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The benefits of playing video games

by Kate

Undeniably, the popularity of video games among people, especially among children, have contributed to the sedentary lifestyle. We tend to move much less than the previous generations and spending our free time in front of our PCs or TV screen does not let us be active.

Another controversial aspect of playing video games is the fact some people can really get addicted to it. An addiction to a video game can include various components starting from being hooked by a gaming process or the possibility of getting a promotion in some hierarchy present on a particular game up to the regular communication with other players.

Certainly, these issues are rather serious. Still, we should be aware of the positive sides of playing video games which are undeniably present there. In this article, you will learn why we actually should play video games.

Exercising the brain

In all likelihood, you might have already thought about an opportunity to exercise your brain as one of the positive sides of playing video games. Actually, it has already been proven scientifically that video games really can help you to exercise your brain. Still, you should know what is exactly meant by exercising brain.

The majority of people have come across brain training games which certainly have a positive effect on the neural plasticity and are good for activating various brain regions especially in elder people. Still, such games will hardly fulfil the promises of their creators which are generally very impressive. There is a whole collection of games available on the market guaranteeing you a rapid improvement of memory and other functions of your brain which is unfortunately far from the truth. It does not mean that you have to resign from playing such games. You just should not expect them to be thus powerful, as their developers want you to believe they are.

What is really happening to your brain while you are playing video games?

Interestingly, many positive effects on human’s brain were discovered by the scientists while people were playing other types of games rather than so-called brain-training games. A popular games used for various experiments was Super Mario 64, however, the effects of other games such as first-person shooters, sports simulations and fast-paced action games were also analysed.

Video games are affecting several parts of the brain in a positive way.

First of all, they are activating the prefrontal cortex which is the area of the brain focused on decision making. Other functions of this part of the brain are personality, cognitive planning as well as social behaviour. For example, Super Mario 64 which was checked by these experiments involves lots of planning as well as contemplating over the possibilities of using various objects present in the world.

When it comes to the information processing and its consolidation, these crucial activities are happening in the right hippocampus. This part of the brain is also responsible for both long-term memory and short-term memory. The players of Super Mario 64 needed this part of the brain to navigate the world of the game successfully.

As you can imagine the cerebellum which is a crucial part of the body controlling the activity of muscles and, as a result, the motor skills as well was also affected in the subjects of the studies who played Mario. Playing games of such a type is teaching you to react to various events happening around you at a proper moment.

When it comes to other types of video games mentioned above, they can significantly improve the coordination between your eyes and your hands. This is particularly crucial for treating people with some disabilities.

Improving problem solving skills

It is obvious that many video games require solving various types of problems. The diversity of tasks depends on a particular genre of a game you have chosen. RPGs, strategies, simulators, puzzles and many other types of games will give you lots of opportunities to practice your problems solving skills which you can then use successfully in your real life.

Of course, some of the things offered to players of video games should be already known to adults, however, when it comes to young players, video games can be a great medium for teaching them useful skills.

For instance, imagine how much children can get by playing such a game as SimCity which requires planning the entire city. This is definitely a complex task. With the help of the game children will see how various decisions affect the future. For example, they will be able to see what is the impact of a particular way of planning streets.

Do not forget that SimCity is also a great game for teaching children resource management which is a particularly crucial skill.

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