Life after lockdown: the surprisingly transferable skills of gaming

Play that pays.
Lockdown Gaming Skills Header

With lockdown finally lifting and the easing of restrictions, I find myself looking back. Never did I imagine that my many years of being a gamer would pay off quite so well as it did.

Hear me out. I’m not exactly an esports superstar or famous streamer. Instead, I’ve found that the pursuit of escapism, pouring hundreds of hours into Monster Hunter, Call of Duty and Halo, helped me not only get through a year of lockdowns, but actually helped me change job. I bet my mom never expected that when telling eight-year-old me to stop playing and go get some sun.

Lockdown Gaming Skills Monster Hunter

But it’s not that strange, thinking about it. If you remove the swords and assault rifles (and Warthogs) you have a bunch of strangers sitting around doggedly pursuing the same goal. Although they may not know each other, they know they want to capture the flag, or get from A to B, and they know that working together is the quickest and easiest way of doing it. When that goal changes, your team adapts and reacts, especially when when communicating properly.

I’ve basically just described teamwork, being a hard worker and flexibility — all things any prospective employer looks for, and all things that we all excel at after years of co-op gaming.

So when I found myself messaging new colleagues, discussing the day’s objectives with people I had never seen or heard, I felt strangely at ease. This was just like all the times I suited up to storm a citadel or defeat an online rival in bloody combat — it was working with strangers to achieve a common goal. Instead of a headset, it was a messenger app; instead of bloody combat, it was making magazines.

Admittedly this is far less badass, but you can’t have everything can you?

Lockdown Gaming Skills RPG

Those strangers are now colleagues and friends, and as we slowly restore some semblance of normality, I look forward to meeting them all in person. But for now, since I’m working from home, I’m going to go and practice my transferable skills, channelling them through my DualSense controller.

Even if you aren’t big into multiplayer games, there are still valuable skills you can pick up. Those who sink endless hours into roleplaying games will often need to juggle a web of increasingly complex systems, breaking down gear and ability stats to maximise the fighting potential of their party. Flick through a guide for any of your favourite RPGs and you’ll find an endless list of spreadsheets and charts to pore over. Gathering and understanding that data is a valuable skill, as is being able to present it in a way other players can digest.

We’ve also seen how games can enable the learning of more creative skills. Strip away the survival elements of Minecraft and what you have is a tool that can create structures, sculptures, and even entire cities. For those who want to try their hand at developing video game, there are plenty of options available including Dreams on PS5 and PS4, as well as Crayt, RoboCraft and more.

It’s always worth remembering, especially when working from home, that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. You need to remember to switch off, leave your work, and decompress every day. It’s no wonder that videogame sales have boomed over the past year, is it?

On a final note, if the pandemic has affected your work situation, remember that all is not lost. We’ll get through this soon, you’ll find new work and you too, can put your hard-earned skills to the test.

Written by
Barely functional Pokémon Go player. Journalist. Hunter of Monster Hunter monsters. Drinks more coffee than Alan Wake.