Gamer’s Guide to Everything Else: In-game vs. Out-of-Game Resources

How can playing Starcraft help you do your laundry or balance your budget?

In this new video series, I’ll take a live look at how video games can teach us lessons or offer metaphors for understanding life, business, philosophy, relationships, and a host of other topics. Today I’ll look at what Starcraft II has to say about identifying, compartmentalizing and prioritizing resources in your own life.

A few more final thoughts:

In Starcraft II, the in-game resources are minerals and gas. The game constrains how much of these you can get, so to exceed these limits, you have to use out-of-game resources, like time and attention. The game doesn’t put the same constraints on your out-of-game resources, so you can get a big advantage in the game by bringing out-of-game resources into the game.

The life lesson here is, when you’re pursuing a goal, identify what game you’re playing, what you’re trying to accomplish and what the constraints on your resources are in that game. Then, you can look to push the limits and do better in that game by applying your out-of-game resources, which often aren’t subject to the same limits.

This is often more productive than seeing all resources as interchangeable, because that way of thinking about spending resources doesn’t focus as much on your goals and what you are trying to accomplish.

Thanks again to Joe Wade for playing Starcraft II with me for this one! If you want to play a game with me for illustrative purposes, email me at [email protected]. And if you have any examples of this phenomenon in your own life, or if you have a better name for this series, let me know in the comments!