Wikipedia pic of a light-gun coin-op game

If Video Games are “boot camps”, then you might be able to use your skills to earn some extra pocket money – but not really, of course.

You may not have heard, but our dear friend (who is not our dear friend at all) Jeremy Bailenson has written a ridiculous (as in ‘he is being ridiculed right now, by me’) article in response to gun violence in America. This little beauty (again, not a beauty at all) is titled “If a possible mass shooter wants to hone his craft, don’t hand him a virtual boot camp”. I will not be linking here because he won’t be getting any extra page views from me.

To spare you reading the piece (which I can imagine you already know exactly what it says #yawn), essentially, some people believe video game violence is one of the main causes of shootings in America, and also probably the bane of all evil.

I suppose lies sound much better when buzzwords like ‘Video Game Violence’ are used. In future, whenever I totally suck at writing because I’m bad at it, I’ll just use the ‘I’m trying to be real journalist here’ defense. You know, instead of having integrity and actually doing basic research on a very complex and in-depth issue.

Saying, “Oh but it’s an opinion piece” even though it’s CNN, is like saying that school shootings are ‘just a prank bro’. Which, if you think about it slowly and in detail, is literally what the piece in question is actually saying – because pranks haven’t been made in good spirits for at least 10 years. That’s the world we live in now.

Further, it’s in the Opinions column so that CNN can throw Old Matey Jezza under the bus if it goes bad – not so we can all go, “Oh, it’s just this one guy’s opinion”. CNN published it. If they expect to be continued to taken seriously, then the onus is on them to act with integrity and all those other words that so-called adults say to each other so they don’t feel as useless as they are.

Me, I’m just trying to figure out how to work a ‘butt gag’ into this article right here. I could have said ‘then the anus is on them’ back there I guess, but now the moment’s passed.

Or should I say the moment’s past? TIMEY WIMEY WORDY NERDY.

This isn’t a rebuttal piece. This is an opinion piece about his opinions, specifically this line: “In other words, virtual reality is the ultimate training machine.

But hey, there is one thing I’ve overlooked: What if Old Matey is actually right? What if you’ve been training your whole life without knowing it?

What if I told you that you’re sitting on a goldmine, right now?

NO, I’M NOT SAYING YOU HAVE A NICE BUTT. I’m sure it’s lovely, but that’s not my point here.

Oh hey, I worked in a butt gag. Nice.

Here are the top 5 skills that you’ll have if you’ve played some of the more popular video games.

Mario+Cappy
“HEY MAN GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF MY BUTT” – Cappy, yesterday. (Wikipedia)

5 – Video Game Boot Camp: Mario (various)

When most people think of Mario, they think of an Italian plumber in overalls. When I think of Mario, I think of a mushroom-addicted hobo who trudges through sewers and punches bricks because he’s always off his rocker (see: mushroom-addicted).

But regardless of this, Mario is well known for many things. And if you’ve ever played a Mario game, then this is what you were secretly learning.

What you learnt from playing Mario:

  • How to jump around (House of Pain fans represent).
  • How to introduce yourself to people (It’s-a me, Mario!).
  • How to make ordinary things sound exciting (see also: It’s-a me, Mario!).
  • How to look good while wearing increasingly strange outfits (bonus points if your hat can possess things).
  • How to find secrets, including ‘worlds’ and ‘niches’ (PROTIP: sewers suck in real life).

How can you use these skills to make money?

  • A Cosplay Personal Instructor.

Yes, that’s a thing.

I only wish I was quite portly and needed to lose weight and lived near someone who did this.

Two out of three ain’t bad, I guess.

Pacman
I remain disappointed that I’ve never played a Pacman/Ghostbusters mash-up game, but not enough to write one myself.
(Wikipedia)

4 – Video Game Boot Camp: Pacman

We’ve all heard the joke about “If video games affected us as youth, we’d all be running around eating pills listening to electronic music in dark rooms”, mainly because if you hadn’t before then you have now.

I mean, really, I could have just written that 37 times to make my point. But no, I’m expected to write actual words and not just garbage opinions. Because I’m not ‘a real jounalist’.

Moving on.

What you learnt from playing Pacman:

  • Being lonely.
  • How to eat small pills.
  • How to eat large pills.
  • Not to be scared of ghosts.
  • How to avoid bumping into the same part of a wall over and over.

How can you use these skills to make money?

  • Professional Elderly Person.

Hey, it worked for Kieth Richards.

