Advantages of Video Games on Our Brains
Video Games Can Produce Positive Effects on the Brain
I live near Blizzard headquarters in Irvine, California and recently met a pleasant, well-spoken and obviously intelligent young man who works there. When I asked what he does for the company he said, "I work in quality control. In other words, I play video games and make sure they work correctly." I told him that teenagers around the world would love his job, and he simply smiled.
To be honest, I have never been a big fan of video games even though, according to statistics released by the consumer research firm the NPD Group, two out of three people living in the United States play them. In addition, 95 percent of Americans under the age of 20 play video games. With so many people engrossed in these games, I was concerned that they could be causing a decline in our ability to think. As I have recently learned, my preconceived opinion couldn't have been further from the truth!
Shortly after my encounter with the Blizzard employee, I read an intriguing article by Amy Wilson, a writer for the Orange County Register. It was entitled "The Wisdom of Being Wired." The case she made for the educational value of popular video games, like StarCraft, has had a significant impact on the way I view these games. StarCraft, I soon learned, is one of the more popular games created by Blizzard. It is also an example of one of the many games that require higher level thinking in order for a player to have a chance of winning. In addition, players develop a number of skills that have educational value, without realizing that they are actually getting a useful education that could help them in a variety of careers later in life.
If you want to learn more about these games, and read reviews of them, you can use this direct link to StarCraft games from Amazon.com.
According to Ms. Wilson's article, people playing StarCraft must have complex problem solving abilities, be able to make decisions and implement them at the rate of five actions a second, and have an unconscious understanding of economics and higher math, including differential equations, linear algebra, analytic geometry, and calculus. Phew! That's a lot of knowledge involved in just playing a game!
In fact, a sidebar to the article also mentioned how the highly esteemed University of California at Berkeley has offered a course of study using StarCraft. The preprequisites for taking the class included several math and economic classes.
(Photo of StarCraft cover courtesy of Amazon.com.)
Examples of Some of the StarCraft Games Offered by Amazon.com
Before we move on to discussing some of the other mental advantages to playing video games, I wanted to show readers a few examples of these highly rated games.
To get more details about any of them, click on the blue product name and you will be taken directly to Amazon where you can read the reviews and find out more details, such as the specific game console needed to play that particular version of the game.
Here is the Heart of the Swarm Expansion Pack for StarCraft II.
This is the original StarCraft game. Make sure you click on the blue product name to be certain that you have the right gaming console to play this version. If not, you can enter your own search criteria to find the right version for your equipment.
If you are a fan of StarCraft, you may love having this collector's edition. This is a great gift for your favorite gamer, too!
Advantages of Playing Video Games to Problem Solve
One of the skills you can learn from playing video games is the ability to develop problem solving skills. For example, people who play StarCraft frequently communicate online to try to solve the intricacies of the game and share what they have learned with each other. This increases the knowledge and skill of all the players involved in these collaborations.
In another example, an online puzzle video game named Foldit dealt with protein folding. It was developed by the University of Washington and it eventually went viral. People who played the game helped decode the structures of a variety of proteins, including the one that causes AIDS. In real life, geneticists used similar techniques to pool their knowledge and map the human genome. In other words, many real life scientists have honed their crowd-sourcing and technical skills by playing video games when they were young.
Playing video games is not just the way to learn how to become a video game designer, as I once thought. Instead, the same research techniques can translate into becoming a better scientist, architect, physician, engineer or mathematician. Playing one of these games is actually just a way of learning how to solve an ever more complex series of problems, and that is great for our brains. In addition, more and more researchers, from highly recognized schools such as those in the University of California system as well as the University of Rochester in New York and Michigan State University, are validating the benefits of playing these games. In fact, not only do these games improve cognitive skills, but they also appear to have the ability to enhance a child's creativity.
While you may still not want to let your child play so many video games that they never get outside to play, allowing them a reasonable amount of time to play these games may actually increase their ability to grow up and have a successful career in a variety of occupations.
A Variety of Video Games and Consoles for Your Enjoyment
There are thousands of video games that may interest the gamers in your family. If you are interested in looking for a specific game, you can enter your own search criteria by using the direct link to Amazon at the top of this page.
In addition, if you need a new gaming console in order to play your favorite games, Amazon sells those, too. See some popular choices below:
Xbox is another gaming system that has its fans. If you need a new one, be sure to click on the blue product box above and read the reviews and specifications.
This Wii console is a great way for your family to play video games while stying fit and active. Again, click on the blue product name above in order to learn more.
Here is the popular Nintendo video game console. Fun for the whole family! Don't forget you can click on the product name if you want to read more about the Nintendo, including customer reviews.
Share Your Opinion About Playing Video Games
Do you agree that it is good for our brains to play video games?
Buy Video Games on eBay
One place to find video games, often at a discount, is on eBay. Check out what they have available right now!
Last updated on August 7, 2014
You can help the HubPages community highlight top quality content by ranking this article up or down.