Using Video Games For Self-Defense?


March 12, 2004, 01:36 PM
I've read in quite afew articals recently related to the findings, that video games, especially First Person Shooter (FPS) games help atune and coordinate skills for visual, hand-eye and thought processing with many young people. Infact, many studies show the these people who play games of this sort, score far better marks in the professional fields related to these types of games that thier tested and recruited in than people who don't play these types of games. (Tactical and Team-Warfare style games|Military and Law Enforcement professions)

I'm wondering from you, if you play these types of games, do you notice a higher success rate in the way you train for self-defense apply these skills learned on a computer or console gaming system?

The games listed in some of these articals were:

Medal Of Honor
Rainbow Six
Battlefield 1942
Call Of Duty

If you enjoyed reading about "Using Video Games For Self-Defense?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 12, 2004, 01:44 PM
Can't directly address the question of video games, but a couple weeks ago I had a short session on a F.A.T.S. simulator and did a lot worse there than I do against paper targets with a real gun. I think it's a matter of reflexes; the action is happening and you've got to keep up with it. All the bad habbits tend to show up as you try to outshoot the guy who is shooting at you.

The only first person shooter game I've ever played was Lethal Enforcers on Nintendo. The difference between the two was that LE would have an occasional no shoot show up in the middle of a firefight, while F.A.T.S had you in the no shoot mode most of the time and the shoot target seemed to come out of nowhere.

March 12, 2004, 01:54 PM
There was a pretty cool Modern Marvels (History Channel) show on Firing Ranges. One of the segments was on a virtual range used by the U.S. Army. IIRC, they had some replica M-16s, SAWS, M2s, anti-tank rockets, etc setup in front of a huge screen where a computer displayed a battlefield where a number of scenarios could be played out.

The military uses a number of simulators for all kinds of scenarios and equipment. However, the common denominator is that they all use the same controls as the real thing. They also always seem to use 3D environment. You don't get that with standard computer games and that is a huge detriment. On a PC video game, you are living in a world of tunnel vision. You just can't simulate a guy sneaking up behind you while another distracts you from the front.

March 12, 2004, 01:55 PM
while i like the outcome of that study regarding FPS games, i really dont see how it could have much of an effect in real life scenarios.

yes, your eyes are more attune to subtle changes on the screen, but you are looking at one environment and you KNOW what to expect, you KNOW what places the badguy could be hiding in, you KNOW what your reaction should be.

in the real world, i'm not much more apt to notice the dangers. i say this because when i walk to work or home, i often dont see the moose thats munching on the tree branches until i'm right up on it, even though the moose is dark brown against the snowy white background.

you'd think that after living in moose habitats my entire life, and playing fps the last 5 years i'd notice a 800 lb behemoth in my line of sight.

not to mention how the brain wants to respond. in a game, if your player loses all health they die. and most often respawn immediately, or a few minutes later. while playing you are more likely to engage in risky tactics because what does it matter? in 5 seconds you'll be back in the game.
not so in real life.

FPS are fun and they probably do increase a persons ability to notice changes in the environment displayed on their monitor, but by no means are they combat simulators, imho.

March 12, 2004, 02:00 PM
When I lived in China I started playing Counterstrike because with Chinese college boys (my students) that was the thing to do. Many of them told me that they think it can be of benefit to them because if they ever go to war then they will be ready thanks to Counterstrike. I personally think they are living in an escapist dream world but to each his own.

brad cook

March 12, 2004, 02:04 PM
I play lots of shooters for consoles systems but when it comes to practical self defense, I have no personal experience. I know from personal experience video games improve reaction time but they have no effect on how well you shoot at the range. Experts say first person shooters desensitize people to killing, having never shot someone I cannot attest to this claim.

March 12, 2004, 02:09 PM
The following story is true:

An Israeli paintball place once ran an event that featured a team of Special Forces veterans vs. a team of Counterstrike players.

The CS people ran over the SF people like a T-80UD runs over a golf cart.

March 12, 2004, 02:10 PM
Yes and no.

Some shooters (including myself) found that some games planted the seeds for an interest in firearms and became disciples of tacticality.

