What Ender’s Game (the book) taught me about video games, and life.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST GETS VERY PREACHY. IF YOU DON’T LIKE MORALITY RANTS, TURN AWAY NOW! 

Alright, so it is a very well-known secret that books can change your outlook on life. Your very beliefs really. I mean what else is the Bible, then a book with huge influence? (No offense intended to any Christian or other bible minded individuals)

Everyone knows that books can have effects on life, can help you through decisions, and so on. But what people don’t always know, is that this applies to all books. Fiction as well as poetry, nonfiction as well as historical. All of them could change you.

For me there is a few books that did this. Brave New World, Illusions. But most of all, Ender’s Game.

“Human beings may be miserable specimens, in the main, but we can learn, and, through learning, become decent people.” 
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

You see, while the book may be a fairly standard (for the most part) science fiction story, it has a few ideas that stood out to me, that grabbed my attention. Ideas that I will share with you now, one that maybe, just maybe, might teach you something about life. Also how to play video games better.

Or I’m just going to seem pretentious. Who knows?

Okay, so let’s do this list-style. Though it will not be in any particular order.

1.) “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him.”

How this applies to games:

I don’t know how many of you out there play Magic the Gathering, but it is a game where this advice shines. Because you see, when you are fighting another person, and you understand what they play, why they play it, that is powerful. When you hit a state where you admire you opponents, that is when you can win. It becomes a sense, you know what they are going to play. High level players of any competitive game develop an almost physic understanding of what the other is going to try. When the moves they make are all clearly the best, that is when empathy is powerful. Because you can play around them, because you know them.

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How this applies to life:

Alright, so this is one about morals. Ever since I read this book my capacity to hate others has dwindled, dramatically. We as humans are capable of empathy, I am not arguing against that, but that does not mean we do not get annoyed with people. I am no better, but even when you hate or dislike a person, you just need to step back and look through their eyes just for a minute. The girl who is obnoxious and always bugging other people’s groups? She is only that way because she was never included. The boy who does not talk to you, even when you try? He got that way because for the longest time, no one cared enough to notice him.

I am simply saying not to judge to harshly, please just look at them for a second. Every human is as complex as you, not the stereotypes that we like to operate on. The world is not all black and white. Yeah, that is a cliché statement, but it is over used for a reason. Because it is true. We all have issues. Don’t just point them out, understand why they have them. Then, and only then can you judge them.

2.)    “I need you to be clever, Bean. I need you to think of solutions to problems we haven’t seen yet. I want you to try things that no one has ever tried because they’re absolutely stupid.”

How this applies to games:

Alright so this one requires me to tell you a story. A story of how I lost to someone in a card game. In the game Hearthstone, you have a 30 card deck. When you run out of cards you are considered “Exhausted”. This does not mean an instant game over, no, instead you take increasing damage for each draw you would take. 1 then 2 then 3 etc. So I am playing against an opponent who is also in the same state as I (exhausted). He has more health then I do, but I have lethal damage in my hand.  As soon as he ends his turn I will win. He has no monsters to attack me, and no damage spells. Anything he plays will not be able to attack on the turn, so I thought I had won.

Then he was creative, stupidly creative. Winning at the absolute cusp of defeat.

How did he do it, you might ask?

He made me draw cards.

4 cards, 10 damage. I lost before I could destroy him. Why? Because he did something that was so completely stupid, so out of nowhere, that I lost to it in seconds.

Lesson learned, the best plays are often the ones that you never thought of.

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How this applies to life:

Well it is really summed up in that last sentence, but I’ll expand upon it. You are told in life that you need to do a very precise series of task. School, College, Job, Family, Retire, Die. Most people default to this, as it is the established rules. Well I must say, that sounds rather boring does it not? Absolutely terrible really. So structured, no experiments, no joy.

Now I am not saying that these things do not have merit, and in fact the principles of them are solid. But I implore people to find something that really works for them. Especially in the job department.

I long ago learned that the only way to get anything done is to structure your life around it. The reason most people trying to lose weight fail at it, is because they try to fit it into schedules that does not have any space for things. A simple life has its merits guys, you can cut things, especially if they are just driving you mad.

Seems like an insane idea, right?

Yep, absolutely crazy, moronic really.

But I’ll tell you a secret, all the best ones are.

3.) “The enemy gate is down.”

How this applies to games:

In a game, the winner, wins. Correct? When the game is over, who won, is what matters, right? Alright good, then rip them apart, go for broke. Whatever the goal of the game is, then go for that. These are pixels we are playing with right? Not actual humans lives. So if that objective needs to be taken, then take it. No matter how many go down defending it.

I can show this in a very simple example.

In League of Legends, the end goal is to destroy the enemy Nexus. So if the Nexus breaks then you win. End, period. So what if your entire team dies. As long as you broke the Nexus then the game is won. Like in my past story with Hearthstone, he won because he won. It did not matter that he killed me via card draw. The game gave him the victory.

Just remember the goal, then hit is hard and fast.

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How this applies to life:  

One of my favorite sayings is “It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission”. There is a reason for that. The word is so clogged up with hoops, so many things meant to slow you down. I say, as long as you don’t do anything illegal, then bypass all the problems. You would be surprised how little you are questioned when you act like you are supposed to be there. Find the loopholes, the cogs that can be skipped.

The goal is boys and girls, to get the most out of life, while doing the least amount of effort.

I am not promoting laziness, I am promoting efficiency, sanity, and clarity.

Strive for it.

Find the arbitrariness, and cut. Do what you need to, and what you want to.

Nothing else.

Remember to be kind, don’t lie, never steal. Just do things the right way.

Wow, that was very preachy. I guess I needed to get that out of my system.

Well I hope you got something out of that at least. Maybe learned something? Maybe felt reaffirmed in your believes? Or at least got some enjoyment over me putting my foot in my mouth?

Well in what ever case, have a nice day, and stay tuned for new reviews and rants. Every Wednesday and Saturday!

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 “People will always go. Always. They always believe the can make a better life than in the old world.”

 “What the hell, maybe they can.”

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