I recently started playing Ingress, a video game that you play outside by walking around. It’s really fun and I would recommend it even if you’re not the typical video-game-playing nerd. You can learn a lot about yourself when you’re starting something new, and you can also learn a lot about yourself when you play a game. The way you deal with frustration and failure in a game can be a good preparation to real life, so here is a summary of my experience playing and the lessons I took from it.
Of course whenever you start a new video game, you start at level 1 and try to figure out what’s it all about and how to use stuff and what to do with it. Everything is new and exciting. Then, when you get to level 2 you start noticing other players around you. You get more strategic about things and maybe even learn a couple of tricks. You start to connect to people and learn. At level 3 you notice how many more strong players there are and that in order to do anything, you need to level up! You need a lot of points and need to do a lot of walking around to get stronger to be on an even level with everyone else. Time to level up! At level 4 you notice that it was easy to level up to this point but that it becomes harder each time you reach a new level. You need to put in more effort and time in order to reach the more advanced players on level 8. Keep going and don’t get frustrated because you are still somewhat weak. Nevertheless if you continue here, you will get to level up again and be one step closer to being a powerful player that can actually do stuff.
At level 5 you start to see a difference. You’ve learned the ropes and know how to work the system to get maximum points and you are able to some things as you’ve leveled up enough to be even with most of the newer players. Looking at how far you’ve come is fun and you anticipate getting to level 6. I’m currently at level 6, this seems to be a good level to be at as most portals around me are about level 5-8 which means I can destroy about 30% of enemy portals and therefore make a difference in the team. Playing is fun because I have more power and knowledge.
My most important lessons learned from playing so far are:
1) Level up quickly. The less time you spend crawling around at the bottom of the pack, the more fun it’ll be. This is true for life in general as well. If you try to learn a new skill, regardless of what it is, it’s essential to become good quickly or else it’ll be boring.
2) Be prepared to do some work. Nothing is easy at the beginning. You’re a tiny tiny player with everything you start when you start it. It will pay off but it might take some time. Be persistent.
3) There are people out there who are doing the thing you’re trying to get into for a long time, and they are way more powerful than you are, but this doesn’t mean that you should give up. There will always be people who are better than you are, learn how to deal with frustration and simply do your own best. After you watch them for some time to see what can be done and how powerful one can be, stop looking at them and primarily focus on your own development.