess that to some people the aforementioned principles may seem as un-spiritual as you can get. Edit out the word “enemy” and replace it with “unreality” and maybe you have a field manual for the little game we call life.



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