The benefits of playing video games range from health to social, to psychological improvements.
Devoted gamers have long known about the benefits of playing video games! But if you’re new to them, or looking to give others a reason to start playing or play more, here are 11 reasons why everyone should be a video gamer.
There is so much goodness to gain, some of which are a little surprising, video gaming could be considered the greatest pastime of the modern era.
1. Overcoming Dyslexia
Yes, you heard that right. There is evidence that suggests that people who play video games can overcome dyslexia, or at least drastically improve their conditions over time.
Attention difficulties are often a key component of dyslexia, and playing video games helps with that – since video games tend to have constantly changing environments that one needs to keep up with. To highlight, reading comprehension for dyslexics has been known to improve after playing video games. If that’s not a great reason for someone with learning difficulties to play some video games, what else is?
2. Improving Vision
When young, were you ever yelled at for sitting too near the television, or for watching your favourite cartoons under dim lighting?
Well, folks who disapprove of gaming would likely say the same applies for video games i.e. it’s bad for the eyes.
However, moderate amounts of gaming, under proper environmental conditions, could strengthen your eyesight, on top of other cognitive improvements. In one study, it was even found that playing video games for 10 weeks was enough to generate a stronger ability to discern between different shades of grey. How amazing is that?
Conversely, there is zero evidence that suggests sitting too near a television screen would damage eyesight, although it does lead to short-term eye strain. (Just google the question) The short of it, suitable amounts of gaming is beneficial for the eyes. For starters, it makes you more alert to your environment. More discerning too.
3. Playing Video Games Develops Leadership
Many video games are all about being a leader.
If you are playing an RPG, you are always going to be the leader of the pack, deciding what to do and where to go, with other characters following your lead.
If you are playing a real-time strategy game, you are essentially the commander leading troops into unforgiving battle. One mistake could result in an instant wipe-out.
All such roles require specific skills, the summary of which is the awareness of what it takes to be a great and effective leader.
Over time, this awareness will benefit your social life and career in more ways than you can imagine. The next time you sit down to play World of Warcraft or Legend of Zelda, just think, someday, you might be a true hero i.e. leader in real-life. Would you fare well as one? Well, you would, if you had managed your video game missions well.
4. Learning about History and Culture
Many games these days are based on current events. For example, Call of Duty – one of the most popular game franchises of recent times.
Other franchises such as Age of Empires and Civilization are themed around historical events and leaders. Notably, Civilization was even used in some American schools as a teaching aid.
In other words, if you are wondering whether allowing your kids to play video games is educational, the answer is a resounding yes. Depending on the game you allow them to play, you could be helping their education in more ways than one.
Sceptical? Just go ask a Call of Duty player about war history, or a “Civ” player about world leaders. You will be surprised by their extensive knowledge.
5. Higher Physical Activity
This one might sound a little pie in the sky at first glance.
But believe it, or not, there is actual evidence that suggests that playing video games can lead to kids having a higher level of physical activity overall.
This is especially true of sports games, where there is a real sense of the action of playing baseball, or tennis, or whatever the sport might be.
Play enough of such sports games, and chances are, a child would be inclined to try the sport in real life, which then leads to higher physical activity in no time. This is in addition to certain modern video games themselves requiring significant physical exertion and coordination. Just try some Kinect dancing games to know what this means.
6. Playing Video Games Slows Aging
Doing anything that uses the brain in an active and engaged way is strongly beneficial when it comes to slowing aging. Thus, playing puzzle-based games on consoles or your handphone will have the same benefits as a session of Sudoku, or the daily crossword.
Strategy games, escape-the-room games, and so on, are all similarly great “brain food.” Even stealth titles could be wonderful, for that matter.
As for specific reasons why, stealth games demand patience and often require to you aggressively consider alternate solutions to problems. With it never too early or too late to start slowing down the aging process, it might be a pretty good idea to start playing such games regularly for the positive effects.
7. Making Friends and Other Social Benefits
Long gone are the days when playing video games means a solitary pursuit. One often done in an unkempt, locked basement.
These days, many games are highly social in nature, and you might have noticed – even if you don’t play these games yourself – that a lot of kids today play games while chatting to their friends online.
Increasingly more game genres are being played in this way too, with MMORPG titles not the only games that encourage social interaction. Game types like shooters also frequently host social events, making them a great way to make new friends.
Finally, for those of us still under COVID-19 lockdowns, the virtual world is the closest semblance of a full social life there is. Needless to say, to thrive in such environments, one needs certain social skills and awareness, these being the same as those in real-life.
If you are an ogre in real-life, you are unlikely to last long in the gaming community, to put it lightly.
8. Reducing Stress
With the current pandemic situation, who doesn’t need a stress buster?
There are many ways to reduce stress, of course, but playing video games is definitely one of the best options. Through digital and programming magic, you can be anyone, anything, at anywhere. Is there a better stress-reducer than this? Especially when considering the cathartic effect of it all i.e. being able to safely vent your anger on something without consequences?
In fact, even puzzle games and drifting games could be great for managing stress levels. The next time you’re burnt out by work, try taking a virtual car for a spin. You’d be surprised how rejuvenated you’d feel thereafter.
9. Video Games Improves Creativity
The benefits of creativity are obvious and well-known. Not only does creativity allows you to easily formulate unique solutions to any given problem, it possibly slows aging too. This is in addition to creativity being related to keeping dementia at bay – something that we should all be thinking about as soon as possible.
The good news is, improving creativity is long known to be a positive effect of video games, no matter the type of game played! With reference to what’s mentioned above, many modern games require you to consider unusual or daring approaches to problems; fail to do so and you aren’t going to get anywhere.
Over time, you will find yourself more mentally flexible in various life situations too. If you’re often stumped at work, this might be reason enough for you to immediately start indulging in video games.
10. Boosting and Teaching About Motivation
Video games could provide incredible motivation boosts.
An obvious example is how a well-designed game/app could motivate one to exercise more, or eat better, or visit more places, or learn about more things.
For adults and children alike, video games could also illustrate the process and nature of motivation; particularly, intrinsic motivation. Apart from frequent encouragement with games to never give up, game rewards such as badges and loot illustrate the way to inspire oneself to do better. Such lessons have life-long benefits.
On another note, video games could doubly highlight skills that you never knew you had. To give an example, after playing a complex hotel management game, you discover you truly have a knack for business expenditure management. How splendid would that feel? Would it also motivate you to do better in your job, or consider a career change?
11. Mood Enhancing
Last but not least, playing video games helps you feel good about yourself. After all, what could be compared to the joy of finally defeating a dreadful end-stage boss? Or completing an MMORPG raid after numerous tries?
The modern gaming system of “accomplishments and trophies” additionally helps anyone to feel better about themselves. This is particularly beneficial for teenagers who need all the help that they can get when it comes to feeling positive. Actually, who doesn’t need an uplifting boost in the challenging world we live in?
To end, there are just so many benefits to playing video games, some of which are not on this list. If you have yet to start, isn’t it time that you do so?
For parents, the next time your kids eye a video game, don’t frown. By allowing them to play, you’re helping them manage life in more ways than one.