Video games have gained a bad reputation from mainstream media as they’ve spent years claiming that it can damage our minds, make children aggressive, and so on. Of course, there are issues with video games when played to excess, much like most things when they’re engaged with too much, and it is possible for addiction to form. However, more and more people are becoming privy to the many benefits that video gaming can have.
In fact, there are many benefits that regular (yet monitored) gaming possesses, ranging from assisting child development to helping adults navigate through life. Video games don’t get celebrated enough, so instead of bashing them, here are some of the amazing benefits they can provide.
It Improves Co-ordination
The tactile movements and inputs that a lot of games require can actually improve hand eye co-ordination. In fact, it’s so effective that a study of laparoscopic specialists — surgeons who specialize in making tiny incisions in the body — found that those who played for more than three hours a week made an outstanding 32% less errors than their counterparts who didn’t play games at all. Although you may want your surgeons to be reading the latest medical research, it seems like a few games of Fortnite might be just as beneficial.
Increases Ability to Problem Solve
Due to the limitations the technology in gaming has, many games have rules within them, and only equip players with a finite number of tools and mechanics to beat a game or level. This means that players can only use what’s available to them to overcome challenges, thereby actively engaging their brain and helping them develop problem solving skills.
Additionally, some games are extremely fast paced and require many split-second decisions. These instant decisions stimulate the problem-solving part of our brain and thus makes us far more competent at it.
Games Enhance Memory
There’s a lot to learn when playing a new video game. There are the controls, the new abilities, maps, mechanics, etc. Remembering all these elements goes a long way to help improve an individual’s memory. Advancing through a game requires both visual and audio memory as there may be pieces of information or clues that they’ll have to remember to advance effectively. This helps improve both short-term and long-term memory.
Allows People to Socialize
One consistent criticism gaming has had is that it’s an isolating experience that is making children and other players disconnect from the outside world. Although this may have been a fact in the 80s and 90s, that simply isn’t the case these days.
The reason for this is because the vast majority of games, including some of the most stressful video games, are played over the internet online. Click here to find out more. This means players are playing with real people and are often with their own network of friends. This turns gaming into a great option for many people to hang out and spend time with others, and a lot of the time they’re improving their social skills as they do this.
The reason is that some of the most popular games, such as online first-person shooters are team based, meaning that people communicate online through voice chat to plan tactics, give instructions, and take orders. This can really help develop social skills and teamworking skills which can be used when they start working collaboratively within an office or school environment.
Gaming Can Combat Stress and Depression
For a lot of players, gaming is a release from the pressures and stress of modern life, meaning it’s a great way for people to relax and decompress. It’s for this reason that a lot of peaceful and exploration style games, such as Nintendo’s Zelda series, has become incredibly popular in recent years.
Gaming can also make people feel better about themselves, and this is because of the chemical response many people receive when playing. If they’re doing well and progressing, their brain rewards this progression with a hit of dopamine, a chemical which can give you an overall buzz and general improvement of your mood.
It’s a similar mechanism as exercise or when you are rewarded for something — you usually feel good about it. It’s this feeling that can improve well-being and enhance many people’s lives. Action games are the best genre for combating depression as the rapid pace of gameplay and the constant feeling of overcoming enemies really gives you an increase in the dopamine release.
Video Games May Slow Down Aging
Video games can also help keep our brains in shape, meaning it can slow down the rate of mental deterioration, which helps keep our brain healthy and young. Any task that requires you to think more critically and engage your brain will help exercise your mind, and video games are no exception to that. They can open new pathways of thought and keep your mind sharp.
For example, the University of Iowa conducted a study of 681 people over the age of 50 and found that those who played video games for over 10 hours over the course of five to eight week slowed the decline of their mental capabilities by an outstanding year and half at least. Some individuals in the study improved their brain age by up to six and a half years, and that’s only from 10 hours of gameplay.
Video Games Can Improve Vision
This point may seem crazy to some people due to the almost consistent reminder that sitting to close to the TV can be damaging, but it seems that video games can indeed improve our perception. Of course, this only happens when games are played in moderation and at a suitable distance from the screen.
After ten weeks of regular gaming, players are often seen to display a better ability to distinguish different shades of grey. Games such as shooters and fast-paced action games can improve peripheral vision as well, due to the time that’s spent focusing on different zones and learning how to avoid attacks and threats.