8 Games that Develop Real Life Skills
These games may help you level up in real life
There are a ton of things you can learn from playing video games. And we’re not talking about soft skills like cooperation, problem solving, or math. No, we’re talking about honest to goodness skills that you can use to actually achieve meaningful results in the real world.
There are a lot of teaching games out there, but most of them don’t do well as games. So we’ve rounded up eight of the best games that also sneakily teach you a skill that you can use to impress people at parties, at the office, or the International Space Station.
8 games that develop real-world skills
F1 2019 | Driving
You might have heard a story in early 2019 about an esports player beating an actual F1 pro on a real track in a real car. And this wasn’t a fluke, either.
He went on to beat a three-time Indy 500 winner the very next day. And the underdog learned how to race from playing games like F1.
It’s well understood that, which there’s room for arcade style racers, a sizeable part of the racing sim development community has strived to create as realistic an experience as possible, accounting for each and every physical or mechanical element that might impact a race or a racer. Accordingly, racing sims are becoming indistinguishable from real world racing, so much so that a pro-gamer can smoke two pro-racers within the space of 48 hours.
Kerbal Space Program | Rocket Science
So the applicability of this one might be a bit of a stretch. After all, most of us aren’t going to land jobs at NASA or SpaceX, but Kerbal’s fabulous air and space simulator does more to teach players about how rockets and space flight work than just about anything short of a semester at MIT or a summer camp at Hunt Valley.
As you make increasingly difficult moon shots, you’ll find yourself understanding the how and why of rocket construction and operation. I mean, where else was I going to learn that you can only safely lower your apoapsis by burning retrograde at the periapsis? This is the game to teach you all about all of that.
Minecraft | Engineering & Coding
It’s true that Redstone circuits don’t work exactly the same way that regular electrical circuits work, but simply look through any Minecraft playlist on YouTube and you’re likely to see handmade hard drives, digital pianos, and 50-foot tall calculators built in the game by players.
Using the game’s Redstone material, you can basically build your own circuits, making the whole experience a great way to learn electrical engineering and coding.
MS Flight Simulator | Flying
Even more than with F1, the commercial flight simulator genre seems to be geared just as much to working professionals and students as it is to gamers. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator is one of the most accurate, authentic, and accessible games in the entire genre.
If something works a certain way in the game, it’s a good bet that it works that way in real life too. Loads of pilots continue to play this game just to get some more practice in, to try out a new route, or to practice emergency drills. It’s as real as flying gets without a little bag of pretzels and a can of Ginger Ale.
Rock Band | Drums
The Pro Drum hardware and game mode are all you need to get started learning the fundamentals of actual drum playing.
The concepts of timing and limb independence are for sure present in the core game, but once you spring for the cymbal pack and the kick pedal, you’re effectively playing a real, albeit plastic, drum set and learning skills that you can readily transfer over to a real acoustic drum set.
Even better, you learn to play drums by learning the drum parts of some excellent rock and pop songs, and All Star by Smash Mouth. There are things you won’t necessarily get, like technique and dynamics, but Rock Band will more than get you started.
Rocksmith | Guitar & Bass
Basically, as Rock Band is to drums, Rocksmith is to guitar and bass. The lessons section in the game is solid, and it does a commendable job covering playing techniques. Admittedly, the tab display in the game gets a little busy, but at least it prepares you to read actual tablature, which is one of the main ways songs are taught and learned online.
Best of all, unlike the plastic, faux drums of Rock Band, Rocksmith lets you play the game using a real guitar, so there’s no abstraction or translation when it comes to learning music. And also, like with Rock Band, you’re learning actual parts to popular songs, which can make jumping into a band a bit easier.
RPG Maker | Game Design
Okay, maybe this one is a little bit of a cheat, but it’s just too good to pass up. RPG Maker may not be a game in the technical sense of the term, but it does make games, and that’s good enough for us. For many wannabe game designers, the notion of learning to code is a huge obstacle to living their dreams.
That’s what RPG Maker is for; it takes the fun ideas you have and fits them in a framework where all the mechanics and hard work of building a platform are done for you. So you get to learn how to design encounters, or write amazing dialogue, or create thrilling locales, all without having to know more than just the rudiments of programming.
Typing of the Dead | Typing
Earlier versions of Typing of the Dead made slightly more effort to actually teach the typing part, but even the most recent iteration is good for those who already know how to hold their hands at the keyboard and just need some extra typing practice. The idea that you have to type to stay alive is a pretty good motivator to get comfortable with the QWERTY layout.
Again, the original game made a respectable attempt to actually teach typing, but the main draw was getting to blast zombies away by spelling words out on the keyboard. Mavis Beacon may have been a better teacher, but no one was trying to eat you in that program, which is a definite drawback.
Games that teach real world skills
These are our favorite games that teach real world skills, but still remain fun to play. What are your go to games for real world skills?