Everything I know about life I’ve learned from video games. Let’s look back at some actual and some rather ancient games
OK, maybe that’s a little absolute, but as a longtime player I’ve learned to enjoy some of the subtle lessons included in many games.
I’m not talking about memorizing the patterns and getting the timing jussst right when you FINALLY beat that one level in Super Mario World.
I’m talking more about some of the actual “real life lessons” that you can find here and there.
Maybe in the middle of zapping aliens you’ll learn about the solar system. Maybe completing the bloody trench missions in Battlefield will give you a better sense of World War I than you get from “Wonder Woman.”
Myself, I enjoyed the casino games in “Fallout: New Vegas” and the “Red Dead Redemption” series. RDR2 even showed me how to play dominoes correctly – I thought all you did was set them up and knock them down.
I guess that’s another benefit of games besides the escape – it’s a way to slip in some instruction without making many mistakes, and maybe doing things wrong without any real-life consequences.
Like “Sim City” was fun to focus on building a thriving community, but it was also fun to spawn monsters and disasters right after you cut the fire budget to build that cool stadium.
Or cruise the very accurately rendered streets of San Francisco in “Watch Dogs 2” – better for your brain than learning the back roads of Vice City.
Games with a Business Strategy
Games that have a business strategy also have this benefit: they make you think and learn but are still entertaining.
They have to be fun, right? Nothing too exciting about a “work simulator” — after all, would you rather zap aliens, storm the castle, and win the race, or project growth, track sales and crunch numbers?
It’s cool, though, if you asked, ‘Why not both?’ since with the right programming and objectives, games can even simulate a modern business environment.
With some of these simulations, it’s possible to try crazy market experiments to see what happens – and with much fewer financial or reputational repercussions at stake than bankruptcy or federal charges.
Want to raise or lower your price drastically to see what your customers do? Go for it.
Want to cut or boost employees? See what happens without having the lawyers involved!
Or try your hand at a different line of work – instead of a boring old corporation, how about a farm, or a theme park?
Your success with this software may not necessarily get you a job but could show that you have an aptitude and interest.
Here are some of my favorite strategy games business fans can enjoy that have plenty of playability plus realism, so you can blend game time and work time and have them be fun as well as serious, even if you’re secretly strategizing about future missions to crush the competition, grab that market share and dominate the industry.
The goal of this PC game is to make money money money and then make more money.
Players faced realistic business challenges and principles, including marketing, importing, pricing, and even finding the best raw products for manufacturing.
What I like about Capitalism
I remember giving this game kudos for trying to explain complicated economic terms in the lengthy tutorials, as well as allowing players to choose their difficulty level – a more exploratory Entrepreneurial mode or a hardcore, bare-knuckled Capitalism mode.
I found it a great introduction to basic business, from simple supply and demand to why certain markets ride high and then crash hard.
Hmmm…Youtubers Life … I’m not a social media influencer and I’m not sure I want to be one.
But reading about the new title and all that goes with it is pretty interesting from an employment and financial point of view.
Essentially it’s someone who talks about, writes about and shows images of certain products on their own channels.
So what if the product maker gives him or her a ton of money to express a favorable opinion?
It’s the best way to reach their followers who sometimes may number in the millions.
What I like about YouTubers Life
For those who want to learn more about this works, but maybe aren’t ready to put themselves out there on their own channel, there’s now a way to see the process in action.
This game lets you become a make-believe prospective YouTube star, starting with a camera and a computer.
As more people start watching and subscribing to your make-believe episodes, you’ll be able to upgrade your hardware. This game also includes some real-life considerations, like requiring you to take breaks to sleep, eat or go to school.
You can also hire employees to make things a little easier for you. I guess I didn’t play enough to want to start my own channel but others may use it to get inspired.
Are you someone who has more fun at amusement parks wondering about how it all comes together rather than enjoying the rides and games?
That’s me (actually, it’s partly by design – I love the mechanics of scary rides but my stomach no longer does – and probably never did).
But my inner marketer also likes all of the visible and less visible elements that can make or break a theme park, from smells to sounds to permanent smiles on the staff’s face even when they’re worn out from a long day.
What I like about RollerCoaster Tycoon
Short of actually working at a park, I found that I enjoyed this theme park simulation.
It’s been around for several years in different forms for various computers and consoles; the present version is an app.
Here, you’re charged with running a theme park – sure, it’s fun for guests, but the place has to make money.
Keeping the doors open also requires a certain amount of costs, everything from food to safety and security. Then, of course, you have to always be looking for enjoyable attractions that will draw in new visitors, including roller coasters. Tap into your inner engineer by designing something that’s fun yet scary. And if you make a mistake and people get hurt, the world will never need to know.
Speaking of life lessons, this one teaches us that mouthwash = healthy morale.
How we get to this point is by being the ultimate micro-manager and being responsible for every little thing in a corporate environment, or at least the things that can make your people work harder.
Just like in the real world, you can’t push people too hard without them burning out or walking out, but you can give them various treats, like food, drink, or the occasional bottle of Scope, apparently.
What I like Big Biz Tycoon
Even though the better CEOs will probably delegate some of these tasks, I did enjoy how this simulation showed how much little things were responsible for the ‘bigger things’ of a company doing well or doing poorly.
Download Big Biz Tycoon
Now, the game is out of development, though has still many fans. If you are looking to play this game, here is a link to a so-called abandonware website. Enjoy!
Let’s wrap up our look at management and strategy games for business with another nod to nostalgia and include a series that convinced me that mass transit can actually be fun.
I spent many hours in the early 1990s learning how to grow and manage the business side of a railroad, track by track and train by train. (Don’t tell, but there was also some American expansionist history slipped in.)
Because you don’t have a lot of money, track, passengers or freight at first, essentially, the game becomes all about smart resource management.
What I like about Railroad Tycoon
To play successfully, keep pushing forward, avoiding or dealing with setbacks and always upgrading and investing. Learning about financing was also critical – you always need fresh capital and can’t raise money without investing well in railroad stocks.
The franchise included three more Tycoons and some spin-offs including Railroad Empire.
You also can find the originals on Steam or GOG.