Park: Video Games Offer More Than A Break From Reality


By Chan Kyu

There are trending ideas that playing video games can have negative effects on individuals, such as increased aggression or antisocial behavior. This has caused a consideration in developing stricter regulations on playing video games. It seems that because so much attention has been focused on researching and attempting to restrict video games that the positive effects of playing video games have been largely overlooked or ignored when they are, in fact, beneficial to peoples’ health and behavior.

Learning from Failure

Everyone has failed at least once in their life. We are typically afraid to fail, especially in certain areas. The reality is that failure is important. It is often understood that without failure, it can be difficult to reach success. After all, failing means you’re trying. Many great men and women have failed but accomplished their goals in the end. Failure is important because we learn from our mistakes.

In many video games, you start out with more than one life. This tells you that failure is okay, even expected. A lot of video games play consists of failing to reach a goal or finish a level. This encourages persistence and sticking with problems. By playing games, we learn not to give up even if we fail to achieve goals the first, second and even third time. Maybe it’s easier to take risks in video games because they represent false realities, but there remains an important lesson in persevering through something difficult, achieving goals, feeling good about your efforts and being willing to do it all over again, even in real life.

Increasing Problem-solving Skills

RPG games, or “role-playing games,” are great for brain training. Games such as Call of Duty can improve your cognitive abilities more than games that are specifically designed to do so. Jane McGonigal, Director of Games Research and Development for the Institute of the Future, suggests that if you want to have fun and stimulate your mind, playing video games three times a week for a couple of minutes each time should do it. Most of the popular video games have some requirement for problem-solving or critical thinking involved in each stage. This encourages adaptability and cognitive flexibility for those playing, which are important skills to have.

Increasing Processing Speed

Being able to process information rapidly is important in many situations. However, fast decisions often lead to mistakes. Computer games require rapid reaction. Delays in responses result in deaths in games or failures to complete a level. Players are highly motivated to react with speed and accuracy to reduce the penalties they receive. This speed can be applied to various tasks, and after practice the increased speed does not lead to a decline in accuracy. Many gamers process and respond faster to stimuli in the real world as well, thanks to their dedicated hours in front of a screen where they minimize inaccuracies when performing tasks.

These positive effects show that video games have a positive place in our society. Understanding these possibilities can influence real-world policy-making to show proof to parents and educational institutions that stricter regulations on video games may be unnecessary, even concerning more violent games. More in-depth research is necessary to show more accurately solidify these benefits, but it seems fair to say that it is possible for games to have positive effects on individuals.

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