Many people have been criticizing video games for a long time for one reason or another. Video games are huge cultural institutions now, and yet many cultural commentators still refuse to acknowledge any of the 6 positive effects of video games in anyone. However, since video games have been around for so long, many of the positive effects of video games come with documentation attached, which makes it that much harder for the detractors to make arguments against them in this day and age. Almost all forms of new media went through a phase in which the detractors swore up and down that they would manage to destroy society, and those forms of new media became old media that were soon accepted by nearly everyone. Video games are now going through the exact same process.
#1 – Better Problem Solving Skills
The people who have to learn how to play video games are going to need to develop more advanced problem solving skills in many cases just to play the games. Video games will present complex new situations for the people who are playing them. In many cases, there is not going to be some predetermined set of rules involved when it comes to figuring out how to get out of a tight space. The people involved are just going to have to rely on their own brains, which is ultimately going to promote the development of better problem solving skills.
#2 – Better Improvisational Abilities
Video games demand very specific sorts of intellectual skills. One of the most important intellectual skills involved with video games is the ability to think on one’s feet. People can use different strategies in order to win at video games, but in many cases, they’re going to have to cope with all sorts of unexpected obstacles. Their responses to those obstacles are going to make all the difference, and that is where the ability to improvise comes into play. Being able to think quickly and develop strategies quickly can make all the difference in terms of whether or not someone is going to win at a particular video game. As such, the more people play video games in the first place, the more they’re going to be able to succeed at improvisation.
#3 – Better Storytelling Skills
Video games have changed quite a lot in recent years. Many of them have now become part of very complex narrative arcs. The people who are playing video games are no longer just going through the motions of a game. They are now bringing specific characters to life in a way that will allow them to more or less complete a story. People who embody these characters and these roles are bringing a story to life, and in many cases, this is going to inform their choices as game players. While playing video games is not an exercise in storytelling to the same extent as role playing, it still manages to fall into that category. Naturally, the people who design and create video games in the first place are going to develop and improve when it comes to their own storytelling skills. There are more opportunities for everyone to get involved in the video gaming world in a world where the freelance designer has arrived on the scene, which should make it that much easier for people to use video games for their own self-education.
#4 – Opportunities for Bonding and Socializing
While video games are extremely competitive and lots of people get very emotional about their results, they can also present all sorts of great opportunities for bonding. Plenty of people get together specifically to play video games, which can make them the foundations of friendships that can really develop into something more. The act of playing video games in its own right is more social than a lot of people believe today, particularly older people. All games are competitive to one degree or another. Physical outdoor sports are certainly competitive, and yet people have been able to bond over those for years. Video games are the same. The extreme entertainment value of video games in their own right really cannot be dismissed, even though many of the detractors have tried to do that for a long time. However, the social and personal benefits of video games only manage to add another layer of appeal in that regard.
#5 – Shared Cultural History
People from all across society can discuss characters like Mario. The extreme popularity of video games has managed to create a shared cultural history that now manages to span generations. People who were born decades after video games of certain generations can now enjoy playing them. Individuals who have been playing video games for decades can try the new ones and feel more connected to the young people of the day. There is a certain value in the creation of nearly any sort of media that has managed to have such a broad appeal, since it can be used to unite disparate groups of people as opposed to dividing them. Video games were once the domain of young boys. Today, the gender divide and the age divide have disappeared, since these divides were completely artificial to begin with, given the broad appeal of video games.
#6 – Improved Hand-Eye Coordination
Few people are going to be as dedicated to hand-eye coordination exercises as the fans of video games, who are often in a position in which they’re going to be playing their games for a long period of time. Video game players learn to react to everything on screen very quickly and easily, making it that much easier for them to get the different parts of their body in sync in a way that would be very difficult otherwise. Video games are now used in formal training exercises in order to give people better hand-eye coordination. They can certainly help give people the same advantage casually. Even learning how to use the controls of video games requires advanced hand-eye coordination skills, as well as excellent fine motor skills.