At first glance, you may not see any correlation between video games and risk. After all, games take you to fantasy worlds where the consequences of failure are often very trivial. In most games, you start over from your latest save point.
Go in prepared or prepare to be owned
And if the going gets really tough, you can always dial down the difficulty level. There are even games where you have access to cheat codes that give you god-like powers, among other things.
Even when you take all that into consideration, you have to admit that those are all powers that you have outside the game world, or when you break the immersion within that world by pausing and changing the menu settings and other things.
Stick with the rules of the game as set by the developer, and you will learn plenty about risk and how to manage it, just like in real life. And many of the lessons you learn in the game world are transferrable to real-world situations.
Here are 5 lessons you can learn from video games about risk management, with specific examples from some of the most challenging and unforgiving game scenarios out there.
1. The Importance of Information
Lack of knowledge about things is not a crime, unless it pertains to your immediate environment, and has implications for your survival. In business and life, the more factors you are aware of, the lower your risk.
In competitive strategy games like Starcraft II and Warcraft III, professional players always make it a point to constantly scout the enemy's bases. They will continuously send some weak units to certain death, all in the hope of gaining important insights into what their opponent is planning.
In these games, you will quickly learn the importance of scouting. There are many ways in which a player can take his/her opponent by surprise, through sneak attacks, ambushes, and more. If you have advance information, you take the element of surprise out of the equation and gain a decisive advantage.
2. Mistakes will Happen, Learn from Them
The Dark Souls series of action RPGs have a special reputation in the gaming world. They are widely considered among the toughest games of all time. The difficulty level and initial learning curve are quite unlike anything you ever see in any other video game.
Many players quit out of sheer frustration, due to the incredibly tough bosses and obscure mechanics. If you stick with it though, you will get the hang of it, but only after countless deaths. You see, unlike other similar games, death does not carry any string penalties in a Souls game.
It encourages you to explore, make mistakes, and adapt based on your past attempts. You will still get killed in one shot every now and then, prompting you to throw down your controller in sheer frustration.
But once you figure out how to beat the game’s many unique bosses, the whole thing becomes quite addictive. And while you play it over and over again, the game also teaches you about learning from errors.
3. The Value of Caution
Any game with an “ironman” mode or "perma-death" feature can teach you a lot about caution. The former is a game mode where you do not have a safety net, in the form of frequent savegames. If you make a mistake, it is permanent - you have to live with the consequences or quit and start a new game.
Perhaps the best example of ironman mode and perma-death is the X-Com series of games. Your team of soldiers has to fight powerful aliens in turn-based combat scenarios. If you make a single wrong move in ironman, you could end up wiping out your entire squad!
If that doesn’t teach you the value of cautious play, online casino gaming probably will. The expert players in this scene are always looking to minimize their stake, something which can be done using special casino offers. But these offers stick around only for limited periods, which is why real gamblers make sure to use free spins offered as no deposit bonuses as they come up. You should too if you want to reduce risk while still having a great chance to win a lot!
4. The Importance of Adequate Preparation
In open-world RPGs like Skyrim, there are hundreds of quests large and small spread across the game world. You are free to take on any quest you feel like, with an important caveat - they all have varying levels of challenges/difficulty.
The allure of loot and rewards may be quite irresistible, but you will soon learn about the importance of proper preparation. If a dungeon is crawling with high-level wizards, you better have your magical resistance and mana damage high enough.
If that is not the case, you should leave that quest for the time being, and look to improve these aspects. Once you level up a few times (by completing other easier quests) you can return to that dungeon and wipe the floor clean with those pesky sorcerers!
The same way, you can mitigate your risk in business and life by honing the basic skills. You cannot learn and master all the skills out there, which is why you should focus on improving certain core skills. You can always form a party with other players/NPCs to create a more balanced force. That brings us neatly to the next point:
5. Teamwork and Communication can Make a Difference
There are many team-based multiplayer games out there. Counter-Strike and DOTA are the two best-known examples with a long history of professional gaming. And in all these games, the best teams are those that communicate with each other all the time and work together.
Even with single-player adventure games like Skyrim and Diablo, you can have parties of AI characters around to assist you during battles. Combining members with complementary skills will go a long way in ensuring your success.
All these are applicable in real-world risk management as well. Coordinated action can help you move mountains. Proper communication can help you quickly identify evolving threats and nip them in the bud.