Top 3 Reasons why Video Games are good for you

When people talk about video games, they emphasize bad things such as “video games are violent” or they may say that video games are for kids or that they are time-wasters.

I think there’s more to video games than them being “time-wasters” or not. You cannot say about movies that all movies are bad. Some are masterpieces and some are used as mediums for the producers to depict ideas and illustrate human traits. Other movies use comedy or drama to get the viewer more and more involved into the story. …some movies are bad, or at least I didn’t like them. It depends on the movie and it depends on the viewer. Some movies may “speak” to some people (as the saying goes) while not relating to others…

It goes the same for books. There are some life-changing books out there. But of course, it is up to the reader to understand the message of the author and to draw his/her own conclusions. Each person is different, so each is going to finish the same book with a different opinion on it.

But books differ from movies in the fact that the reader/viewer is being told a story differently and is being stimulated differently. Movies are visual and quite strict. When you watch a movie, you know exactly what the actor looks like, how he talks, what he wears, etc.

By reading books, you have more freedom for your imagination to shape and construct characters and places as you will. They are totally different mediums of interacting with the consumer.

There is also theater, which is kind of like movies, although it has it’s perks.

However, in this article I’m going to discuss video games.

Video games are an artistic form of expression. Some video games are more cinematic than the term “game” would lead one to believe. Like the games made by Tell Tale, in which you, the player, control how the story goes and what the characters say. There are games on the other side of the spectrum, the ones that are all about “game” and “play”. Like shooting games or strategy games. Action games fit into this category as well.

Video games, in general, have some perks that movies and books lack, and that is the multitude of ways in which a player can play the game in his own style and input his own choices and preferences in his play-style. (kind of like how books give the readers more freedom in imagining what their characters look like)

But the main specific and unique thing about the video game is that it immerses the consumer into a world in which he/she has an influence and everything he does and chooses directly affect the outcome of the game. It’s more life-like in that sense.

So here are my top 3 reasons why playing video games is good for you:

1. It Forces you to Manage Your Time

You can waste time with any activity. Even lying in bed too much is counter productive and might not be healthy. Video games are indeed one of the things with which people lose a lot of their time which could’ve been used for something more meaningful to them.

But if you don’t abuse your time and keep to a schedule, then you should be OK. Most people that don’t play video games say that they don’t have free time. I’m not saying that people SHOULD play video games (if they don’t want to). But I am saying that people should make time for things that are important for them. Learning new skills, reading, a side-business, a hobby, keeping in touch with family, whatever it may be…

Time management is important. It’s not always pleasant, but it provides results and personal growth. And that is important.

Time management can be learnt only by actually managing your time and finding out what works best for you. And using a fun, instant gratification activity that builds up in skills and in-game levels (usually) such as a video game is a good method to improve in your personal time-management as any other option.

2. It Stimulates Critical Thinking

“Critical thinking = the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.” -Google

Critical thinking is thinking outside of the box. In video games when you get stuck and can’t beat an enemy or can’t find the correct way further in the game, you have to persist and try alternatives.

You stick with the problem and try again… and again… and then try something new, until you manage to progress. Just like in life. Sometimes you might give up and try to find the answer on the internet or watch a gameplay video on YouTube to find the way further (that’s what I do when I get stuck). But even then, you learn something that you did not know before and it will surely be helpful further in the game.

In strategy games, you might be trying different approaches to managing your resources and armies, or you might experiment with different ways of building your city. Or, in action games, you could be sharpening you reaction times and reflexes. Or using your focus and widening your attention span.

3. The feeling of becoming better at something

This one is what made me write this article.

There’s something special in feeling how you get better at something that previously was hard. And now it isn’t as hard as it felt last time. All of a sudden difficult tasks that seemed impossible to tackle are now achievable and don’t feel as threatening as they did.

And the best part is that the only thing that changed is your brain. It’s you that improved, not your in-game character, not his level, not the game. You go through the experience of improving yourself through this video and you feel unstoppable. You may think, that it could have been any other skill. It could have been money skills, business skills, social skills, computer skills. Any skill at all can be improved and harnessed if given the time and dedication, and this video game is standing as proof. And now, you know the formula as well… Practice something that intrigues you, that immerses you, that you want to achieve and finish even when the going gets tough and you feel annoyed and overwhelmed (like it is with many video games). And you know what it is that made you go further: the fascinating story, the characters, the gameplay, the art, the atmosphere or simply the drive to progress further.

Conclusion

People have been playing games since forever. Children play games without being told by anybody. It is something natural for humans to exercise their skills in a parallel world, with no real-life consequences, with the purpose of self-improvement and experimentation.

Animals do it as well. Dogs fight each other in a playful manner (and lions do this). At one point, for some animals, playing was the only way of gaining experience and could have meant the difference between life and death.

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Iustin Ghergu

Iustin Ghergu

I write about Future Tech and Society🤖⚡ Twitter: @Iustin_G