And the only person who I've ever had leave the firing line and sit behind the glass windows was a really timid dude who thought he knew too much to listen because he'd been playing CS. He was pretty damn good at it, too.

My main gripe with FPS games is that the guns are mounted on wheeled tripods. Folks think you can point a 18 lb sniper rifle with a 14x scope offhand and whack a moving target from 300 yards. Maybe people can but I sure don't have the skills, strength or technique to pull it off. But kids end up thinking 'snipering' and 'camping' is 'cheap' and have special Deagle only stages for when people 'cheat' and 'sniper' people with their 'a-whop' (Accuracy Intl AWP).

On the other hand, I've gotten better at games, at least ones where you're indoors. Outdoors, the bad guys can peg you in the head from 200 yds even though you're concealed behind a tree because while you can't see through the tree, the AI can. Go figure.

Medal of Honor is much easier this time around.

Open. Slice pie. Hose down BG (it's society's fault). Scan. Listen for jackboots. Hose down another another BG. Scan, listen. Tac reload. Etc. No more running around with one paw on 'quick save'.

March 12, 2004, 02:13 PM
A definate downside to playing FPSs on the Xbox, for instance is two fold. One, I am in the habit of keeping my finger off the trigger. This is a habit I do not want to break. The downside is, it slows me down in the game. Two, especially in HALO, my trigger discipline goes out the window.

No smooth front sight, press there. No siree.

I'm a big trigger jerker.
That's a habit I'd like to break.

I s'pose FPSs might be ok for building teamwork and familiarity with your partner/team if played multi player.

I also find myself doing reckless things in the game, things that would definately make the life insurance man freak out if done in the Real World.
Like gunfighting.


March 12, 2004, 02:32 PM
FPS games can help develop rudementary tactics and team-work, depending on the game. And it can also help with hand-eye co-ordination. Beyond that, I don't think they are generally worth much else. And I say that as a big FPS fan. In fact, I actually gained my interest in weapons from video games. I had always vaguely figured that the Second Amendment was a good idea and all, shouldn't violate it and such. But FPS games like Half-Life and Rainbow Six really peeked my interest.

Henry Bowman
March 12, 2004, 02:45 PM
Welcome to THR, Zan. What else do you do around Cincy?

March 12, 2004, 02:52 PM
There is most definitely a benefit to playing videogames.

The Rainbow Six series will make you learn squad and small team tactics pretty quickly.

Can't say so much for counterstrike. For a game that would really demand teamwork, rarely is there ever such. Perhaps it's because of the maturity level of those who play.

March 12, 2004, 03:37 PM
I play video games and I am a fanatical competitive shooter. I really don't think there is much transfer over at all. Since I can win HALO on legendary solo, then I should be able to whoop Grand Masters, but that hasn't happened yet. :)

I also used to be a very avid paintballer, so I know that MicroBalrog's example doesn't really mean squat in real life. Paintball doesn't really reflect on actual gun use very realistically either.

I do have very good reflexes and reaction time, thats why I'm pretty good at games and it does help in shooting competition, but one isn't caused by the other.

March 12, 2004, 05:00 PM
Some shooters (including myself) found that some games planted the seeds for an interest in firearms and became disciples of tacticality.
I think this is the biggest connection ... those who develop an interest in FPS games (particularly realistic ones) tend to develp an interest in firearms and training ... plus I know tons of FPS players who also play paintball.

My main gripe with FPS games is that the guns are mounted on wheeled tripods.

I keep telling ya man ... the solution to that problem is Infiltration ( :evil:

Mark Tyson
March 12, 2004, 05:05 PM
I thought this thread was going to be about how to use an Xbox as an impact weapon.

Video games can teach some basic team tactics, but cannot impart motor skills, and are of very limited usefulness.

March 12, 2004, 05:18 PM
Since I can win HALO on legendary solo

Holy crap, Correia, I need to get with you -- maybe you can show me what I'm doing wrong. In legendary, I'm stuck on the third level ("Keyes") at the gravity lift... I've been stuck there for about 2 weeks. :rolleyes:


Other than the supposed "coordination" that you're supposed to gain, I think there are possibly some BAD things that come from FPS games.

