One major way video games helped me travel better

Scary video games

When I was growing up, I loved video games. I was envious of boys whose parents bought them game consoles. My dad didn’t believe in letting girls play video games.

To work my way around this, I played video games on the PC. My dad still complained but at least I had something to play with.

While in high school, I enjoyed playing Taiwanese RPGs (role paying games). Later on, I was obsessed with MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) with cutesy characters.

After I started work, I played a lot more video games on the PC thanks to my colleagues introducing me to Steam.

Playing for the story

Most of the time, the games I play don’t require a lot of skills. I usually cheat by checkout play-throughs. For me, the best part about video games is the story.

I mindlessly leveled up as I immersed myself in the virtual environment. It is really great being the hero and accomplishing all those feats without leaving my chair.

I didn’t realize how video games helped with travelling until some years ago. I discovered that video games had given me an indispensible skill for travelling:

I became good at reading maps and visualizing directions.

How video games helped build my sense of direction

How video games help me build my sense of direction

For me, the video games I played usually need my character to explore different locations. Sometimes there are maps for reference, such as this map system in Bioshock Infinite which is a favorite game of mine because of the storyline Other times, there would be fan-made maps for n00bs like me to use.

What is great about video games is that only only do you get to explore a location in-game, you can sometimes zoom out to see where you are in the bigger picture.

Through these virtual environment, I’ve also started visualizing space better. For example, if you ask me for directions to my house, my brain brings up a mental map (like in video games) and I can retrace my steps in this map and give good directions.

Of course, this skill doesn’t really work when I’m plonked down into a new city. Since there is no compass hanging on the upper right hand side of my vision (like in video games), I often end up in exactly the opposite direction of where I should go.

These days, I haven’t been playing video games much since my PC isn’t really made for the more advanced games. But still, I miss the days when I helped my in-game character fulfill his/her/its destiny and finish the story.

Read more about video games (and travel):

  1. Eleven-year-old tells benefits of video games on penelopetrunk.com
  2. Istanbul – The Assassin’s Creed Trail on thriftytraveller.wordpress.com

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

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