The Benefits of Video Games: An Education Tool and a Physical Trainer
It’s true that some games just don’t have a positive influence. I for one cannot comprehend how Grand Theft Auto could possibly influence anyone in any favorable way. Both the antagonists and protagonists are often in the wrong, and the drugs, sex, and other explicit material just aren’t meant for anyone without an already sound set of moral convictions. What about other games? Does an M rating always mean no good? The psychological, educational, and intellectualizing effects of games must be judged on a game-to-game basis.
Of course videogames have a psychological impact on a child. They have a psychological impact on everyone to some extent. But does it always have to be bad? Just because an antagonist may be insane, doesn’t mean he or she will always impact the individual directly. Sometimes the bad guy seeing the error of his ways is enough to convince someone to make the correct conclusion of right and wrong. Not all games are violent either, and even if they are, are they actually contributing to the individual becoming violent? In reality, violence is a part of being human. There is violence in sports, history, nature and even the Bible. To single out videogames for this reason is therefore somewhat impractical. A better approach would be to personally impart an understanding that violence isn’t cool or necessary. The only true means to hide a person from violence is to hide him or her from world.
The world must be embraced for educational purposes. One of the criticisms that videogames receive is that they “uneducate the youth.” I practically learned how to read thanks to Pokémon and Zelda. These games forced me to read in order to move on in the plot and they did so in an interactive fashion. Of course, I also give credit to other things for teaching me how to read, but this one cannot be overlooked. Some people claim that games also distract children from reading novels and motivate them to skip out on schoolwork. So does television and playing outside. It’s the parents’ job to make sure their little students are becoming well rounded and remain undistracted, and if the parent feels that a complete upbringing shouldn’t involve games, I suppose that’s their decision. Their kids might just be missing out. Videogames can even have a positive impact beyond simple education.
Intelligence Gained Through Gaming
Games such as Pokémon and Zelda help to build tactician and problem-solving skills. Without an inclination for team building and proper planning, there’s no way someone can become a Pokémon master. Likewise, it can take intensive thought to figure out how to take down the boss at the end of a temple or to deduce the order in which tiles must be stepped on in order to open a door as is the case in Zelda. Our culture sometimes embraces what we already know and neglects to impart the skills to create knowledge. Videogames can be some of the greatest educators in this respect.
Video Games That Are Created To Educate
In recent years, game developers have created games specifically for the purpose of improving mental processes. Even in the past, games like sudoku were released for certain platforms. Nintendo in specific has taken great measures to create a whole line of games that are "smart person" friendly. On their DS platform, Nintendo has created games such as Brain Age and Scripps Spelling Bee. Obviously, games are not only meant for pure entertainment unless those are the games being chosen.
Conclusion On Educational Benefits
As all decisions are rarely black and white, good or bad, neither are videogames. A great deal can be obtained by embracing the future, and videogames are a part of mankind’s future. Prejudicing all games is really just an exhibition of misguided ignorance for what is not entirely understood. A more level-headed approach would be to pick and choose the good and the bad.
Video games are great tools for training many physical traits as well. They won't make you look better (or will they?) but they can make a person more skilled. Video games can improve hand-eye coordination, reflexes and more recently, give you a good at home workout. They can even help to improve a person's voice, rhythm and balance!
Especially with inventions such as Wii sports and Xbox Kinect, video games improve hand-eye coordination. The benefits go all the way back to Duck Hunt. Even the standard shooter game helps with coordination. I can tell you that first hand. I've always played shooter games and the first time I went shooting, I was a natural bulls-eye. They had me aiming up shots while standing while everyone else had to use two sandbags. The avid hunter of the group glared every day I took that rifle class.
This one is a bit obvious. I can't count how many games demand proper timing and quick movements. That's because it's probably all of them, all the way back to Pong. Literally every shooter game requires a person to react almost instantaneously. Sports and race car games require immediate reactions as well. Dance Dance Revolution and other dancing games not only help to improve reflexes, but provide a decent workout as well.
I mentioned Dance Dance Revolution, but leaving it at that wouldn't give other games enough credit. Just Dance 1, 2 and 3 are also some popular games up there. You don't have to dance to get a workout either. Wii Sports and a whole plethora of Kinect games also help give a person a workout. Most of these games are so geared towards physical fitness that they have workout routines and even calorie counters. If its the winter season, you can't afford a gym membership or you know you won't get off the couch otherwise, I would strongly suggest video games as a way to get you active.
Games such as Sing Star and Rock Band can improve a person's voice. Not only do these games judge the voice in order to point out flaws in tone and other important singing attributes, but they also make a person use his or her singing muscles, thus strengthening them. This being the case, a singing game shows a person where he or she needs to improve while simultaneously helping him or her to be able to hit the right notes, hold a note for longer and sing with power!
Games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero also help to improve a person's rhythm (in obvious ways.) My personal favorite, Donkey Kong Konga, is quite literally all about rhythm. The controller is done away with in this game and the gamer actually uses electronic bongos to play. More recently the Wii has brought in some other rhythm games (if I didn't mention this a million times.) Still, the rhythmic benefits to video games cannot be dismissed.
Besides the balance improvements made from dancing games like DDR, the Wii has somewhat recently come out with an actual balance unit. That's right, they're doing this all on purpose. some Kinect games require a mimicing of movements as well, which sometimes include the necessity to stand on one leg or do something that requires some form of balance.
Video games have a ridiculous number of benefits. These are pretty much limitless as technology improves. Furthermore, I've only breached the surface here, without mentioning the stress relief involved in gaming (which is dependent on the person.)