Why video games are good for you

Video games are a way for me to make a quick escape from the real world for a short mental break. 

While video games can be addictive and cause a disruption to regular circadian rhythm when a gamer can’t strike a balance between life and gaming, it has its benefits.

After a friend had sent me an article about the benefits of video games, I dove into the rabbit hole and spent the weekends reading up some old research findings 

Here’s why video games are good for you, according to science:

  1. Video games help to improve memory

According to a study done in 2015, gamers who played complex 3D video games demonstrated better recognition based memory in real life, as compared to non-gamers. 

  1. Playing fast paced games can help improve quick decision making

In a study reported by the University of Rochester, gamers who placed 50 hours of fast-paced action games answered a series of questions faster (and with the same accuracy) as those who played slower paced strategy games. 

  1. Video games can improve spatial visualization

Studies such as this, this and this review both suggest that games that involve spatial puzzles or wayfinding helps improve spatial visualization.

  1. Video games can improve strategic thinking

Life is a series of decisions, the better you are at making decisions, the more fulfilling your life would probably be. This study compared two groups of gamers and found that those who played over 40 hours of strategy games like StarCraft over 6 – 8 weeks are better at task switching and thinking on the fly. 

The study also suggests that those who played more complex games tend to become better at strategic thinking and creative problem solving. Seems like cozy games are better at helping me relax than making me a better thinker. 

There are many more, but I think you get the idea.

Key Takeaways I got after reading countless papers

First up, an interesting pattern I noticed while I read these research papers, was that many had used The Sims as a control. 😅

Another key takeaway is that different types of games can improve different skill sets. I guess the video games simply offer a more enjoyable way for gamers to practice certain skills while they are having fun. After clocking in a significant amount of time, you just get better thanks to the practice. 

That said, as with most things in life, you shouldn’t be overindulging in video games. 

However, video games do offer benefits. So, have fun!


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