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The Benefits of Playing Games

There are still some parents and educators who are very vocal advocates for limiting the amount of time allowed for playing video games. This is undoubtedly in the hope of preventing the player from turning into some socially inept misanthrope that looks like an extra from any of the Twilight films.

For a truth, playing video games is not only entertaining, which is in itself a benefit and needed in order to be a “normal” person, they also teach life-skills, contribute to physical well-being, and help the gamer overcome nerves in real-world situations.

Here are some benefits of playing games;

Critical Thinking

Problem solving and critical thinking are the crux of virtually every game that has ever existed. Amongst healthcare experts, being immersed in a video game…can encourage creative solutions and adaptations which can then be applied to real life situations. The results can be surprisingly positive for individuals, communities, and society as a whole.” Video games expand on this by offering 3D environments and immersive scenarios.

The block puzzle, one of the most common items in video games, for example, teaches the player how to manipulate objects. The skills used in solving the puzzles are applicable to everyday life in a variety of ways from loading a moving van, fitting an oversized desk through a standard door, or even efficiently stocking a fridge or freezer.

Braid is a good example of how the basic block puzzle enhances a variety of skills. Each “act” in the game builds on the previous one. The game provides little in the way of instructions for the new levels and changes in the game environment. The player must figure out how the game has changed, conquer increasingly difficult puzzles and discern how to manipulate both time and space in order to win.

Learning to Fail

Over the past few years, competition has become an almost forbidden word. The concept that losing, even in a sporting event, will result in some long-lasting damage to a kid’s psyche has for some reason become a respected theory. In video games, as in life, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Video games do not issue “Nice Try” or “Participant” ribbons or badges.

Learning to win and lose with class are important life skills. So is learning to respect your competition; a lesson that research shows to be a natural result of competition. Failing also provides an impetus for improvement, which goes back to the critical thinking and problem-solving area. Leader boards provide a to measure improvements and achievements, as well as help players set goals.

Collaboration

In multi-player games, it is almost impossible to win without working with others. This is a key skill of those who are successful in the real world. Games help develop effective teamwork by recognizing one’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as learning how to utilize the strengths of others for the benefit of the team. Portal 2’s two-player mode requires that each player look at not only the puzzle, but develop a strategy that necessitates the involvement of the other player.

Run a Business

For those individuals that don’t play games, the concept that gameplay can improve your business sense and abilities is probably a bit strange. However, at the heart of many games are the concepts and skills needed to succeed in business.

Games also provide economic models that work in a real-world manner like in the game of monopoly.

Improve Your Health

SuperBetter is one of the games designed to improve a person’s well-being. The inventor of SuperBetter advocates for “games that are designed to improve real lives and solve real problems.” She worked with a team of doctors and researchers to help tackle issues like chronic pain, depression, and traumatic brain injury. The goal of the game is to build resilience which, according to SuperBetter, helps the player “build social, mental, and emotional resilience in the face of any illness, injury, or health goal. Building resilience has been scientifically proven to improve health outcomes of all kinds.”

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