If I had a nickel for every time my mom has yelled at me to stop playing video games, I could probably buy a lot more video games. As a millennial, I have been around to see the amazing progression of video games. I remember when we got the original Xbox when I was 7, it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. The technology absolutely blew my mind. I have loved video games since I was a kid and I don’t think that is ever going to change. But, I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “video games rot your brain” or “Why don’t you do something productive instead”. But the truth is actually on the contrary. Video games actually provide numerous benefits that go unnoticed.
A lot of the criticism of video games comes from older generations who weren’t exposed to anything like this when they were growing up. They see something that is totally controlling our attention, and since it doesn’t seem to be productive, it is written off as bad. But that is not necessarily always the case. There is a surprising amount of research about video games and how they significantly improve your hand-eye coordination. It is a lot more than simply staring mindlessly at a screen. Video games stimulate your senses, and whether you notice or not, you are constantly “coordinating visual, audial, and physical movement”.
Not only do video games improve your coordination, but they also greatly improve your problem-solving and critical thinking skills. This is quite possibly the biggest perk of video games in my opinion. A large majority of video games involve puzzles or some problem you have to solve in order to move on. Like I said before, it’s more than just passively staring at a screen. Video games force you to think, comprehend, and make decisions. And while these skills are good to have when you’re playing video games, they are even more necessary and vital in reality as well. And personally, I have absolutely noticed my critical thinking skills improving because of games like Destiny, Portal, and Minecraft which all demand clever problem-solving.
There is another benefit to video games that may sound dumb at first, but actually carries an overwhelming amount of value when it is actually looked at. Video games provide stress-relief, which is definitely a reason why they are so prevalent in our culture. In a fast-paced society where we are always expected to be doing something productive, video games serve as a great way to de-stress. The fact that I can put all of my issues aside for an hour and insert myself into another reality where I control everything, is completely amazing to me. Then after I am done playing, I can go back to whatever I need to do, refreshed and ready to go. A lot of times, at the end of a hard day, it is nice to sit down, relax, and throw on my favorite video game to unwind. Video games can help you do more than just de-stress, too. “Playing can actually produce an analgesic (pain-killing) response in our higher cortical systems.” The medical community has done many tests to see if there is a relationship between pain relief and playing video games, and there actually is! And the more in-depth the video game is, the better. Virtual reality games do a great job at this because it is as if you are actually in a different world. If you are completely immersed in a game, you will not notice the physical pain nearly as much or even not at all.
There are so many other advantages that video games supply for us. And at the pace that video games are improving, who knows what is in store for the future. The truth of the matter is that there are pros and cons to everything. Yes, there’s a number of drawbacks with video games, but I think the pros far outnumber the cons. Video games improve your decision-making, coordination, multitasking skills, attention, concentration, and even social skills. So stop whatever you’re doing and go play some video games.