For instance: You can't look at somebody without pointing your weapon at them. That always bugged me in HALO, since your teammates do it to you, too.

You are also conditioned to keep your finger on the controller trigger, too.

And the one game series I know of that had a "safety" for your weapon has since ditched that feature (Rainbow Six, and Rainbow Six 3, respectively).

Have we ever thought about the psychological effects of playing video games? After reading shooting reports, I have heard several people say that it is important to get the "I never want to have to shoot anybody," mindset out of your head.

I kind of take that to heart, since that's exactly how I feel. Is it possible that playing video games may help? (*here's a good one: I've been playing FPS games for most of my life, so if that could help, why do I still say that?*)

I suppose it would be different if there was a game out there with some features that were MUCH more realistic. For instance, if your character has a 1911, when you load it, you have to push a button to work the slide stop, and then the hammer stays back, and you have to press a button to activate the safety. You would have to top off the mag to get full capacity. Maybe you could do both "tactical" reloads and emergency reloads, and use the sights to shoot -- but with the kind of shakiness that we all probably get.

Hopefully someone will understand what I'm talking about. :rolleyes:


March 12, 2004, 05:28 PM
I ought to hang out with you guys. I suck at videogames :barf:

I just like runing that Garand dry on MOH just ot hear the **PING**.

March 12, 2004, 05:32 PM
pc or console skunk?

March 12, 2004, 05:35 PM
I suck at PC games but I like them. I have no interest in console...even if it's the same game like MOH or Splinter Cell I have no desire to play it. Go figure.

March 12, 2004, 05:36 PM
I remember reading an article a few years back that actually discussed this.

The article said that many kids that were involved in shootings, were actually becoming better and better, with no practice at the range. Maybe not better, but deadlier. The article stated that the police had noticed an increase in head shots since many of the games had come out, and they were trying to connect the two, since in many of the games, a head shot is the only way to go.

They stated that the kids that were playing the FPS games were being trained to shoot for the head just by playing the games.

No idea if it is true or not.

I think there are a few advantages to playing, although I will admit I no longer play.

Small group tactics can be learned to a certain degree if you are playing with a group that is willing to co-ordinate movement and such.

You can learn to use cover in some of the games, and also to "slice the pie".

I think that there are two advantages that I learned from playing the games.

First, never count on the first shot to drop the opponent. Always shoot at least two, and be ready to keep shooting,

and Second, learn when to do a tac reload.

Other than that, I see them as games, and I certainly wouldn't look at them as training aids.

I also wouldn't consider paintball to be very realistic either. I know that whenever I played paintball, I was much more likely to use tactics that were very risky, because, hey if I got shot, no biggie, I would be back in the next game.


Black Majik
March 12, 2004, 06:36 PM
Maybe it does help maybe it doesn't.

For example Counterstrike. I doubt many of us are gonna go rush the bad guys and get 4 kills, 3 with headshots and call it a day. Hell I know in real life self defense I'm gonna sit back (camp) and wait for the BG's to come find me. :o

If video games helped me for self defense then that means I can snipe people with the Accuracy International AWP in .04 seconds without a scope! :D

If we can only bunnyhop in real life...:neener:

March 12, 2004, 06:41 PM
I'm another video-game nut and I don't think there's much of a direct connection. I think the fundamental flaw is the level of stress is just not as high as being shot at. I think paintball gets up another notch over video games on the dealing-with-panic aspect.

Rainbow Six 3 on XBox Live does have some nice tactics/communication benefits, along with counting your ammo, big guns beat little guns, stealth beats rushing, and full-auto you'll miss someone right in front of you. You're right about the trigger though. If I'm 40 milliseconds slower on the trigger than some of the kids I play with then I'm dead meat.

Fumegator, where exactly are you stuck? I've run through Halo on Legendary mode a bunch of times (just a stress reliever now) and most 'scenes' have a tactic or weapons load that makes 'em easier. Some just remain insanely hard (who gave those Golden Elites energy swords I can't use?!?!).

March 12, 2004, 06:53 PM
Believe me.....the only thing that prepares you, and teaches you how, to shoot is shooting.

Computer mouse/keyboard FSP games don't even come close. Play lots of games and you'll be trained at being a good gamer. Clicking on a mouse and a keyboard are in no way related to the real thing, and this is coming from a guy who has played many of the games.

