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The science behind why video games are beneficial

Today, in our overly technological society, many dismiss gaming as a waste of time, a way of idling the brain, becoming more violent and alienating yourself from the real world. Many parents out there are worried about their children spending ‘too much time playing’. And although some people do struggle with a harmful addiction to gaming, this idea mostly stems from fear of the unknown. Many of us did not grow up playing video games, and so, find them dangerous. But the truth is, video games have been shown to have many of the benefits of more ‘traditional’ games, with some added bonuses.

Video games make you happy. It’s fairly simple – many video games are task based, you have to reach a goal point or finish some sort of battle/quest. This, in turn, makes you feel fulfilled, makes you feel like you accomplished something.

As veteran game designer Jane McGonigal points out in her excellent book ‘Reality is Broken’, most of our leisure activities are passive – watching TV, window-shopping or just hanging out. We don’t actually do things, whereas games make us feel like we’ve done something that actually matters.

Video games teach teamwork. Many people complain that video games are isolating the player, but that’s simply not true. In truth, most of the popular games in the industry are multiplayer, such as World of Warcraft, Halo or Heroes of the Storm or even online bookies like, and many of them rely on working together, as a team, towards a common goal. They teach you to trust in others and to help your teammates, to put the common good above your own success, which is a highly important skill in life.

Besides, gaming improves community – people who game together go through some really intense emotions together and that only strengthens the bond.

Video games improve attention. Have you ever watched a serious gamer play? You’ll be amazed at how easily they find things and targets on the screen. Well, that’s because games – particularly action-games – require a lot of attention, they constantly require you to track objects, ignore distractions or notice secrets. And in our society, attention spans are growing ever shorter, so really video games are hugely useful.

Video games can be an outlet. Some people say that video games encourage violence. This is, in fact, wrong. Video games are a way of releasing excess emotion, such as anger or frustration you might be feeling from real-life problems. Like books or movies, video games allow you to temporarily escape your reality, with the added benefit that they offer you the satisfaction of a job well-done.

Video games increase coordination. Unlike other leisure activities, gaming is not passive. It requires you to constantly be learning new controls, moves and strategies, in order to succeed. It’s looking at a screen and having to figure out how you get from A to B and then executing all that through a few flicks of your fingers. If you sit a serious gamer side-by-side with a non-gamer, you will see huge differences in how quickly they move and react.

Video games increase creativity. Say what you will, but most video games are highly creative – they have complex stories and character relationships, basically, they’re really immersive stories. And the more stories you’re exposed to, the more your own imagination grows.

Categories: Life