Just like any other teenager, I was addicted to computer games; I could play for hours and hours, disregarding anything happening around me.
Back then, my favorite games were:
COMMANDOS. It is a game of tactic and sigil in real time, set in a WWII environment. You could manipulate a group of soldiers with the mission to stop the Nazi. Of course, I played three sequels: Commandos, Behind Enemy Lines; Commandos 2, Men of Courage; Commandos 3, Destination Berlin.
STARCRAFT. A sci-fi game of military strategy in real time, developed by Blizzard Entertainment.
DIABLO and DIABLO II, Role playing, action games also developed by Blizzard Entertainment, set in the fictitious kingdom of KHANDURAS, located in the world of SANCTUARY. They mainly consisted of numerous battles against evil.
Nevertheless, what’s important for this post is not which or how many games I played tirelessly, but to highlight that there are benefits to playing video games. Here are some good reasons why playing video games is absolutely good.
1. Video games improve preschool motor skills
Researchers from the University of Deakin in Melbourne discovered in a study analyzing the evolution of 53 kids of preschool age, that those who participated in activities involving interaction in a game had better results in fine motor skill tests than those who did not participate.
2 Video Games increase sociability
It is possible to improve teamwork, and to foster family relationships and friendship thanks to games’ options of cooperative and online playing, as I do with my 4-year-old daughter Sofia. We play FRUIT NINJA and certainly, she always wins.
3. Video Games help stroke, Parkinson’s and chronic disease patients.
In recent years, universities in Toronto and Utah analyzed the effects of games on improving balance and eye-hand coordination in victims of cerebral-vascular accidents, Parkinson’s and chronic disease. In these cases, they refer to titles specially developed for movement sensors like Kinect, PS Move, and Wii Mote. This way, games activate the “Reward and positive emotion system” on a neuronal level in patients, helping improve their behavior and to overcome the difficult challenge imposed by their illness.
4. Video Games help make decisions, quicker
According to research developed in 2010 by scientists in the University of Rochester in New York, action titles help players make decisions faster; this way, in the long term, gaming develops a better perception of what goes on around them.
5. Video Games relieve pain, depression and aggressive behavior
After carrying out an investigation, the Department of Psychology of the University of Washington discovered that relief couldn’t be just emotional, but also physical. In 2012 they helped hospitalized patients by means of entertainment using the virtual reality title “Snow World”. Results showed that soldiers who participated as volunteers required less medications to recover. Something similar had happened in 2009 with a study in which mental health issues such as depression and stress were successfully treated with video games, because this way, patients were able to channel frustration and aggressive behavior.
6. Video Games help improve eyesight
My mother always said: “son, you are going to wear out your eyesight”. Maybe it is not that bad, after all. In 2007 and 2009 studies by the University of Rochester in New York proved that 30 hours of first person shooting games or FPS (Halo or Call of Duty) can be useful to improve seeing things that are small or very close together in a real space and perceiving color contrasts. But that’s not all. In 2012, Dr. Daphne Maurer, of the Visual Development Laboratory of McMaster University of Ontario confirmed that persons with cataract problems can improve that condition thanks to action video games, or FPS, or any other showing accelerated images, due to required attention.
Research: Pre-Schoolers Who Play Interactive Games Have Better Motor Skills (http://gamepolitics.com)
Therapy for social phobia (goodtherapy.org)
Video Games Help Stroke Victims? (healthfreedoms.org)
Video Games Help Patients and Health Care Providers (Universidad de Utah)
Video Games Lead to Faster Decisions that are No Less Accurate (Universidad de Rochester)
Groundbreaking experiment in virtual reality uses video game to treat pain (rockcenter.nbcnews.com)
University of Washington Seattle and U.W. Harborview Burn Center
Researchers Explore Mental Health Benefits of Video Games (The Washington Post)
Therapy for aggression and violence (goodtherapy.org)
How Video Games Could Improve Our Vision (The New York Times)
Study: Playing Video Games Improves Eyesight (livescience.com)
40 hours of playing violent videos actually IMPROVED the sight of young gamers (dailymail.co.uk)
Playing Video Games Tied To Happiness, Emotional Wellness in Seniors (psychcentral.com)
Descubre las siete razones de por qué jugar videojuegos es bueno para tu salud (http://www.latercera.com)