Heck, you don't even know how to zero, or about bullet drop, etc. It's point of aim point of impact out to 700 yards! All guns are automatically zeroed at every distance, and stay zeroed. In most of the games, you don't even looks through the sights, but instead use a cross hair.

This is not to even speak of breathing, trigger control, etc. Most games don't have field positions other than goes on and on till the break of dawn.

March 12, 2004, 06:57 PM
Ive played them all but i dont reallythink it directly applys to defese even though your quick in the draw in the game you wont be in life hand eye will be better ..

March 12, 2004, 07:01 PM
You can't gain any physical fitness by sitting on your ass playing video games.

No video game accurately shows how to strip, assemble and clean a firearm. Or clear jams either.

Video games rarley incorporate realistic ballistics.

Video games can't depict how a firearm handles while firing.

Etc. etc.

While I'd like to think that all the hours I've spent playing video games has somehow been benificial, I'm not going to bet my life on it.

March 12, 2004, 07:03 PM
Deadman - actually, studies have proven 1st person shooters improve IQ test results. I am not kidding.

March 12, 2004, 07:05 PM
These games are great for youngins. But IMO there is a fantasy factor here. Sorta goes with some ASE certified mechanics and "2nd Louies" I have met . Most turn out to be "Book Smart" and run around with puffed out chests, then being more of a danger to themselves than others. Hands on,in the element is ,(IMHO), the best training. True experience does not season a person through television and/or books.

March 12, 2004, 07:05 PM
Believe me.....the only thing that prepares you, and teaches you how, to shoot is shooting.

It does help you get the names of guns wrong though. You picked up a Klobb! :rolleyes:

Zach S
March 12, 2004, 07:06 PM
Theres a fine line between ballsy and stupid.

When playing a FPS I dont do anything ballsy, I go straight to stupid, take risks that I shouldn't, whats the worse thats gonna happen, get a game over? Well, gee, I can hit hit X and start back up at a checkpoint...

With Metal Gear Solid 1 & 2, 007, MOH:Frontline (I think?) and Headhunter I "Ramboed" everything, never used cover and concealment, and did quite well. I remember in one of the training missions for Headhunter I couldnt use cover and concealment. I'd duck behind something to aviod enemy fire and have a grenade land beside me, took me all night to get through that one, so what did I do? Simple, I walked from side to side, never using any cover, and blasted away while taking hits from the enemy troops. I broke all of Hank's records (in combat training) by being a Rambo. The only time I used stealth movements was in one training mission where it was required, and in one of the missions (where I had to get out of the biker gang's headquarters, which was occupied by police or something, and maybe another one).

Splinter Cell took some getting used to. Thats my game at the moment. I do see my self using cover and concealment more in future FPS games since the rambo tactics dont work so well on this one, and I'm actually thinking before I move, conserving ammo, doing tac reloads, and distracting gaurds so I can seak past, rather than just taking them out.

Up next is Rainbow Six 3. This could get interesting...

Like IGB said, theyre just games to me. Sure, I'll apply real-life tactics to them, and if need be, I may be able to use some of the tactics picked up from the game, but a training aid? Dont think so. Just because someone can lay the smack down at Laguna Seca on Gran Turismo 3 doesnt mean they know how to push a car to the limit.

March 12, 2004, 07:12 PM
I stopped looking for realism in videogames long ago; I now take them as works of literature/film and judge them (and justify them) like that. So I don't like many FPS (I hate HALO, red faction, half-life the least) since they are so shallow

Metal gear solid 2, (bloody brilliant game) extreme difficuly, radar off, no special items used, and I have cut my save stat to <20. So close to big boss:cool:

Zach S
March 12, 2004, 07:29 PM
Play Time: 3:14:56

Time Watching Cut-Scenes: 6:21:43

The closer I got to the end of the game, the more I felt like I was watching a movie.

You're a lot better at it than I am...

