Games have always been stuck in an endless debate about whether they are a blessing or a curse. Whether they can be a tool to help us ascend to a higher level of awareness or condemn us to mindless violence and asocial behaviour.
The last few years more and more people have started to pick up the fight against the old stereotypes, showing that games can also really serve a public purpose and be of use beyond mere entertainment. Ronald Meeus published an article on HLN.be a fortnight ago to highlight five reasons why games can be good for you. Better yet, the author says that playing games should even be encouraged!
The five major benefits are:
- Eye-brain-hand coordination
You need to see, think and act all in the fraction of a second, training your coordination skills. This is also the case for non-puzzle games, even FPS titles train your reflexes.
- Management skills
An American pedagogue (James Paul Gee) discovered this over ten years ago: youngsters who spend their time on so called ‘useless games’ such as SimCity and other city/amusement park/restaurant/etc… management type games are actually managing a large amount of variables such as satisfaction, security, financial balance and more. All of these are mostly issues which they are not being taught how to deal with at school.
Games are (sometimes) challenging and force you to fall down and get back up several times before you succeed. Gaming is a perfect – and safe – way for you to explore different approaches and find out what works best.
- Study your surroundings and get to know the world
There are games who force you to look around and learn how the environment works. Games such as Civilization V show you how a civilization grows and what terrain can be used for different purposes. Another popular title is the Assassin’s Creed series in which you get a detailed – and historically correct – depiction of Rome, Firenze and other cities.
- Get social
More and more games are turning to the World Wide Web (most of us have dabbled with games such as World of Warcraft and Guild Wars) in which the players form a tight social network with friends and kindred spirits.