Video games are no more just a ‘fun activity’ or a ‘pastime’.
Over the past few years, they have become a more important part of many people’s life. The acceptance of video games have increased, and it has opened more avenues for people who play these games and are good at them.
As the number of researches into video games and their impact on the human mind increased, new – previously unknown – correlations were discovered.
The negativity attached to gaming and the harmful perception of video games is evading. Their positive impact on human minds was studied in more detail. Thus scientists came up with several reasons how games could be used to improve human capabilities.
Video games are now being used at educational institutes to improve students’ learning skills and enhance their retention. It is also established that video games play a constructive role in improving skills like communication, collaboration and problem-solving, etc., in players.
Impact of video games on the human brain
Recent studies by scientists have suggested how video games shape the human brain.
For example, research suggests that playing video games can improve the brain’s regions responsible for visuospatial skills and attention and increase their efficiency.
Several studies have explored how brain regions are associated with the reward system and how the reward system in video games can improve the human brain.
In a review titled ‘Neural Basis of Video Gaming: A Systematic Review’ published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the researchers wanted to find common trends that have emerged from the research on the effects of video games on the structure and activity of our brains.
The gathered results of 116 studies found that the results of these studies have shown how playing game affects our brain. For example, some studies found that playing games improve our attention span.
They also found evidence suggesting video games can increase the efficiency of brain regions related to visuospatial skills.
Gamers of all ages
Today, video games are no more for kids only. Actually, you would be surprised to know that the average age of a gamer is 34. If we break this number down in terms of gender, the average age of a female gamer is 36, while it is 34 for male gamers.
The last few years have been nothing short of a renaissance in video game design. Games are no more marketed as loud, brash, and arcane. The democratization of game design has brought in new genres and ideas. Thus, more adults are inclining towards them.
It turns out there are solid reasons for it. According to ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis, “Americans play video games to have fun, relieve stress, learn, and spend time with family.”
Most adults play games on their mobile phones. It is an essential way for them to relieve stress, and they enjoy doing it. Online gaming platforms like Unlimited Gamez Mo bring games from a wide variety of genres in one place. Gamers can easily play these games on their smartphone and tablets and have all the fun.
Video games increase the brain’s gray matter
A study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine identified that playing video gaming increases the brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation, strategic planning, and motor skills.
In this experiment, a control group was asked to play Super Mario for 30 minutes a day for two months. Another control group did not play the game. The MRI results showed the control group that played a video game has increased grey matter.
This brain region is responsible for spatial navigation, strategic planning, memory formation, and fine motor skills of the hands.
Improves the working capabilities of the brain
Studies show that playing video games, mainly action games, enhances the visual capabilities of the players. They can track multiple objects, store them in the memory centers of their brains, and even manipulate them.
For these games, the player has to think of the overall strategy, simultaneously perform several tasks, and make quick decisions that have both an immediate and long-term impact.
Experts suggest that players who play these kinds of games are better at multi-tasking. They are better equipped to switch between tasks easily, adapt to new information, and alter their strategy according to new input.
Video games help with real-world problem-solving.
Games are an imaginary world where players solve problems and overcome obstacles to win. Naturally, video games teach problem-solving and strategy to players.
Take the example of Sims City. In this game, players plan an entire city from scratch and solve bundles of urban and administrative problems to make sure that their city thrives.
They must think ahead and consider all scenarios that might cause a problem, like how street planning will impact the city’s growth or what tax rate is perfect not to affect growth. They also learn about resource management and utilization.
All these scenarios teach them essential problem-solving and management skills which they can apply in real life.
Mental health benefits
There is ample research to point out that video game improves the functionality of the brain. But studies have found that games can also help deal with many mental health disorders like depression, ADHD, anxiety, and PTSD.
A 2020 study from Oxford University, which focused on players of Animal Crossing and plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, revealed that players who play more games report greater “wellbeing”.
Video games improve learning
Judy Wills M.D., a neurologist, educator, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), says, “In a way, the video game model is brilliant. It can feed information to the brain that maximizes learning.”
Video games can enhance visual perception, improve the ability to switch between tasks, and better information processing.
In video games, you are rewarded for your performance. When replicated in academia, this reward mechanism encourages students to improve performance and work harder for better results.
Several studies have identified the positive impacts video game have on people’s minds. But, every time such research comes out, people are surprised. It is mainly due to the negative stigma associated with games that make them unable to see beyond the core of action games.
There are 7 billion of us in this world, and among us, three billion play games. If 43% of people are doing something that only brings harm, the world would be more unsafe than it is today. So, we should shun the negativity and open our eyes to the glaring evidence that suggests gaming is not that bad.