March 12, 2004, 07:37 PM
I think very little carries over between an FPS and real self-defense. Some games are definitely better than others, though. Operation Flashpoint, for example, doesn't have many of the realism gaps described here: iron sights are needed, shaky point of aim, you can look around independently of your weapon, limited movement speed, no (reasonable) firing while running, no jumping, etc. Despite the relative accuracy of OFP, however, the best lessons I've learned while playing it still have less to do with shooting and more to do with situational awareness and communication.

In short: Using the sights on a pistol in OFP doesn't do anything for my technique or muscle memory, but things like constantly swiveling my head do leak into the real world.

March 12, 2004, 11:27 PM
actually, studies have proven 1st person shooters improve IQ test results


Micro could you elaborate on that statement? It would be interesting to know how that works out.

March 13, 2004, 09:45 AM
I'm guessing it's just a correlation, that higher IQ ppl play videogames. (lord knows why FPSs though...).

It's very hard to prove causation.

March 13, 2004, 10:36 AM
Henry Bowman
Welcome to THR, Zan. What else do you do around Cincy?

Not much really Henry I just moved here. Why do you ask?

March 13, 2004, 11:17 AM
Fumegator, where exactly are you stuck? I've run through Halo on Legendary mode a bunch of times (just a stress reliever now) and most 'scenes' have a tactic or weapons load that makes 'em easier. Some just remain insanely hard (who gave those Golden Elites energy swords I can't use?!?!).

I'm stuck in the area with the gravity lift, where wave upon wave of Covenant troops keep beaming down. I can hold off 3, sometimes 4 waves, but eventually I always die. What I've done so far is to move one of those turrets closer to the pad -- when a new wave comes, I take the sniper rifle and eliminate the Elite. Then, when the grunts and shield-dudes come running, I hose 'em down with the turret. Unfortunately, the waves start coming faster, and... I just don't know what to do about it.

It would probably make it a lot easier to have a rocket launcher aimed at the pad with one shot for every group :D but AFAIK there are none in that level.

Anyway, back on topic -- It is certainly unquestionable that the only way to learn to shoot well is to shoot often. I don't think anyone's contesting that. However, there MUST be something to be learned from video games, even if it is simple reasoning.

So the question is, what CAN we get out of video games? Just entertainment? Or maybe something else?


March 13, 2004, 11:47 AM
I think that some FPS can teach you principles but as said before, you need to actually do rather than just learn.

I think Delta Force by Novalogic was a fairly good one. You had massive outdoor maps with varied terrains. You had shots out to 1500m plus. You had to compensate for bullet drop which was diferent for each gun/caliber but there was no windage. You also had to lead targets. It wasn't just put your crosshairs on them and shoot no matter what the range was. The further away, the more you had to lead them. You also had to compensate for the angle that they were running. After you got good at the game, you could do those calculations in your head because you knew how long it would take for the round to get to the desired range and how fast people were moving.

That being said, there was still no recoil. You were running around with a M-82 Barret 50 cal with 7 loaded 10 round mags plus hand grenades, knife, and sidearm with no regards to stamina.

Still, if you were to hand a rifle to someone who played that game a lot but had never shot a gun for real, hand a rifle to someone who hadn't played the game nor fired a gun for real, I think the gamer would pick up hitting targets at a distance and moving targets much faster. Because, while not the same, the principles learned from the game are applicable to doing it for real.

March 13, 2004, 03:31 PM
- - - I would be willing to bet a large sum of money that playing something like Counterstrike would teach very good team communication skills for that type of situation--assuming that in any "real-life" stuation, the same types of communication were facilitated (headset radios with each team on a common channel). The key to doing well in Counterstrike is to act as a team, and be able to quickly and usefully describe to your teammates where you are going and what is happening to you. People cannot automatically do that well at all.
(....For those who don't know, in Counter-Strike, there are two teams of shooters: "soldiers" and "terrorists", and (if you are alive) you can talk and be heard by everyone on your team--but the other team can't hear you. The better teams constantly chatter their positions and report what they are seeing to everyone else. Ideally you wear a headset with a mic to play, because it's the fastest/easiest way to do so)
- Counterstrike is set up a very paticular way however; the weapons are kept simple, the ranges short and the maps are fairly simple--there aren't many vast sprawling maze-complexes. There are only a few different paths to take, with some objects spread around to hide behind--virtually guaranteeing that just wandering around for sixty seconds, you wil run into someone else, probably an opposing team member. A common layout for a play map is a "figure eight", with two "island" buildings set into a rectangular area, and some other boxes scattered around. And the only object of the game is to be left standing, so evading the other team doesn't really accomplish much.
- Single-player games however are different, and I would guess not nearly as valuable. Most all are set up to be "scripted" (the layout of enemies is exactly the same, each time you play the game) and you can learn where this bad guy is looking at the beginning, and where that bad guy is standing, or what you do that makes them turn and attack you. You can basically remember the way the game is initiated and use that to your advantage in that game, but knowing it won't help you anywhere else.

