Skills & Talents Entry: Gaming

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer. 

When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story. 

medium_4882361941Description: having a strong interest in the production of video games and spending large amounts of time playing them. Gamers are invested in the outcome of their games, finishing missions, collecting achievements, and interacting with other gamers online. Conversations revolve around critiquing games, dissecting gameplay to study technique, researching tactics, hacks and Easter eggs, as well as watching and/or building video tutorials for others to learn from.

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: strong hand-eye coordination, fast reflexes, evolved problem solving abilities, management skills (strong time management skills, understanding distribution and resource management), honed logic and reasoning, being a risk taker

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: Self-controlled, intelligent, strategic, determined, enterprising, rational, intense, analytical, curious, risk-taking, scheming, crafty, adaptable

Required Resources and Training: Gaming skills are achieved through practice and research. Spending time gaming and watching expert gamers tackle levels, missions and overcome obstacles can help gamers learn how to broaden their minds when problem solving, seeking alternative ways to achieve goals and think outside the box. Walkthroughs and tutorials can help with better resource management and strategy, giving players a leg up in the same missions, and provide valuable lessons to apply in other gameplay scenarios.

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions:

  • all gamers are nerdy, overweight basement rats
  • gamers are male
  • that gamers are wasting their lives

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

Gamers learn valuable skills that can be applied to many “real life” situations. Strategic thinking, time and resource management, adaptability and a results-driven focus are all skills that a good leader might have. Heightened observation skills and hand-eye coordination could help with many “hands on” tasks–sports, creative expressions such as painting or pottery, skill saw or other tool work, and even illegal activities such as burglaries. Many first person and third person shooter games (and even some racing games) prize themselves on realistic action and equipment, and in a extreme emergency, these skills could conceivably be drawn upon if one had to handle a weapon or evade capture. Gaming could also possibly help a person desensitize themselves enough to act if violence became the only alternative in a life or death scenario, and be task-oriented in an emergency when one must gather survival supplies and flee.

Resources for Further Information:

6 Real World Skills Learned From Playing Video Games

12 Steps to Becoming a Master Gamer

How Stuff Works: Learning Skills From Video Games

You can brainstorm other possible Skills and Talents your characters might have by checking out our FULL LIST of this Thesaurus Collection. And for more descriptive help for Setting, Symbolism, Character Traits, Physical Attributes, Emotions, Weather and more, check out our Thesaurus Collections page.

photo credit: vancouverfilmschool via photopin cc


Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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15 Responses to Skills & Talents Entry: Gaming

  1. Pingback: Monday Must-Reads [02/10/14]

  2. So what you’re saying is that all that time I spend gaming is really “research.” Awesome. 🙂

  3. The types of games you play will also engage you in other mindsets as well. Playing a fantasy RPG, Need for Speed, or Angry Birds may build on some similar skills, but they also differ in the messages they relay.

    A fantasy RPG might produce quests which produce nothing more than a gem which may or may not render anything of value. The quests, however, teach those analytical skills. More females play these than you would think.

    Need for Speed gameplay focuses more on perfecting hand-eye coordination and balance, which produces something of value when achieved – upgrades to your vehicle. I would not expect to read about a female character having this mindset, not unless she’s a tomboy. 🙂

    Angry birds, yes, patience. I don’t have the patience to play that one, but I read in an article that it has a soothing effect on the player. I think that game has a great strategy, teaching spatial perspective and timing. Anyone good at Angry birds might do well with billiards. There’s no way I’d ever have a protagonist of mine playing this game. It’s stereotypically something for older people and lazy minded.

  4. This is my son’s dream: to become a game designer. I love role-playing ones such as Final Fantasy. I wish I had more time for them.

  5. mshatch says:

    I love playing computer games even though I am not a young nerdy male. I also think playing games helps develop patience because sometimes you have to play a scene over a few times before you get it right and don’t die 🙂

  6. A post describing me? You shouldn’t have! 😉

    I will say that I don’t play first person shooters, though. The one time I took a guy who did play them to the range, he had a lot of bad habits to unlearn… LOL

  7. Rosi says:

    Thanks for another useful post. I hadn’t thought of these skills since I mostly write historical, but who knows what tomorrow may bring?

    • That’s right! And we keep seeing genres mash ups, so who knows–time travel could come into it, blending the two, or take the idea of gaming and apply it to something kids did in the past. Same idea, and often a skill set comes of it, right?

  8. Useful thoughts and suggestions especially as I’m a writer & gamer, whose WIP features gamers. And met my wife in-game.

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