Everyone loves sitting down at the end of an exhausting day and hopping into a game whether it be an action packed shooter game, challenging strategy game or relaxing simulation game. Many of us are taught to believe that if you play video games you are automatically an unhealthy loser but there are actually many benefits to playing these video games.
Video games have positive effects on your brain like better memory, better problem solving, improved mood and even social skills whereas many will argue that it actually does the opposite and ruins your social life.
Most of the video games that exist right now all exist because there is some level of strategy or concentration required to actually play the game otherwise it would be stimulating. Whether it would be building a farm in HayDay on your mobile phone or fighting for your life against a hundred other players in Warzone it’s always important to remember where you find specific items that you need or just to remember what you need to do next.
As time has progressed video games have become more and more lifelike and mirror the real world meaning that exploring and just playing video games can have a positive impact on memory even in the real world.
While you’re trying to multitask with goals you’re trying to complete in your video game while still navigating through the world you’re actually exercising your hippocampus, the part of your brain which controls spatial memory and also converts all your short-term memory into long-term memory. So when you’re playing video games you’re actually training this part of your brain which leads to an improved memory and also helps you navigate through physical spaces.
Perception and vision
High action video games are probably the best type of video games that train you in distinguishing small patterns or different shades of colours. As you probably know already you have to be extremely good at spotting an enemy far in the distance in order to gain the upper hand and attack them before they are even able to know that you’re there.
This could be really helpful in real world environments whether it be something like spotting a friend in a crowded place or even something more serious like being able to spot something dangerous in the distance while out in public or even the wilderness
Then apart from these action packed games you have strategic role-playing games which are just as challenging but you’ll have to solve more complex problems instead. When you complete these problem solving puzzles in the virtual world you’re actually, in a sense, practising for those real world situations where you’ll also have to make decisions.
Problem-solving is a very important factor in almost every genre of video game to exist because without it it doesn’t challenge us whether it’s figuring out an escape route or completing a puzzle. Memorization, analysis and a little creativity are some of the skills that you acquire when trying to solve these problems and are some skills that you’ll be implementing into your daily life without even knowing.
You’ll also learn to be persistent and never give up because it is often in video games where the players will have to try a problem many times before they eventually find the solution because it is often that the problem is very open ended so you won’t know exactly what to do straight away.
A Lot of action packed games, like the Call of Duty franchise and a lot of PvP games, need you to be on high alert constantly as to not be killed or lose. When your brain knows that there are high stakes at play when you go up against other players or are playing an intense match it will focus extra hard on being as quick as possible with its reaction times when something happens.
This in turn leads to faster decision-making, which is definitely beneficial when it comes to regular, everyday life because you’ll be able to complete everything much faster. So next time when you’re faced with a tough decision like what flavour of ice cream to get, your brain will be able to analyse the situation and come to a conclusion much faster.
Then on the other side of the spectrum you have slower-paced games like SimCity or games where you have to build a civilization. These games affect your brain a little differently because you learn how to make decisions with long-term planning instead of the fast paced, instant result, shooting games. These are the types of games that help your brain identify potential outcomes which could be a little bit more longterm when you are making certain decisions.
When you’re playing any type of video game and trying to complete a level or progress by solving problems. As you’re doing this your brain is working hard behind the scenes to figure things out as quickly as possible for you which means it is creating new connections in your mind allowing you to learn more as well.
A Lot of the games that are released nowadays are based in a certain historical time or a famous landmark or area to make them more ‘relatable’. Although this does add an element of fun to the game it also makes you take in information or learn about this era or place whether you like it or not. Many people who fall in love with a game actually grow a fondness for the era or area it is based in which makes you motivated to continue learning about these things on your own.
Hopefully next time someone tries to tell you that they are bad for you you’ll be able to defend yourself and video games with these 5 reasons that they are actually good for you.