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41 Lessons I Have Learned From Video Games

haggar final fight

Mayor Mike Haggar from Final Fight for the SNES, fashion icon

I have let moving pixels on glowing screens dictate large amounts of my life. I’m okay with that, particularly when I look back at all the knowledge I have gleaned in the process.

I humbly present to you a brief summary of some lessons I have learned from video games. Apply them and you will have a better chance at succeeding in life.

  1. Fighting crime is largely a matter of wardrobe. I suggest putting on suspenders over your shirtless torso, and leaving one strap unbuttoned. Don’t worry if the strap changes sides depending on which way you’re facing. See: Final Fight.
  2. A healthy universe is impossible when an insecure bodybuilding tyrant is controlling the intergalactic protein pipeline. See: Cho Aniki.
  3. Feeling unhealthy? Eat some pot roast off the ground. See: Hobo With A Shotgun
  4. Pockets are unnecessary. See: Pitfall! and every game ever.
  5. The story can be good without being linear. See: Metroid
  6. There’s a pill for everything. See: Bloody Wolf and the “muscle emphasis tablets”
  7. There is no way to take a giant blue bear seriously, even if it can freeze ants with its breath. See: Altered Beast
  8. No chalice is used for good. They’re always cursed. See: Haunted House
  9. Nuclear war is a terrible thing. See: Missile Command and Fallout 3
  10. Every song can wear out it’s welcome. See: Smurfs
  11. Cats are a huge hassle. See Legend of the Mystical Ninja
  12. If you get into bed with Aphrodite, she’s going to expect a lot of you. See: God of War 3
  13. There is nothing sassier than a smoking monkey in a diaper. See: Metal Gear Solid 4: Sons of the Patriots
  14. Want the girl? Save her life. See: Golgo 13
  15. The biggest gun isn’t always the best. Choose the right tool for the job See: Goldeneye
  16. Big heads make you jump higher. See: NBA Jam
  17. Ayn Rand will turn you into an idiot. See: Bioshock
  18. It is impossible to duck while on a bank of snow. You will fall through. See: Kid Icarus
  19. Jumping is overrated. See Bionic Commando
  20. Just because you got into your suit of armor doesn’t mean that it can’t be taken by the first annoying bird that bumps into you. See: Ghosts and Goblins
  21. Your brother will probably kidnap your girlfriend. You better kidnap his first. See: Double Dragon
  22. Kangaroos are fearsome boxers. Tread lightly. See: Streets of Rage 3
  23. If you’re not traveling by swinging on a whip, you’re lame. See: Castlevania
  24. Parties are never fun. See: Mario Party 1-infinity
  25. It is possible to be flawless. See: Mortal Kombat
  26. Flying to the moon is best done inside of a whale. See: Final Fantasy 2.
  27. Words should never be spoken when they can be growled or rasped. See: inFamous
  28. You can put on 10 lbs of muscle in about two minutes if you do it right. See: Grand Theft Auto games
  29. There’s no way around it: some music really sucks. See: Dance Dance Revolution
  30. 99 out of 100 fighter planes crash while trying to land on aircraft carriers. See: Top Gun
  31. Dealing with bullies is simple. Just jump three times on their head. Their eyes will turn to Xs and they will fall out of sight. See: Super Mario Brothers and its sequels
  32. Fog will eventually kill us all. See: Silent Hill.
  33. Red barrels only have one function: to explode and kills zombies. See: Resident Evil games.
  34. Russia creates the most persistent earworms. See: Tetris
  35. If you attempt to scale a mountain, a bird will knock you off. See: Ninja Gaiden
  36. Aliens really don’t look that scary. See: Space Invaders
  37. That bush you’re standing next to probably has a dungeon labyrinth underneath it. See: The Legend of Zelda
  38. Double jumping is the solution to many of life’s problems. See: God of War games and Super Ghouls and Ghosts
  39. Dwarves are more useful than barbarians. See: Golden Axe
  40. Follow the herd at your peril. See: Lemmings
  41. Expand your skill set. Only being good at one thing is extremely limiting when you are suddenly traveling through time. See: The Lost Vikings

I bet I could do this for a month, but I’ll stop there for now. Feel free to add to the list.


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  • DC5 April 21, 2011, 5:18 pm

    Feeling sorry for gigantic hairy beasts is a given, especially after you’ve killed all of them. See: Shadow of the Colossus

  • Josh Hanagarne April 21, 2011, 6:21 pm

    Oh yes. I thought the one in the water was really freaky.

  • DC5 April 21, 2011, 6:51 pm

    Oh, indeed.

  • Gustavo April 22, 2011, 8:21 am

    Lesson learned from Zelda:

    No matter how evil and invincible your enemy is, look around for the secret to defeat him that some nice guy must have kindly hidden. Do this first or you’ll just waste your time.


    No matter how many times you save her, the stupid girl will always lets herself get caught by the evil again just to make you buy the new version.

    • Tomas April 22, 2011, 11:29 am

      If I may add to the Zelda series: no matter how much good things you do for girls around you, you never get laid because you’re mute.

  • Gustavo April 22, 2011, 5:58 pm

    And I bet that background music doesn’t help either.

  • Piers McCarney April 26, 2011, 4:28 am

    •Even being able to fly in short bursts might not be awesome enough to make everyone bother with you. See Super Mario Bros. 2.
    •If you ever see a random letter just lying around, make sure you pick it up. If you complete a word like “EXTEND” this way, good things may happen. See Bubble Bobble.
    •If you are unsure of how to get ahead in life, trying ‘using’ every single item in your possession on everything around you. You never know what might work. See Monkey Island series and similar.

    I could do more, but I’m typing on a phone and it’s too annoying to make it seem worthwhile.