Problem Solving In Video Games

by | May 20, 2017

Hi there. I thought I would make an article talking about problem solving in video games. In many video games, problem solving is key in order to progress or even win in a video game.


Story & Background

Problem Solving In Video Games

Mathematics And Statistics In Gaming


Story & Background

At the age of 4, I started playing video games starting with Sonic 2 for the Sega Genesis. Later, I played a bit of Mario on the big fat yellow Game Boy system. Then I gradually got into the Super Mario games on the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and now on the Wii U. I also played some Roller Coaster Tycoon and some Starcraft: Brood War casually.

Through playing various video games, I have improved my reaction time, attention to detail and problem solving skills. I think that video games has helped me in being good at mathematics and statistics.


Problem Solving In Video Games

Winning in video games is often difficult especially in an online environment. Since winning is hard, this makes losing normal. To achieve victory, problem solving is often needed and it comes in various forms. Here is a list of examples where problem solving exists in a video game.

  • Navigating From Point A To Point B

  • Finding Items, Coins, Keys

  • Finding ways to destroy/kill/eliminate enemies in various ways.

  • Solving puzzles within the game given the character’s tools.

  • Using the right sequence of moves for attacking or unlocking an item.

  • Trying to find weaknesses in enemies.

  • Setting up strategies to gain advantages over opponents (online).

  • Thinking of winning strategies.


Mathematics & Statistics In Gaming

There are times where mathematics is involved in video games. If the game has a money element, mathematics knowledge can be useful in creating optimal strategies. Some games have damage calculations (with a random component) and that contains mathematics. Shooting type games contain physics and mathematics which vary depending on where you shoot.

Some video games are based on simulating real life scenarios such as The Sims and sports video games. These types of games may have money involved and scoring systems.

For speedrunners (gamers who finish games quickly), mathematics is used to determine fastest routes. Some routes have lower chances of success than others even though the route may be the fastest.

In certain (online) games, the mathematical field of game theory may be used along with statistics. I personally do not know a whole lot about game theory but I do know that it involves making optimal and rational decisions

Statistics In Gaming

If you have data, you can use that data to learn from past experiences/mistakes and come up with (revised) strategies to increase the chances of winning. In online games, you can have available data on opponent’s tendencies, strengths, weaknesses and so on. This data can be used to come with some strategies in how to defeat certain opponents. One should be careful to put too much weight on past data as sometimes past data is not the best predictor for the future. Players could use a new strategy to throw opponents off guard.