How Video Games Make You Smarter
If you ask your parents this question, they’ll probably claim that video games are rotting your brain. We’re going to explain why this is not only untrue, but the exact opposite of the truth. Keep reading, because we’re about to take a look at the different genres of games, and the evidence proving that they do indeed, make you smarter.
We’re not saying you should play video games all day though, too much of anything is harmful – No, seriously, even drinking too much water can poison you.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve been criticised by your mum for spending so much time on League of Legends; Then five minutes later, you find her tapping away on Candy Crush. A game which, to most people, seems like a pointless time waster made to drain your money – however, research has shown that it actually has some surprising benefits.
Regularly playing puzzle games helps keep the brain active, even if they seem extremely easy. When compared to 20 minutes of walking a day – another activity that is not taxing – you can understand how it’s so helpful. A 20-minute walk is a simple stroll to the shop, but it does wonders to fight obesity and prolong your life.
Mobile puzzle games are the mental equivalent of this. Just a few puzzles per day, can slow the ageing of your brain by up to 7 years! And, with so many scary degenerative brain diseases out there, we should all get clicking away.
They also teach patience, as anyone who has played a puzzle game will attest too.
When I think back on all the RPG’s I’ve played, I’ve gained more emotional intelligence than any other kind; However, they’ve also helped my reaction times, and my ability to create a good story – a skill that might not be valued as much as it should be.
Role-playing games give us the chance to live as another person, to make important moral decisions for them – and to live with the consequences of those decisions. Take “Detroit: Become Human” for instance. The premise of the game is that Androids are malfunctioning and gaining emotions; As a result, they want the same rights as humans.
There are many parallels between the Androids and real-life groups that have been historically discriminated against. Separate compartments on buses for androids, open mistrust just because of what they are, and “recycling” camps.
Being on the receiving end of these horrible injustices can teach you a lot about what real life people have been through – and what some are still going through.
And of course, games such as Mass Effect and Assassins Creed Odyssey allow us to gain a deeper understanding of LGBT people. When we watch films, there’s a slight disconnect between us and the character, as opposed to playing a video game. Movies allow us to step into character’s shoes, but games let us step into their minds. We are them, and their actions are our actions. Studies have shown that children who read Harry Potter are more empathetic than those who haven’t, and why should games not have a similar influence?
Real Time Strategy
Thinking on your feet is a useful skill in any situation, and any decent RTS game will really push you to your limits. Games such as Warcraft, Age of Empires and Starcraft are all great examples, but they teach you so much more than how to think fast – they also teach you how to prioritize and multitask.
You will be bombarded from every angle by difficult decisions, and the ability to handle all those decisions at the same time is invaluable. Plus, in some situations you’ll have no choice but to make a choice, even when your only options are bad ones; Prioritization is vital in maintaining a healthy life, as is planning ahead, which incidentally is another skill RTS games can teach you.
Sometimes you will have to sacrifice troops and suffer in the short term to receive a bigger payoff in the future. This is something that takes work, as humans survival instincts make us prefer to take the path of least resistance; If you can get by, then why would you risk taking on more challenging tasks? The logical answer is that we can reap the benefits in the future, but our monkey brains don’t understand this, and that’s where resistance comes into play.
RTS games teach us that sometimes we have to suffer in the short term, to vastly improve the long-term – studying now, so that we have a decent job in the future, or sacrificing a pawn to checkmate the king.
Not only that, but many RTS games require you to work with a team. For instance, League of Legends.
We know, we know; Technically LoL isn’t an RTS game, but since it owes its existence to the genre, and has many similar elements, we feel they’re comparable.
These sort of games force you to work with strangers in order to complete a mutual goal. And, in many situations, you are going to downright hate your teammates. Perhaps they’re constantly stealing your farm or running it down mid – whatever the case might be, you have to temper your rage and get the job done.
This translates well into real life, as much of the time you’re going to be working with people you dislike, particularly in retail or office jobs! You can’t tell a customer that they were a mistake and that they should uninstall though, unless you want to be left jobless; That’s why learning how to manage your anger in a controlled environment is so vital.
There are many other kinds of video games out there that could make you smarter too, unfortunately, we don’t have time to cover them all! With that said, the next time your mum criticizes you for spending too much time playing games, link her to this article.
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