Video games are recreational electronic games that involves two-way user interaction to generate feedback in between the user and the device, such as through television, computer screens or smartphones. Unfortunately, video games are more widely seen and portrayed negatively.
Video games are thought to be addictive, waste of time and also waste of energy. Despite most people might think that video game is entirely for recreational or entertainment, however modern research has analyzed that there are many benefits that one could get through video games, such as in terms of finance and cognitive. Here, we are going to explore more about the cognitive benefits of playing video games.
An Introduction to Video Games
Video games are available in various platforms, such as home consoles, handhelds, personal computers or PC, arcade, web browser, mobile, blockchain, as well as virtual reality. Each of them serves different yet distinct user interface and atmosphere. In the meantime, just like movies and music, video games can also be classified into genres, such as role-playing, arcade, racing, action, adventure, sports, strategy, horror, and more.
There are three main classifications to video games; serious games, educational games, and finally casual games. Serious games are aimed to convey real life information or learning experience to the player, such as inflight simulators. Educational games provide interactive fun way of learning to the user, whereas casual games have ease of accessibility, gameplay, and understandable rules and regulations, just like in matching, hidden object or puzzle games.
What are its Benefits to One’s Cognitive Function?
- Video Games Improve Coordination
A video game player requires motoric, audial, visual and attentive skills in between the gadget and the screen. Whatever happens on the screen trains our motoric skills to be more agile in reacting to what is happening on the game.
- Video Games also Improve Problem Solving Skills
Every video game has its rules and a plot to it. This requires the player to solve the problem while still following the rules, and also think of strategies that could be done as the player advances into the next stages of the game.
- Video Games Strengthen Memory
In line with the point above, rules and objectives are given inside a video game. Of course, those are only given at the early stages of the game. As the player progresses through the game, he or she would still need to recall those two in order for the player to be successful in completing the game.
- Video Games Enhances Attention plus Concentration
Upbeat video games, such as action could grab the player’s attention and concentration throughout the whole course of the game. This is so because if the player misses just one small detail, then the game session could fail.
- Video Games as a Learning Tool
Apart from being a source of entertainment, video games could come as a learning tool, just like in educational video games. Educational video games provide the user a fun learning experience, particularly if the user finds it hard to absorb learning materials conventionally.
- Video Games Accelerates Brain Speed
During gaming, the brain is stimulated audially and visually. These stimulations ensure that the brain constantly works to interpret them. Research has it that frequent gamers are able to process these stimulations faster than those who do not play games.
- Video Games Encourage Multitasking
Video games encourage multitasking in various organs, such as the brain, hands, eyes, and ears. This ensures that the player is able to react and coordinate responsively according to the flow of the game.
- Video Games Engages Social Skills
This health benefit is similar to the health benefits of playing domino. Certain video games, particularly multiplayer ones require frequent communications in between player. This allows the players to develop relationship and acquaintanceship in game life and in real life, and of course health benefits of hanging out with friends. As we all know, communication is an important aspect of human life as social creatures.
- Video Games are Good for One’s Psychology
Video games may also improve self esteem and confidence in the player, particularly if the player is a competent gamer or a top scorer. A positive self-esteem and confidence are needed for a better social and personal life.
- Video Games Relaxes and Refreshes the Mind
Many gamers game to escape from the realities of the world, which is not a wrong thing to do because once in a while the mind needs some escape from the symptoms of depression, health risks of stress, one of them is through gaming and also health benefits of popping bubble wrap.
How to Improve Cognitive Performance Using Video Games
As we see above, playing and actively engaging in video games could actually improve one’s cognitive performance. One of the most amazing yet greatest advantages of playing video games is that it allows us to improve our brain skills passively, while having fun of course! However, to maximize the improvisation of brain performance through video games, one should take note of the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule, which is adopted from the Pareto Principle is one of the best guidelines available around that may be used for concentrating one’s effort effectively. The reason to why it is named the 80/20 is based on the expected outcome that sounds “80% of the expected consequences come from 20% of the causes.”
In other words, it’s all about how one could focus on the efforts in such a way that leads to the greatest advantages or goals at the least effort amount. When analogized into the video game context, it means that 80% of the benefits gained from video games come from 20% of the play time. Therefore, if one wishes to play video games for the purpose of improving cognitive performance, then time management and effort is crucial for this matter.
And then, another way on how one could improve cognitive skills through video games is by exploring and playing various genres of video games. It is so because different genres of video games require different strategic and analytical skills at different levels of difficulty.
How Could the Skills Obtained in Video Games Be Applicable in Real Life?
One of the easiest ways for one to assess how effective the skills obtained in video games are in real life is by practicing the skills and strategies in similar real-life situations. For example, if one would like to play baseball or tennis using skills practiced in video games, which emphasizes attentive skills, pay extra attention to the direction and speed of the ball, and then swing the bat or racket as it reaches a certain distance from us.
Another way to assess video game skills in real life is by taking online reaction tests (for example), record the results, play action games that require similar tactics, and redo the online reaction test to see how far one has their cognitive skills improved from the game.