Advantage of Playing Video Games
For quite some time now, the focus of discussion and studies about video games has been on the negative effects it brings to young people. Some studies point out that too much time devoted to playing video games can lead to violent behavior, decrease social interaction and poor performance in school (Schmitt, 2001). It could also entail health risks such as obesity, eye damage, and exposure to radiation. But recently, new studies show that playing video games do have advantages. Most of the successful and in-demand video games, according to Johnson (2005), are not about bloodshed but the interesting storyline. Prevalent games owe its popularity not just simply because it is difficult in terms of manual dexterity but because it is mentally challenging as well.
Improves Eye-hand Coordination
Eye-hand coordination is probably the most if not the only advantage that research has focused on. On a recent research study on surgeons and video games show astounding results! The study found out that video game can improve the surgeon’s hand-eye coordination which resulted to decrease the number of mistakes and performs a lot faster during surgery compared to surgeons who did not play video games. Surgeons who participated in the study were asked to play video game specifically developed for them as preparation for surgery for a minimum of three hours a week. Because video games require eye ‘alertness’, and finger movement-exercises through the analog stick to control the characters on the game, it developed the surgeons’ manual dexterity (Doll, 2009).
Improves Visual Recognition
In May 2003, the result of a study conducted by the University of Rochester confirms that video game players can sort out visual information faster than those people who do not play. The procedure of the study was to divide the participants into two groups; the researcher made one group of participants play Medal of Honor and the other group, Tetris. Medal of Honor is a role-playing game (RPG), base on World War III. Tetris, on the other hand, is the first bestseller video game that was invented. The results showed that the participants who played Medal of Honor were better and more accurate in quickly identifying shapes than the participants who played Tetris who only have to watch out for falling shapes(Lestch, 2007).
Another benefit of playing video games is it develops patience by postponing self-gratification or fulfillment until the player ultimately comes to complete or master the game. The Grand Theft Auto, for example, involves a system of characters that are needed to be navigated and mastered while the player picked up clues and detect patterns. The manual or walk-through that describes all aspects of playing the game is the length of a short novel. Yet with all its convoluted and complexity, the game is such a hit among the general players though it would require them to be ever so patient to learn each aspect of the game (Johnson, 2005).
Playing video games makes the player persevere to be able to learn a game, master a game and to finish a game. Patience and the perseverance to understand complex ideas combined with the need for manual dexterity and pattern recognition takes a lot of mental skills to achieve. Especially when it comes to role-playing games that require a balancing act of navigation, control, and quick thinking. Understanding a game is one thing, being competent in a game is another thing. Understanding requires patience while competence requires perseverance mainly because video games operate on the competence principle. This means that a player will not be able to move up a level or a stage in a game without first mastering specific or required skills. As the game progress, the complexity of the game deepens making it ever challenging to master. Moreover, Johnson (2005) reasons out that student succeeds in learning new ideas or subject matter when it keeps them ‘at the edge of their seats’. Like the way exercise keeps the body in shape, playing video games can help exercise the mind through the competence principle.
Video Games: Good or Bad
Do you think the advantage of playing video game outweighs the disadvantage?
Avenue for Learning
It is incorrect to stereotype all video games to suggests violence when only a small fraction of which do so. Particularly, video games are recently being used as a form of teaching material. Educational video games are effective teaching tools for developing various academic skills because it is engaging, interactive and fun. Specialized games are being developed to encourage or enhance various motor skills such as memory competence, deductive and inductive reasoning, problem-solving, pattern recognition, and map reading (Pratt, 2008).
The US army is a great illustration on how to maximize the advantage of playing video games as an avenue for learning when in 2002 they released a game called America’s Army that simulates soldier’s profile and occupational abilities. It furthers the use of video game when it was also utilized to assess the aptitude of candidate soldiers via making it a part of the enlistment process. It allows the recruit to submit their game scores to help evaluate if they have the right attributes for this noble profession (Johnson, 2005).
Avenue for Socialization
On the Article of Schmitt (2001) about playing video games, he emphasized that one of the negative effects of playing video games is that it lessens the opportunity for social interactions. I will disagree with his point because video games are a mode of entertainment that both children and adults can enjoy. It can promote communication between parents and children because they have something to talk about that they find interesting. It can also serve as a bonding activity for family and friends because it can be enjoyed by parents and children, relatives, friends, and colleagues.
For case in point, Professor Cassel bought a video game called Dance Dance Revolution for her class to observe the effects of technology on the student’s social behavior. It became such a hit and made her popular among the students because it grew to be an avenue for her and her class’ entertainment, a form of exercise and made them aware and updated of the latest trends in technology. It’s more than just a game; it is an outlet wherein the professor can be an effective educator by making use of all possible teaching materials. It became a socializing technique for the teacher to build or strengthen the relationship with his/her students. (Lestch, 2007).
On a research study done by Harvard Business School Press between hard-core gamers, occasional gamers, and non-gamers indicate that the “gaming population turned out to be consistently more social, more confident, and more comfortable solving problems creatively. They also showed no evidence of reduced attention spans compared with non-gamers” (Johnson, 2005).
Anything that is in excess— be it food, work, alcohol, et cetera is bad for our health even playing video games. Again I would like to emphasize the significance of moderation. First of all, it is the player’s responsibility to take control of the game and not the other way around. A specific time or schedule like all activities can help to ‘prevent’ addiction. In this manner, other important things are not neglected.
Doll, A. (2009). Do Videogames Improve Hand-Eye Coordination More Than Sports? Associated Content. Retrieved from <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1445882/do_videogames_improve_handeye_coordination.html>
Johnson, S. (2005). Your Brain on Video Games. Could they actually be good for you? Discover Magazine. Retrieved from <http://discovermagazine.com/2005/jul/brain-on-video-games/article_view?b_start:int=0&-C=>
Lestch, C. (2007). Game On: Professors Say Video Games Have Academic Advantages. The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved from <http://media.www.dailynorthwestern.com/media/storage/paper853/news/2007/10/15/Campus/Game-On.Professors.Say.Video.Games.Have.Academic.Advantages-3031964.shtml>
Pratt, B. (2008). The Advantages of Video Games. Articles Base. Retrieved from <http://www.articlesbase.com/web-hosting-articles/the-advantages-of-video-games-395921.html>