The Unexpected Benefits of Games for the Average Software Developer

One of our founding members (a.k.a., Captain Lyubomir Bozhinov) has written the following article. We are proud to share it with you. You may find the original article here.

A lot has been written on the virtues of video games - and even more still on the terrible influence they allegedly are. Of course, I support the former point of view, as is clearly evident by the title of this article, my current occupation, and my Steam library.

This will be decidedly unscientific. There will be no substantiation of my claims. No Harvard referencing. So, you know, fair warning. But lack of academic rigour aside, I still think the ideas laid out here should not be dismissed outright.

As I said, I would like to support the numerous individuals who have posited that moderate perusal of video games is actually good for you. I will not, however, focus on the correlation between first-person shooters and improved hand-eye coordination. Nothing so tangible as that. Rather, I'd like to propose the idea of a Quest-Reward Principle as a beneficial force in the IT industry.

Any person ever who has played any role-playing video game (RPG) will know what I mean by the words Quest and Reward. In that genre, the two are very obviously and directly related, i.e., in order to get the reward, you must finish the quest.

To get the Treasure, you must defeat the mean Goblin King. To marry the Princess, you must slay the fearsome Dragon. I think you more or less see now where I am headed with this, but I'll add one more example: to become a Great Software Developer, you must (like in the cases described above) overcome Challenges. These challenges may take any form imaginable - from Write Better Code Than the Day Before to Learn New Programming Languages to There Is No Beer Fridge, Deal with It.

They may be something you feel like doing, or a task you utterly abhor. They may feel like victories, or gut-wrenching defeats. Whatever the case may be, they always bring us closer to our goals. They are what we must face to become more than we were a couple of months or weeks, or days ago.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that we should all suddenly start enjoying the boring, repetitive tasks we are sometimes forced to do. Neither do I think that a terrible job could miraculously become great just by wishing. But this way of thinking about your IT job is quite good, if I do say so myself.

Now bear with me and imagine the following: your favourite programming language becomes your Primary Weapon, Stack Overflow is a Magic Scroll of Infinite Wisdom, and your client is the Damsel in Distress. Don't you just feel the urge to go forth and do battle with those bothersome Bugs?

After all, through a shift in attitude combined with concerted effort, a good job can become something truly special. In our industry, the path to victory is rather clear: finish the most difficult quests, get the best rewards.


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