Wednesday, 11 May 2011

How playing games helped me in real life

Over the last two weeks I've been busy trying to look for a house to buy (it's true what they say, it is one of the most stressful things you can do in life!) so unfortunately, no time has been spent recently developing games. But last week I had an interesting problem while going to view a house that I believe without the random skills of learning to think around a problem that I learned playing point-and-click adventure games like the Broken Sword series and the patience that games like The Lost Vikings taught me I wouldn't have overcome this problem.

I found this property that was within our budget. It was in the perfect location and from the pictures on the site it looked great so I rang the estate agent who gave me the couple's name and booked me in for an evening viewing.  So after work my boyfriend and I went to view this house.  We drove down the street and couldn't see any "For Sale" signs outside the house.  "Odd" I thought, but we were early and the street was a very long "L" shape so I decided to wait for the estate agent as they hadn't told me the door number.  The time that we agreed came and went and we assumed they weren't coming. By this time my boyfriend wasn't too happy and neither was I.  I really wanted to see this house.  So being the stubborn woman that I am I declared that I would find the house that night even if I had to knock on every door.

So I got out my smart phone and looked at the site photos again to see if one of them was a picture of the front of the house.  No joy.  They only picture of the outside was of the back of the house.  But I noticed that on the top of the house their appeared to be dark tiling.  The houses along the longer part of the road that we were in were all bricks on the front so we drove further down to the houses that resembled the dark tiles like the one in the photo. 

Now down at the shorter end of the "L" shaped road, I noticed that one building was obviously a block of flats so I ruled that out.  That only left about 8 houses.

Now, a normal person would have given up long ago and rescheduled the viewing, but not me.  I had grown up playing frustrating games like the Lost Vikings where you may have died 5 times before you even understood how to overcome the puzzles within the levels.  Looking back at the picture of the back of the house I looked at the extension.  The roof of that was slanted so I enlisted the help of my boyfriend who's nearly a foot taller than me to look over the back walls of a set of 4 houses' gardens to see if he could see an extension and if so, a slanted roof.  None of the first set had this feature, so by a process of elimination we were left with the last set of houses on the road.

Finding our way around the back of the garden again my tall boyfriend looked to see if he could see an extension.  Yes!  One of the properties did have an extension matching the house in the picture. But to make doubly sure we checked the back garden which had white stones instead of grass in the picture.  Success!  We had found our house.  Our relief and smugness of being able to deduce this was quickly thwarted by the dog within this garden barking loudly at us.  So we ran to the front and apologised to the owners before we looked around the property.

Would I have been able to have found the property without all the previous "training" I had gained playing video games?  Maybe, but I wouldn't have viewed it as a puzzle rather than a negative situation if I didn't.

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