As a fulltime video gamer myself (not fulltime as in a job, but as in I play lots of video games in lockdown lately) I always hear how ‘bad’ playing video games is for you. But, that’s not true. Such people just refuse to believe that there’s so much more positive sides to playing video games. And today, I’ll discuss all of those with you!
Many video games require some serious strategy and concentration. Some games make it of vital importance to remember where you found specific resources or where you need to go next. Video game environments are extremely rich in stimuli, especially with navigation. In fact, exploring video game universes can have a positive impact on memory in your everyday life. When you’re juggling multiple tasks and goals while navigating, you’re exercising your hippocampus. This is the part of the brain responsible for converting short-term memory to long-term memory, as well as controlling spatial memory. When you keep your hippocampus in shape, you will see improved long-term memory. As a person ages, their memory naturally declines. Regular video game play may be a great way to keep your mind sharp even as you get older.
2. Spatial visualisation
On top of improving your spatial memory, playing video games also helps you visualise space better. Shooter video games improve how you think about objects in three dimensions. Gamers are better at judging distances between objects or mentally rotating objects to imagine how they might fit into a space.
3. Perception and vision
When faced with a complex environment with competing stimuli, your brain creates a perceptual template that helps you determine what’s important and what’s not. This perceptual template enables you to assess and respond to a situation. Playing action video games can improve a person’s ability to create perceptual templates. This type of improvement in perception is especially beneficial, as it can apply to any situation. High-action video games can also improve your ability to distinguish patterns and different shades of gray: contrast sensitivity. The gamer’s brains were also able to process visual stimuli more efficiently.
4. Making decisions
Fast-paced video games require you to stay on your toes and make decisions quickly.Such energising action games can also improve your ability to make game-time decisions in real life. Gamers who love action games could make accurate choices more quickly than non-gamers or those who play slow-paced video games. Faster decision-making is beneficial in everyday life, as you can accomplish more when you make trivial decisions quickly. Though, making decisions quickly can also have more serious implications. Quick decisions are important when facing a dangerous situation in real life, for example. Video games can also improve decision-making as it relates to long-term planning. Such games train your brain to recognise potential outcomes and implications of your choices to make the best choices for your desired result. When a person practices these skills in a virtual world, they’ll be able to apply them in the real world.
5. Solving problems
Strategic and role-playing video games also challenge players to solve complex problems. This serves as great practice for real-life hurdles. Adolescents who play strategy video games improve on problem-solving abilities and better grades in school. The more strategy games you play, the more their problem-solving skills and school grades improve. Almost every genre of video game involves problem-solving, whether it’s figuring out a puzzle or finding the fastest escape route. These problems can involve both memorisation and analysis to solve them, as well as a little creativity. Obstacles in video games are often very open-ended without a lot of instruction, meaning players must experiment with trial and error. When your attempt to solve a problem in a video game fails, you’re also learning how to be resilient and persistent when facing challenges in real life.
Video games can also be a great way to relax and unwind. Short and simple games can improve a person’s mood and make them happier. Video games that are complex and deeply immersive can also be therapeutic. When the player is fully absorbed in a digital world, they don’t have time to worry about work, school or bills. Video games can be a perfect way to give your brain a break from the anxiety and stress of everyday life.
7. Social skills
Moderate video game play can improve social skills and reduce anxiety. When players are able to take on fictional personas in a virtual world, they’re free to experiment with social interactions, which then teaches them what good social behavior is. Those who experience anxiety in social situations may feel more comfortable practicing social interactions in video games. They can then be more confident when interacting with others in the real world. Video games also provide a thriving social setting for gamers. Participating in virtual worlds with other players encourages communication and cooperation that carries over to real-life interactions.
8. Physical fitness
While this positive effect of video games isn’t technically about your brain, it’s still a significant benefit to mention. With the emergence of many fitness video games, it’s easy to get a workout while playing an exciting video game. These video games are good for your health and can be a great way to break a sweat without having to head to the gym. The most powerful benefit of these exercise-focused video games may be that they can change the way a person thinks about being active. Such games make exercising fun and provide an easy way to get in shape.
As your brain ages, your memory, focus and ability to multitask all begin to decline. While young people are often able to juggle several different mental demands at once, older people may find it difficult to stay focused even on a single task. Playing games where you need to multitask might seem hard at first, but quickly helps you to improve multitasking abilities, short-term memory and long-term focus. Playing video games that require multitasking and focus may be a great way to keep your brain young.
10. Learning and curiosity
On a basic level, when you’re playing video games, your brain is working and growing. As you figure out how a game works and complete puzzles to master a level, you’re creating new connections in your mind. The more motivated you are to beat the game, the more your brain is working and the more you’re learning. Continued learning and stimulating your brain is essential to keeping it healthy as you age. Many video games are also set in different eras or historical settings. When playing such games, you’re not only having fun, but you’re also learning about history. When a player enjoys the story or setting of these games, they may be motivated to continue learning more about it on their own.
Love, Deem/Skye Lewis ❤
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