What do you have in mind when you hear the expression “video games”? Overweight and unhealthy manboys, addicted to life in a world of imagination, in which they shoot their competitors in the face? Okay, sometimes they are, but in reality, video games are much more than that. I’ve figured out that there are many surprising benefits to playing video games, so I’m a little more comfortable admitting that I play them myself.
1. Video games can teach and/or enforce teamwork.
Various video games have been created that involve a team of people (whether in your living room or in a different state) all working together to achieve a common goal.
2. Video games can improve vision.
Did your mother ever tell you to avoid spending too much time looking at your computer screen? Okay, she was right when she said your eyes need a rest once in a while, but a study has been done by a psychologist who may have some evidence that detailed video games involving aiming and shooting at objects can improve declining vision.
3. Your surgeon can perform better if he/she plays video games regularly.
Have you ever seen the Scrubs TV show? The main character and his friend, a surgeon, often participate in apparently teenage activities, one of which is playing video games. It turns out that this fictional surgeon was likely better at laparoscopic surgery because of the improved hand-eye coordination of these computer games.
4. Video games help you learn how to multitask.
In The Sims game, you can control many different characters at the same time. You should find out how to combine their actions to achieve the best results in the game. This skill can be applied to other tasks such as driving a car and controlling distractions inside the car as well as tracking the cars around you.
5. Video games can be helpful for people who are struggling with stress or depression.
Video games provide you with the chance to get lost in a world which you can control without any real troubles or consequences. A New York Times article highlighted a woman struggling with depression with the Bejeweled game. Although not all video games do, some of them can even give you a Zen-like feeling where you can play without real effort or boredom.
6. Video games can help those who are facing intense pain.
Studies have shown that those patients who are allowed to play video games need fewer medications for pain relief. The point is that patients were so absorbed in the game that their pain seemed miles away. As a result, there is less risk of addiction to strong pain medication.
7. Not all video games are violent (and/or do not push you into violent tendencies).
Are you completely shocked? Before writing this post, I felt a bit embarrassed to admit that I spent countless hours playing Sims games and more recently Sims 2 (no, I didn’t do anything crazy for Sims 3 for fear of never leaving my laptop again). This game is anything but violent. The principle itself is to live life. You can get a job, build a house, have lots of babies and raise a whole family of dogs if you want to. You can attend university, meet your true love and graduate with honors. Okay, yes, it seems a bit sad to do all that in a video game, but stay with me and explore some of the positives of playing video games.
8. Not all games demand that you sit and stare at a screen for hours.
A lot of video games have physical aspects (and rightly so). You can pretend to play almost anything, from bowling to boxing to competing in a dance challenge. There are even games specifically designed to improve physical fitness.
9. Many video games have been designed for children.
I was completely baffled when I saw a three-year-old child playing a game on her mother’s ipad. As younger children learn to play with electronic devices, a wide variety of educational video games have been designed to enrich the young mind. It’s even thought that video games are an interactive place that will soon be replacing textbooks… as crazy as it sounds.
10. The final point: I just heard on the radio that there are video games made for cats.
However, I choose to deny that cats can use electronics.
Not only do video games offer endless entertainment, but they also have amazing benefits. If you haven’t already done so, you might want to get a game to stimulate your brain (and possibly your physical capacities).