Video games have imbued me with an entire arboretum of real life skill-trees. Theme Hospital taught me how to successfully manage a comedy-themed hospital, GTA taught me how to recklessly navigate urban conurbations, while The Sims taught me the way to someone's heart is to repeatedly hug and dance with them until they'll let you propose.
Unfortunately, I've yet to utilize any of these skills in a real-world life-or-death situation, and so for the meantime, I'm restricted to solely using them at four in the morning while wearing only my underpants.
However, that doesn't mean other heroic gamers haven't put their control pad skills to good use in the real world. Here are SIX examples of video game skills saving real lives.
America's Army Teaches Life Saving First Aid
Now, the jury is still out on whether America's Army is more of a video game or a military recruitment tool, however it is undebatable that the free downloadable 'game' has helped at least save one person's life.
America's Army prides itself on providing a realistic military experience - and that includes sticking you in a class room and teaching you real-world first aid. Back in 2007, America's Army enthusiast Paxton Galvanek was able to use these medical skills to help prevent a car crash victim from bleeding out.
After witnessing an SUV flip in front of him, Galvanek was able to come to the rescue and pull the driver to safety. After noticing the driver had several fingers missing, Galvanek created a makeshift dressing and then elevated the wound to slow down the bleeding. His actions might have just prevented the poor driver from bleeding out before the paramedics arrived. Here he is being all modest below:
Strange to see FOX reporting positively about a video game, right?
Kid Uses Mario Kart Skills To Save The Day
I haven't played Mario Kart in a few years, and I don't know if the driving mechanics have become more realistic or something, but apparently a 10-year old from Hugo, Colorado was able to utilize his power-sliding, banana-peel-avoiding and red-shell-firing skills to escape a potentially deadly situation.
When his great grandmother passed out while storming down a highway at 60 mph, Gryffin Sanders' first thought was his elderly relative was instigating some kind of terrifying competency test. However, with the car veering across the center lane and his 4-year-old brother in the back, Gryffin channeled his skills from Mario Kart and grabbed the wheel. He was able to steer the car back onto his side of the road and eventually drove into a conveniently placed ditch of mud which brought the car to a surprisingly safe stop.
Gryffin was later given a medal by the local police service, although I don't think the ceremony took place outside Princess Peach's Castle.
Different Kid Uses Grand Theft Auto Skills To Save The Day
In an uncannily similar situation to the above incident, an 11-year-old kid also saved the day after his elderly relative passed out at the wheel.
Charley Cullen, from Co Meath, Ireland also thought his grandfather was messing around when he passed out at the wheel while bombing it down the road at 73mph. However, when his grandfather's hands slipped off the wheel, Charley realized it was no joke. Immediately he channeled the spirit of GTA's criminal protagonists and managed to steer the car round a corner away from a river and into the side of a castle (in Ireland there are pretty much castles on every corner). He later claimed:
The only way I had any experience was the Grand Theft Auto game.
Of course, officially an 11 year old probably shouldn't be playing GTA, although I bet his grandfather is glad that's one rule that isn't enforced in the Cullen household.
Yeah, take that Jack Thompson!
Boy Uses World of Warcraft Skills To Manage Moose Aggro
However, it's not just rudimentary driving skills that young gamers have learned. One Norwegian 12 year old, Hans Jørgen Olsen, was able to use his World of Warcraft abilities to save himself and his sister from an enraged moose.
While wandering around a Norwegian forest, Hans and his younger sister were surprised by the presence of a pissed moose. Clearly the moose was having a bad day because he immediately decided to attack the adorable Nordic children. However, by utilizing two World of Warcraft abilities, Hans was able to save the day.
First he used 'taunt', a World of Warcraft ability that allows you to draw an enemy away from a weaker ally and onto you. By shouting and taunting the moose, he was able to give his sister an avenue of escape. However, now the moose 'aggro' was now on him. To escape this he claimed he used 'feign death', "just like you learn at level 30 in World of Warcraft." By pretending to be dead, Hans lost the moose aggro, who presumably only likes to devour children alive.
Gran Turismo Skills Prevent Grasshopper Related Tragedy, Makes Driver Look Really Cool
Who knew a collision between a car and a grasshopper could produce so much peril?
An online contributor by the name of DJuxtaposition recently submitted his own tale of how video games saved his life. It seems that while he was engaged in a grueling battle with a grasshopper on his windshield, he accidentally drove off the road. However, his Gran Turismo skills kicked in, allowing him to save the day and banish the embarrassment of driving off the road in the first place. He explained:
I was going down an incline into a big ditch type thing, and my rear wheels slipped out from under me. My car was sliding to the point where it was perpendicular to the road. A barbed wire fence and a tree were coming dangerously close to wrecking me for good. I don't exactly remember the details, but I do remember thinking, as I was bringing my unruly vehicle under control, 'Hey, this is like that time in Gran Turismo where I was coming off the ramp and I slid into the grass. Cool.' And I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but the guy in the passenger seat swears I did it all with one hand.
Video Games Might Some Day Save YOUR Life
Of course, none of us hope to find ourselves of the receiving end of a surgeon's scalpel on an operating table, but if you do, you better hope your surgeon is a gamer.
In 2004 a study was carried out to see if surgeons who played video games were more effective at conducting actual operations. The results are rather startling, the study concluded: "surgeons who played video games for at least three hours a week were 27 percent faster and made 37 percent fewer mistakes than surgeons who did not play video games".
Indeed, the co-author of the report, Dr Rosser Jr. attributes his insane body slicing skills to the fact he 'warms up' before each operation with a game of Super Monkey Ball. Personally, I'd prefer him to warm up with Surgeon Simulator but I suppose Super Monkey Ball will do...
Have there been any instances in your life where your gaming skills came into use?