Age of Empires and maturity...

There are certain types of video games that I would encourage parents to let their young children play. I understand the controversy about whether video games influence children in a positive or negative way, and I openly agree that intensely violent or disturbing games should be off-limits to underage gamers. But I also argue that some genres are beneficial to play, and real-time strategy (or RTS, if you will) is one of them. Age of Empires is one of the most successful RTS franchises. Playing Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings—recently re-released in 2013 with updated graphics based on the original 1999 version—brings back childhood memories. And what I remember most is being unspeakably terrible at it. When I played a game the other day, however, I won the match in flying colours. How had I so improved without practice? Oddly enough, I think it’s because I became a very different person after I moved out of my parents’ house. Making poor, short-term decisions no longer appeals to me, and that seems to have translated into my gameplay. To excel at Age of Empires, you need to master multi-tasking and making smart, long-term decisions for the future of the army and the civilization you are building.I can still feel proud of those little achievements I succeeded at. These strategies can easily translate into real life. When I start putting money into a savings account, it grows slowly over the years until it meets a certain goal—perhaps enough money for a car, a down-payment on a house, or… I don’t know… an unopened copy of E.T. for Atari 2600. This idea of investing is paralleled at the very beginning of playing Age of Empires, where you deploy workers in gold mines, forests, and farms to begin your...