Instant replay

In my mid-teens, I played a lot of video games.

Well, to be more accurate, I played certain video games a lot. It wasn’t uncommon for me to spend eight hours gaming on a single day!

I became rather good at some video games. At one time, the team (“clan”) that I led ranked #1 in Europe in the game Call of Duty: United Offensive.

How did we become so good? We practiced. Just like a sports team, we’d get together and practice individual parts of a game (“war”). Where do you run when the match starts? How many seconds does it take to get from here to there? If you cover that area, and I cover this area, is there any way they can still get through without us noticing? Why did we lose last week?

It was fun, but eventually I decided I wanted to spend less of my life at a computer. Or at least, less time playing games on my computer.

These days, I do still play video games now and then. Lately I’ve been enjoying Command and Conquer: Rivals. Games are just a few minutes long, on average, but there’s a lot of tactics and strategy in those minutes.

My favorite Rivals feature is the replay functionality. When I lose a match (“battle”), the game immediately offers to show me a replay. That way I can go over my choices and see where I screwed up.

Did I not know this map well enough? Was I too slow? Did I make a tactical error, such as trying to counter rocket infantry with a vehicle? I’ll know immediately when I watch the replay, so I learn and do better in the next match.

If only such instant replay existed for non-gaming life too. We’d all learn so much more quickly. Sadly, for now, we’ll have to make do with analysis from memory.

Yours,

— Peter

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