Video Games have a bad reputation in society. A lot of people have been told by the news, their parents and people who generally don’t play games that “Video Games are bad for you”. Now there is a partial truth to this statement. If you spend all day locked up in your room playing then “Yes” you will be isolated, anti-social and may also have health consequences because of the food you eat and the strain in your eyes. Even the World Health Organization(WHO) has classified video games addiction as a mental disorder. But anything in excess has negative consequences.
Due to a few bad eggs in society video games have been classified as a waste of time which is not true. People always focus on the negative parts of gaming and fail to acknowledge the positive impact it can have on a person. As a gamer myself this blog aims to highlight the good that gaming can do. So, these are the 5 Life-Skills Video games teach us.
1. Develops Your Problem-Solving Ability
Majority of the modern games are filled with puzzles. These can be in the form of locked doors or mazes or situations where you have to find a certain key or action to progress. These are called logic puzzles and are not exclusive to one genre of games. These can be found in kids plat-formers like “Super Mario World” and Spyro the Dragon to adult horror games like Resident evil and “The Evil within” to action games such as “Uncharted”.
Nowadays' games wont lets players go from point A to B. There usually are barriers in between which force people to use their minds and come up with solutions. These barriers may not be hard and may be as simple as finding a glowing key in frame but every time you do you are forced to think laterally which is engaging your mind in a manner other than telling you what to do. This process has real world benefits as this exercise helps you in handling real life problems by forcing you to think critically.
2. Development of Social Skills
There was a time when hardcore gamers were looked as social pariahs gaming out of people’s basements unable to function in a social environment. But like most myths this is not true. A study conducted by Victoria University surveyed people of what society deem as problem gamers (Gamers who play 50 hours or more a week) and only 1% of them showed signs of poor social skills.
When further looking into the matter, researchers found out that on the contrary to the above statement online gaming strengthens social skills. It has created a new platform to increase people’s social circles and further strengthen friendships. There are many instances where people have found their spouses through online platforms. I have personally made many new friends due to me being a gamer. I am part of a healthy community of gamers who are willing to help new comers to embrace the world of video games. Online gaming is not perfect and there is a section which is rampant with racism and sexism which the media always tend to highlight. But these people are exceptions rather than the norms. People don’t tend to focus on the lifelong friendships, the acts of kindness that are ever present in the online community.
Acts of Kindness in gaming: https://bit.ly/1SfTGiM
Online gaming has proven to develop important skills such as communication, team work and healthy competition. Playing with friends require you to work together to come up with solutions to get through levels in the most efficient way. It has created a safe and inclusive platform for all to hone their skills, make new friends and play with existing friends all from the comfort of your own home.
3. Promote Creativity
Games such as Minecraft, The Sims, Roller Costar Tycoon, Farming simulators have provided people with a blank platform to showcase their creativity. Gaming is not just shooters and violence. There is an entire sub section where gamers use a blank canvas to build something with nothing. People have used the platform of Minecraft to build entire world within that game. Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker gives chances to fans to build their own levels. Fans have embraced this and have come up with so many ludicrously creative levels in the process. Linked below are some of the awesome stuff people have come up with.
There is also the modification(“MOD”) community within gaming. Here people have modified existing game codes to come with stuff that would surprise the game developers. People have created new world in games such as Skyrim, modded in awesome characters in fighting games such as Mortal Kombat and made brand new games from existing old games that have taken the world by storm.
And finally, there are people who have created different ways to play games. People have made game controllers to help the differently able people game. Be it making joysticks that can operated by feet, a single hand or even breath. There are gamers in the world that have programed things like a Guitar Hero Controller or a Dance mat to beat extremely hard games such as dark souls.
Person beats dark souls with random items: https://bit.ly/2tqpOuc
Awesome controllers made for people with disabilities: https://bit.ly/2V19ThR
Playing is not a linear experience. It flexes people’s creative muscles and gives people the platform to do something more and something different which is a great skill to have.
4. Improves Multi-Tasking
One of the most underrated things in video games is that it may look like you are just looking at a screen but you are multi-tasking throughout this situation. Unlike watching a movie your inputs determine how the situation in the screen is going to unfold.
Every time you play a new game you are being taught the rules of the title through visual stimuli, audio cues and sometimes physical stimuli such as vibrations. Then you use buttons to dodge, fight, run or whatever the game may require you to do to progress through and reach your objective. This is the definition of multi-tasking in a base sense. Add to this, things to remember such as combos in fighting games, objectives to progress through the game, the game controls and the need for constant problem solving as mentioned above is giving your brain a heavy workout every time you pick up a joystick. There are articles that show that surgeons who play video games have a higher success rate than surgeons who don’t. Things such as reflexes, mental strength and hand eye coordination are all tested in any basic game and contribute to helping people who game develop their multi-tasking skills.
Doctors playing games: https://bit.ly/2T38OJe
5. Promotes Perseverance
In the gaming community there is a saying called “Get Good”. This originated through a game series called “Dark Souls” where players were required skill, learning and patience to complete the game. This game is extremely challenging and tests players mental strength and their ability to deal with failure. The most interesting of these three is patience as it can be applied to many different games of many different genres.
The media portrays gamers as moody people who kick and scream every time they fail in a game but this is a gorse representation of a minority rather than the majority. Majority of gamers understand that failure and defeat is something that you need to overcome to complete a game and that it is an opportunity to learn. Playing games help people realize that failure to do something in the first try is not the end of the world. It shows people how they can learn from a failure and try a different tactic the next time they attempt it. It teaches people that in life sometimes your health may fail, sometimes your mind but whatever happens it's ok not to succeed the first time. It is ok to fail as long as you are ready to learn from it. It is ok to fail as long as you don’t give up and never be discouraged from the challenge.
Understanding this helps gamers deal with failure and teaches them how to succeed when they are faced with real challenges by showing them that they must be patient and persevere through it.