I regularly write about the positive effect that games have had on me over the years and I could spout the usual hand-eye coordination argument or make reference to the 'video games saved my life' article I previously wrote, but there are so many other things that gaming gifts to the world.
I want to highlight these less talked about positives, for example, they could even benefit your cat. And we all know how much the Internet loves cats. More on that later.
First, I want to talk about the effects of ageing.
Gaming is linked to increased cognitive function and continued game playing can actually create lasting improvements in the brain. This is because most video games consist of problem-solving, puzzles and utilise your memory regularly. It's the same reason that the elderly are encouraged to do crosswords and daily sudoku puzzles.
|I hope I'm still gaming at this age|
I adore the work that Special Effect do and their work highlights that video games can enhance life for those who usually miss out on physical activities, many of which we take for granted and that's a pretty spectacular thing. Even people who are paralysed from the neck down are gifted the opportunity to enjoy video games with eye-controls and the confidence and physical improvements that come from playing these games offer those with physical disabilities the inclusion they deserve.
|Image: Special Effect|
We can process this information pretty quickly but gamers are better at reacting to this information stream and studies have shown that they are more likely to be quicker at determining what is useful and what isn't over their non-gaming counterparts. A game constantly throws new information at a player, forcing them to process it at speed and adapt quickly in real time. If they fail, they have to start over or try again until they eventually hone their skills, progress and level up. This means we actually level up and gaming trains your brain to make quick but well-informed decisions.
Thus, video games also increase reaction times and reflexes. This is why many studies have been conducted into the success rate of surgeons. When performing small incisions, studies found that those surgeons who played video games for more than three hours a week, were less likely to make errors when performing their practice procedures.
|Let's hope the surgeons in those studies didn't practice on Surgeon Simulator!|
They can also help people to rethink their views on others and there have been some studies that show, rather surprisingly that gamers might be less likely to be bully others because of the behaviours they are exposed to in video games and the level of remorse they show when performing negative actions in games with morality systems.
|Tough choice...just don't look her in the glowing eyes!|
Gamers are also less likely to give up or quit - okay, okay...I have been known to rage quit (very occasionally) but never completely. I find I am more likely to seek out challenges and actively force myself to go back to something I haven't finished or was too difficult in the past. This is the same in life, I absolutely hate giving up, although perhaps this stems more from my competitive nature as opposed to my gaming habits? Arguably, my competitiveness and determination to succeed is probably fuelled by gaming too.
But enough about me and other pesky human traits, what was that I mentioned earlier about cats?
|Why let your cat outside again? Mr Fluffs can stay inside, in the warm and never, ever leave you...|
...I wish my Xbox would reward me with treats.
There you have it, gaming is good for you, your friends, your wellbeing, the physically disabled, your cat, your dog and your surgeon. Are there any other benefits of gaming I've missed? Let me know in the comments.