Video games as a skill?

Before I started thinking about this idea, I was easily frustrated by new gamers who couldn’t seem to grasp controls that are second nature to me. I have a friend whose family has never owned a single dedicated gaming system, handheld or otherwise. Even so, how hard can it possibly be to hold a Wii remote sideways and control the on-screen Mario with the directional pad and jump button? Even my little sister can’t do that effectively.

Naturally, this brought me to recognize that there is a skill for gaming! It can be practiced and honed just like any other skill.

The way I see it, video game skills can be divided into two categories: first, the overall ability to control games and second, the ability to excel at specific games.

Those of us who play video games enough can jump into and control basically any game. It’s not just that we don’t need to crack open the manual: it’s that we can use the input controls effectively. For example, the seemingly simple task of moving a character around in a 3-D world with an analogue stick has stumped more than one of my non-gaming friends. When it comes to teaching them how to use Link’s sword in Twilight Princess, it becomes a hopeless mess.

There are also specific games that can be mastered through practice. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a prime example. Finding the right character and your personal play style are two keys to start winning battles. With practice and discipline, you can become unbeatable. I tend to be the best against my brothers in Brawl. However, they find it easy enough to win me at Mario Kart Wii.

So maybe skill in video games has nothing on say, skill in music. But there’s no doubt in my mind that gaming does, indeed, take skill. Take pride in it!