Tetris
The Amiga 500 version of Tetris was the first one I ever played. (Wikipedia)

3 – Video Game Boot Camp: Tetris

I used to be in a band with a guy who used to be able to completely ignore physics and pack two cars worth of stuff into one car. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I swear it’s true.

I tried to make Tetris his nickname, but it never really stuck. That wasn’t fetch, that was not fetch at all.

What you learnt from playing Tetris:

  • How to suck at managing long lines.
  • How to manipulate things to make them easier to manage.
  • How to judge everything by certain criteria and nothing else.
  • How to make things disappear by letting things stack up on top of them.
  • How to force things into a space where they clearly have no reason to be.

How can you use these skills to make money?

  • You should obviously work for a Job Service Agency.
ContraNES
It’s just a jump to the UP UP DOWN DOWN and then a step to LEFT RIGHT LEFT RI-ye-i-ye-IGHT. You put your hands on your A button, B button and bring your knees in tight. Let’s do the Konami code again! (Wikipedia)

2 – Video Game Boot Camp: Contra

What you learnt from playing Contra:

  • How to cheat and get away with it. That’s basically it.

How can you use that skill to make money?

  • Politician.

Unless you’re Barnaby Joyce (see also: ‘and get away with it’).

HOORAH!
Press HOORAH! to pay respects. (Wikipedia)

1 – Video Game Boot Camp: America’s Army

America’s Army is one of those strange games where it’s named after the developers. That’s right: America’s Army was produced by America’s Army, and is primarily about (wait for it, you won’t see this coming) things you would do if you were in America’s Army.

I’d like you to read the very first sentence of the Wikipedia page for America’s Army, which I have lovingly copy-pasted below for your convenience because I love you and want to do nice things for you.

“America’s Army is a game technology platform used to develop first-person shooter (FPS) video games published in 2002 by the U.S. Army ”

As they say on Reddit: Read that last sentence again, but much slower this time.

That’s right: This game was designed by the US Military to be a legitimate Virtual Reality Boot Camp. Please note that I have clearly used a buzzword to make ‘electronic entertainment’ sound like it’s way more realistic and immersive than it actually is, because I’m trying to be a real journalist here.

Anyway, THIS is why we haven’t really heard anything about Video Game Violence for years, see? Because if you take that idea on, then you’re taking on the US Army by proxy.

Again, as Reddit says: Read that last sentence again, but slower this time. Our Video Game Violence isn’t just okay, it’s sanctioned by the largest group of high-tech warriors in actual real-life existence.

Everybody wanna be like 'mic'.
Don’t worry if you don’t know why this picture is here. I’m foreshadowing. (Wikipedia)

And then along comes President Trump! Regardless of what you think of him or his existence as a living meme, he’s very interesting in one rarely-mentioned way: He’s the first American President in recent history who doesn’t toe the line for the military-industrial complex.

His willingness to get involved in the politics of the gaming industry about the laughable and still unproven claim that video game violence has any bearing on violent behaviour – and not about the shabby business practices of the gaming industry because he’s a businessman himself – is proof that he doesn’t care to ‘play nice’ with the military.

Bush Jr might not have been considered the most MENSA-eligible president, but even he knew not to take on America’s Army.

But you’re not here for well-thought-out and fresh ideas about the world in which we live, are you? If you wanted that, you’d be reading something from a major media outlet. You know, where all the real journalists are.

No, you’re here to be entertained by my stupid and not-famous-enough-to-even-be-controversial thoughts.

What you learnt from playing America’s Army:

  • How to use a gun.
  • How to maintain a gun.
  • How to correctly equip body armour.
  • How to defend your nation with weapons.
  • How to command a group of subordinates to quickly find cover.

How can you use these skills to make money?

  • Teaching in America.
How come nobody wanna be like 'mic'?
This mic is on the floor because I dropped it just now. (Wikipedia)

As you’ve probably gauged from my perfectly refined satire (thanks to my overworked editor)*, video games are not the issue.

We haven’t learnt dangerous skills – or any real skills for that matter – from gaming.

The causal link between the two is absent and reactionary. Here, these real journalists lay it out clearly in this very funkadelic (sorry for saying funkadelic) video.

If you enjoyed this list format, then why not check out some more from Digital Fox Media?

*I feel obliged to say that I, Liam, typed this bit in. My editor originally wrote ‘thanks Mum’ but my mother (as much as I love her) isn’t the one editing my work and making me cleverer than I am. Wait, should that be ‘more clever’? Well, you see my point I’m sure.

Liam Padmore, sometimes referred to as the duck-billed platypus, is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania.