I’m a gamer, have been my entire life, and probably always will be. Video games are fun, relaxing, and a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. However, over the years more and more people have shown up to tell us why video games are bad, why they are corrupting our youth, and why they need to be regulated more closely. For all of this talk there has been very few people who have spoke out on the positive benefits of these digital adventures. Here are some reasons why video games can actually be a good thing for people to play and enjoy.
It has been claimed many times, in many places, that video games help a person built a stronger brain structure. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development did a study on 23 adults that compared brain development in regular play over the course of two months. The group that played video games for an average of 30 minutes per day showed a signifigant increase of activity in the spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning, and motor skills areas of the brain. They concluded that video games may actually be used as a potential therapy for mental disorders.
Playing brain teaser or puzzle games for just two hours a week may slow the rate of mental decay usually dealt with alongside natural aging. A study from the University of Iowa of 681 healthy adults, ages 50 and older, were given games to play over the course of eight weeks. The cognitively complex games refine and refresh the mental abilities needed to play them. They found that playing video games could significantly reduce the rate of mental decline, often up to seven years or more.
Video Game Pain Relief
One thing that I have noticed from playing many games is the way they can distract you from real life problems, often for the better. Any time I have broken a bone I’ve used video games to distract myself from the pain and healing process. Not only is it a distraction but I found that beating an in-game challenge releases endorphins in the mind which further increases the pain threshold. Even less severe afflictions like a cold or flu can be much easier managed with the help of a good game.
In 2009, a study from the University of Rochester showed that many games can improve your overall vision quality. The study was split into two groups, one that played first person shooter games and the other that played a simple RPG. The researchers found that the fast pace of the first person shooter kept the player’s eyes exercising constantly and lent to them being able to analyze situations quickly. This lead to an overall increase in total vision. This shows a great potential for using video games to aid in the restructuring of faulty eyesight.
While many parents of troubled youth blame video games for their son or daughter’s wavering mental health, video games could actually be a better form of therapy than a real psychologist. In 2012, New Zealand researchers designed a unique video game called “SPARX” that was made to give therapy to kids that was more interesting than the traditional route. The study included 168 teens that suffered with depression and were in treatment through conventional methods. Half of the study stayed the course with their normal sessions while the other half was switched to playing the specially designed game. The results were that 44 percent recovered from their depression and 26 percent claimed to no longer be depressed.
Video games have a myriad of benefits that almost anyone can enjoy. These are just five of the ways video games actually help us improve our lives. While it may be bad to play these games for days at a time, shorter play may actually be of use at any age. Happy gaming!
Are There Benefits in Playing Video Games?- Psychology Today
Brains on Video Games- Max Planck Institute for Human Development
SPARX Video Game Helps Teens Battle Depression
Action Video Games Improve Eyesight 20%- University of Rochester
For more great gaming information from this author, check out:
Guide to New and Hilarious PC Gaming
Guide to the Best Freeware You Should Give a Shot
How to Improve Your Brain by Playing Games Online