Opinion

The Surprising Benefits of Gaming

Here are five reasons why playing video games can be good for you. By Melissa Farthing, Copy Editor

Here are five reasons why playing video games can be good for you.

By Melissa Farthing, Copy Editor

Now more than ever, video games are becoming remarkably popular in daily American lives. What better way to spend your time cooped up inside by whisking yourself away to worlds that stimulate your mind and soul? Whether it’s a relaxing roleplaying-game or an intense first-person shooter game, video games bring a much-needed break from current global events. 

“Hey, wait a minute,” your nagging mother might chime in after reading this first paragraph. “Video games are a bad thing! They rot your brain and make you more violent. Plus, they have absolutely no educational value. Burn them all!” 

Hopefully, their point-of-view isn’t this exaggerated, but there are plenty of video game haters out there. This group believes that video games have no positive associations. They’re fixated on the stereotype of the thirty-year-old stinky man living in his parents’ basement eating corn chips and playing World of Warcraft for twelve hours a day. The previous statement doesn’t give an accurate representation of video games and the people who play them, and today I’m going to prove to you why. 

Here are several benefits to playing video games.

1. They can improve accuracy.

Often, video games put players in situations where even a small mistake could mean reverting to the beginning of the level or even square one. This is especially good practice for people in occupations such as surgeons. According to MentalFloss, surgeons who played several hours of video games every week made around 30 percent fewer mistakes than their colleagues who didn’t game at all. 

2. They can provide social opportunities.

You might have to get a little creative with this one during quarantine. While you may not be able to see your friends in person right now, there are plenty of opportunities to spend time with them through gaming. Many video games give players the option to interact with others virtually in real-time. So, call up all your IRL friends and have them log into your game of choice. Or make new connections with players all around the world. 

3. They can slow down aging. 

Now, don’t get too excited just yet. Video games won’t make that wrinkle or gray hair disappear, but they can help keep our minds youthful. According to gamedesigning.org, a study conducted at the University of Iowa found that older adults that played video games for several weeks slowed down the aging of their brains by a significant amount. 

4. They can improve eyesight.

Believe it or not, playing certain types of games can improve vision. According to National Geographic, an ability called contrast sensitivity function can be heightened in people who play action video games. This skill often wanes with age, and keeping a regular gaming schedule can keep it sharp. 

5. They can boost memory.

Memory is an asset nearly every video game player uses at some point. After all, once you log out of a video game and return the next day, you need to remember how to play it. Studies have been conducted to show how video games work the mind, such as one from the University of California. According to recordhead.biz, this study found that players who participated in “complex 3D games” performed better at memory tasks than those who didn’t. 

These reasons are just the beginning of a whole treasure trove of arguments that prove why video games can be advantageous to a person’s health. 

Of course, I can’t finish this article without mentioning that too much of anything is unhealthy. These helpful merits can appear when video games are played in moderation. Spending all day doing nothing but gaming can cause loads of adverse effects on your mind and body. Plus, the routine would just get plain boring after a while, right? However, there’s nothing wrong with blocking an hour or so out of your day to take part in your favorite virtual games. You might even see the above benefits take action sooner rather than later.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick a controller and play a video game. It’s good for you.

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