Common Gaming Conventions That Would Get You Killed in Real Life

Why believing in hit points, ignoring biological necessities, and spawn camping would get you killed in real life (or at least thrown in prison).

Header art by Duncan Beedie – visit his image gallery!

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1. The Hit Point System: Why Attacking a Dragon with a Sword in Real Life Would Be a Bad Idea 

I know what you’re going to say. There’s no such thing as a real life dragon, right? OK, fine, let’s assume for a moment that I accept your hypothesis. So in real life you’re not fighting a theoretical dragon. Let’s say you’re fighting a theoretical bear. The hit point system is still going to lead you astray as a gaming convention if you try to apply it to real life bears.

What do you do in video games? You attack things. Whether you’re playing Call of Duty or World of Warcraft, fighting something is pretty much the point. Even before video games, in the days of Dungeons & Dragons when people adventured on paper, if you can imagine that, there still had to be a convention determining when you “won” and when you “lost” a battle, and since having your face eaten off by the first bear you ran across wouldn’t make a very fun game, gamers invented the basic “hit point” system by which most games operate, in some version or another, to this day.

So a bear has a certain amount of hit points and you have a certain amount of hit points, and your weapon hits for a certain amount of hit points, and the bear hits for a certain amount of hit points… well… you get the idea. Only in real life, a bear doesn’t have hit points. It has body mass. And speed. And claws. And teeth. And a temper. And you don’t have hit points. You have arms. And slow human legs. And a limited supply of blood. And unless you have a gun, you won’t have any of those things for very long. Real life battles aren’t determined by who has more health. They’re determined by which combatant can rip the other combatant’s face off first. Nothing personal, but I’m betting on the bear.

2. Ignoring Biological Necessities: Why Running Across the Desert Without Any Water Is a Bad Idea

Video game characters don’t take bio breaks. Real people do. I challenge you to find a single warrior in World of Warcraft running around with something as simple as water in his pack. Spare weapons, sure. Tigers, dragons, miniature combat pets, yes yes all of these. But water? What mana-spurning warrior would waste a good backpack slot with a flask of spring water? But in real life, if you ran around without taking a single drink of anything fluid for three or four days, you would die. Permanently.

And before you start thinking that at least mages are safe, let me remind you that drinking plenty of fluids and then failing ever to pee will kill you even faster than not drinking water at all. In real life, holding your pee forever is so dangerous that your body makes it almost impossible to do so. We are protected from our bladder bursting inside our bodies by the overwhelming urge just to pee where we stand. Which means that in real life, every video game character in the world should be walking around in pee-stained knickers, since game designers haven’t generally seen fit to build regular pee breaks into your favorite gaming story line. Poor bastards.

3. Spawn Camping: Why Hanging Around Waiting To Kill Something Is Generally a Bad Idea

OK, maybe if you’re a hunter, with a valid hunting license, and you’re in a deer stand, for example, during the legal deer hunting season, and assuming you’re not trespassing on posted property, then I suppose waiting around to kill something is a perfectly legal (and if you know what you’re doing, not horrifically dangerous) thing to do. But I can’t think of any other real life situation in which you can expect that hanging around waiting to kill something is going to end in anything besides your own death or jail time.

  • Waiting around to kill mob bosses coming out of their favorite restaurant? Death.
  • Waiting around to kill gangstas in the hood? Death.
  • Waiting around to kill exotic creatures? Endangered Species Act. Jail time.
  • Waiting around to kill evil super villains? A vigilante is still a murderer. Jail time.

But what if you weren’t waiting around to kill something? What if you were just waiting around to… say… find something, and you just weren’t sure when it would show up?

  • Waiting around on a random street corner or in a random store? Loitering.
  • Waiting around on a pretty girl who doesn’t want your company? Stalking. 
  • Waiting to catch random people on video? Harassment.
  • Waiting around on your neighbor’s harvest uninvited? Trespassing. Theft.

Not to mention that if you do any of these things with a group of 10-25 friends you’re now in the territory of “gang activity” or “organized crime.” So just remember, you don’t have to play Grand Theft Auto for it to be a bad idea to mimic gaming behavior in real life. Let’s leave the fighting and the spawn camping to the imaginary characters, and let’s be careful out there.

(For a bonus chuckle, check out the source link below. You have to love good research.)

Header art by Duncan Beedievisit his image gallery!


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Ask Erin
app developer, author, rancher, gamer, (and occasional lawyer)