We won’t pretend to have a crystal ball here, but we suspect that you’ve played more video games during the past twelve months than you did in the previous year. You probably didn’t intend to when 2020 started, but the events that have gone on this year more or less took the decision out of your hands. Many of the things you’d ideally like to have gone outside and done became unavailable. The television shows and movies you were looking forward to have been postponed. With so many other routes of entertainment shut down or taken away, video games became the best choice for millions of people by default.
Because we were raised on the idea that playing video games is somehow inherently bad for us, you might feel guilty or lazy because of the amount of time you’ve spent playing your favorite games. The purpose of this article is to challenge that belief. Contrary to everything your parents used to tell you when you tried to fight for the right to spend your sixth consecutive hour on the PlayStation, video games can actually be good for you – and we’ve got some facts and data to back that claim up with. Here are five ways that playing video games can actually bring you net benefits!
We’ve spent years being told that spending too many hours in front of the television is bad for our eyes, and yet now we know that – within reason – the reverse is actually true. Studies carried out on people who’ve spent years playing high-intensity video games have proven that gamers are better at tracking multiple moving objects at the same time, reacting to objects that come at them with speed, and picking out distinct objects against similarly-colored backgrounds. These are some of the first visual abilities to fade with age, but they last longer in people who either used to play video games, or still do. There are even some suggestions that doctors of the future might order people with vision issues to play certain games as part of their therapy!
Enhanced Mental Agility
Puzzle and problem-solving is an increasingly important aspect of many modern video games. Yes, there are still plenty of games that rely on nothing more than your ability to shoot, maim, or otherwise destroy whatever’s in front of you, but logic and reasoning is just as important a part of many sophisticated games – and that’s good news for your mental agility. Again, we’re basing this directly on science and studies. Various studies carried out all over the world have shown that games that rely on players to remember things and solve logic-based puzzles improve cognitive function. In some cases – generally, those involving players who are aged 50 or above – it can even reverse the rate of ‘brain aging’ and restore some cognitive functionality that’s been lost. That just proves that you’re never too old to play games!
Video games are no longer played in isolation. In the overwhelming majority of cases, modern video games contain an online element – and those online elements put you in touch with an enormous global community. Players join gangs, clans, teams, squads, and other affiliations that put them in touch with other human beings. Those who struggle with feelings of loneliness or isolation can benefit greatly from finding friends and teammates online. In some cases, those online friendships blossom into offline friendships. They’ve even been known to culminate in romantic relationships! You should always be cautious about meeting people in the flesh when you’ve only ever spoken to them online, but if you’re feeling down or out on a limb, going online and getting involved in a gaming community can take the edge off those feelings.
Beating challenges in video games releases endorphins into your brain, which life your mood. The more you win or succeed, the more serotonin will be produced, and the better you’ll feel. For years, we’ve known that one of the reasons that gamblers keep coming back to online slots websites is because of the rush they get when they win, but that isn’t always necessarily a good thing. While the majority of people who play online slots with free spins bonus do so safely and sensibly, it’s also positive to get addicted to them – and addiction can be costly. In fairness to online slots, it’s also possible to get addicted to any form of gaming. You don’t have to play online slots or casino games to get that rush, though – you can get it through any game that offers progressive play and tiered achievements. Stay self-aware enough to spot the signs of addiction, so you know when to put the controller down and back away, but embrace the little mood-boosts that a good gaming session can reward you with.
Better Decision Making
We all know someone who agonizes over every decision they make. They’re the people who sit staring at the menu in restaurants for five minutes after everyone else has made their mind up or holds in the queue in a bar because they don’t know what they want to order. Nobody wants to be that person, and nobody needs to be that person. Because so many games involve making split-second decisions that determine success or failure, they help the people who play them become accustomed to identifying the best way forward in a split second and then aggressively pursuing that option. That same skill can be applied to almost every aspect of your life away from gaming, from making business decisions to decisions that affect your personal life. The ability to weigh things up quickly and identify the best option is one of the traits that mark you out as a potential leader – and it’s a trait you can get from playing games.
There’s no reason to resent or feel guilty about the time you spend playing video games. As you now know, it’s probably making you happier, mentally sharper, better at making decisions, and less isolated than you might otherwise have felt. With a bit of luck, it might even be improving your eyesight! Nobody should spend so much time gaming that the rest of their life suffers because of it, but don’t resent those few hours each day you spend with a controller in your hand. They’re almost certainly doing you more good than harm.