It’s rather clichèd to say that IF improves your puzzle-solving abilities, much like an adventure game might, or much like playing Super Mario Bros improves hand-eye coordination.
This is, therefore, just a little bit of curiosity that I’m indulging. I’m wondering: does playing IF actually change you? DOES it actually improve you on some level or other?
I realise I’m asking this in a community of authors/players, and I should be asking the players alone, since the relationship of a player with IF is rather different from the relation of a player/author. The author plays for enjoyment but also for seeing what is being done around him, and to get new ideas, and basically sees things in a different light - and draws different benefits - from a guy that, like myself, has given up pretenses of authorship and just has fun playing the damn things. Or is moved by them, depending.
I have felt that playing IF made me better at playing IF. Duh. It’s also, however, made me more imaginative in how I deal with problems in real life. Not the big problems, but the smaller, mechanical problems involving objects and creative ways to reach my goals.
It’s also made me more pragmatic. “This is the problem, what are the solutions?” And work from there. Also: “This situation isn’t ideal. How can it be made better?”
I’m also more attentive to the smaller things, especially in mechanically-oriented issues, but not limited to.
I consider myself to be pretty handy with a map. I haven’t tested this theory to the fullest yet, but I have acquired a certain ease to relating the level surface of a map to the three-dimensional space I’m located in. Maybe one day I’ll go out to some more remote place armed with a compass and a map, and THEN I’ll see what’s really what.
On the negative side, I’m more likely to enjoy a book in my iPod Touch in big letters than by reading an actual book. I’ve gotten so used to blocks of information that I found I concentrate better that way: magnified blocks instead of sprawling pages. Weird, that.
Any further input is more than welcome.