Mark Tyson
March 13, 2004, 03:46 PM
I wonder if the VPC will advocate the banning of first person shooters as "mililtary-style combat simulators" favored by criminals.

Zach S
March 13, 2004, 10:10 PM
Dont give them any ideas Mark.

On second thought, I do recall an article that said some people tried to get GTA 3 banned...

March 14, 2004, 08:10 PM
Fumegator, I mostly hide behind the rock just before you can see the lift and make hit-and-run forays. I know what you mean, it seems to last forever. If I'm really "on my game" I actually have about 4 Marines still with me when I reach that rock (now THAT's hard to do on Legendary). I also go all the way back to the sniper ammo location to pick up more grenades and sometimes more Covenant weapons.

If you haven't picked it up, there's an invisibility cube in the big area prior to the lift area.

You absolutely must finish that whole level with good health and weapons 'cause you're beamed into a really bad situation with what you've got on you.

March 14, 2004, 08:16 PM
The following story is true:

An Israeli paintball place once ran an event that featured a team of Special Forces veterans vs. a team of Counterstrike players.

The CS people ran over the SF people like a T-80UD runs over a golf cart.

I always knew all those hours wasted playing video games would account for something. :D

I read a story awhile back, I don't know if anybody has quoted it yet as I haven't read the thread, but anyways the Army had claimed that people who play or grow up playing video games respond to visual stimulation more quickly. Ever heard of the game "America's Army"? Developed by the Army. I tried it, it's not a very good game IMO, but I was able to make Spec Forc and that's not easy to do. :D

March 14, 2004, 08:23 PM
You know what sucks about MOHAA? THe bad guys can spot you through trees. So much for tactics :rolleyes:

Stupid snow levels. And I'm trying to get through that stupid game without quicksaving :barf:

March 14, 2004, 08:31 PM
I've played most FPS games people have mentioned (including lots of CS), but I think the only thing that could even have the remotest possibility of improving your shooting skills are light gun games like "Time Crisis" or "Police 911" (the one with the motion sensors).

FPS games are insanely unrealistic. I've never played a single game that modeled SA pistols correctly :).

March 14, 2004, 09:12 PM
FPS games are insanely unrealistic. I've never played a single game that modeled SA pistols correctly

Ahem ... Infiltration ... see link I posted earlier


March 14, 2004, 09:29 PM
I can't believe this discussion is being had...

March 15, 2004, 07:05 AM
- Tell the CIA guys who flew the armed Predator planes that videogames are useless.
-well yea that wasn't quite the same thing, but anyway.

March 15, 2004, 08:57 AM
FPS games can help develop rudementary tactics and team-work, depending on the game. And it can also help with hand-eye co-ordination.

There are some benefits, but I've also seen more unrealistic expectations as a result of playing FPS's. ("But in Counter Strike, the Desert Eagle is the best gun to have, because it kills more effectively").

Even if I learned everything I possibly could from CS, MOH, or other FPS's, I still would have no idea about the REAL world.

Video games open one's eyes to the NEED for tactics and teamwork, but it shouldn't be confused for actual training in tactics and teamwork.

March 15, 2004, 09:35 AM
Wes, all I can say is shoot and move like crazy. I try to use a needle gun on them when they first hit the pad, because when they blow up hopefully you can set some grenades off as well. If you need to run all the way back to the entrance and they will have to funnel down to get you. Don't use the turrets, they will flank you way to fast.

The next part is much harder. :)

If you enjoyed reading about "Using Video Games For Self-Defense?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!