How says games can’t bring benefits?! Here the most important ones

- Adrian Ungureanu

Older generations don’t really understand the younger generations and their passion for video games. Kids are often scolded by their parents or their grandparents that they spend too much time in front of the PC, TV and smartphone.

Well, they have a point as kids need to go out and play, meet with other kids, do sports. The young ones need to train their minds as well as their bodies. Yet, there are some who say gaming is a waste of time as the kids have no benefits by spending their time playing video games.

Well, a recent study publish by the monitor manufacturer AOC says that there are many social and cognitive benefits that result from gaming. Far from being purely for fun and entertainment, gaming improves players’ visual information processing, decision making, and teamwork.

Cognitive abilities
Most games stimulate memory, attention span and logical thinking. Even gaming just a few hours a week can make a difference regardless of age. Real-Time-Strategy(RTS) games for example can enhance these abilities, as the player needs to analyse the situation against his rivals, plan ahead for an attack/defense or any advantage, remember rivals’ actions and make counteractions, all this in a constricted time. The resulting improvements on attention and problem solving will definitely show up on the school / office or everyday life.

Decision making
Playing videogames can help improve decision-making skills. While some games require split-second decisions that impact the game, in some games decisions made earlier will change the course of the whole game. In Role-Playing Games (RPGs), even the early decisions on the attributes of a character and the later interactions with the world will have heavy consequences on the morality and wellbeing of the player’s character. Some Turn-Based-Strategy games also require players to analyse and react to a multitude of parameters to successfully win the game.

Processing visual information
First Person Shooter(FPS) games and Shoot ‘em up games will often require players to shift their focus rapidly on different parts of the screen . While doing that, users will also try to keep their situational awareness in check. This means that the brain learns to split the attention and improve processing of incoming visual information. As the players don’t have much time to make decisions, prediction and reaction times improve. Certain studies even suggest that some gamers are as sharp as actual fighter pilots.

Let it be an online game with multiple teams, or just an offline co-op game with some friends, most games require players to work closely in a team. Popular competitive games such as some FPS games and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)-style games will bring teams of 5 people together, where each player has its own strengths, weaknesses and skills. This kind of collaboration will definitely translate into workspace or to school .

Keeping it healthy
Hospitals equipped with game stations can impact recovery in a positive way. Patients can find some distraction and joy by playing games, and even socially interact with other people and bring their optimism levels up.

While there are many studies about the different positive aspects about gaming, AOC emphasises and promotes responsible gaming. It is vitally important that computer use forms part of a balanced and healthy life. Spending time outside, playing sports and being with friends are all equally important.