What playing games can do for your brainBy Angelica Malin
There are some who think that games are little more than entertainment, ways of passing time when we’re bored or looking for something to do, that don’t actually contribute anything to our everyday lives. Nevertheless, there is growing understanding and appreciation that games can actually improve our health and wellbeing, especially when it comes to the functions of our brains.
What’s more, extensive research has shown that games can be excellent learning tools. Multiple brain functions can be improved and enhanced in young people, allowing them to improve their skills in an increasingly digital world. Likewise, studies have discovered that elderly gamers can benefit by keeping their minds active, using games as a tool that can help preserve mental activities and functions, as our bodies and brains gradually deteriorate.
Action games can improve multiple brain functions
There’s actually strong scientific evidence to support this, which is why games that simulate certain activities and environments are even commonly used by different branches of the United States military. Front-line soldiers can learn observational and tactical skills, while spatial and environmental awareness is also improved by playing first-person shooters. Pilots can learn to master highly technical control systems using flight simulators, vastly increasing hand-eye capabilities, and reaction times.
Virtual warfare simulations have become highly valuable as training tools, which has led to numerous studies and books being published on the subject. Indeed, the Pentagon has even invested millions of dollars and supported the production of commercially released action games, then utilised them within their own military training programmes, given the many benefits that have been observed.
Motor skills are greatly enhanced while playing action games, due to the hand-eye coordination required. Spatial awareness can also be enhanced by exploring and interacting with virtual reality environments, leading to better judgements being transferred to corresponding real-world activities. Action games that incorporate strategic and tactical elements can improve logical thinking and deduction skills, which can enhance critical decision-making and speed of thought.
Slot games can both challenge and soothe our minds
Amongst the extensive studies into maintaining and enhancing brain functions, many have found that gambling can help to keep the mind active and stimulated, not to mention entertained and relaxed. Popular casino games often require a considerable amount of concentration on the part of those participating, which leads to us forming strategies or making numerous calculations. Such activities are proven to help both long and short-term memory retention.
Given that gaming sites are constantly evolving and updating what they offer, researching online casino reviews can help choose amongst the plethora of options available, detailing the latest trending games and bonus offers available. Players who gamble responsibly frequently play video slots for entertainment, increasingly leaning towards video slots that stimulate their senses.
For this reason, casino software developers have made slots that are much more than just spinning reels. There are now games based around music and movies, art and literature, history and culture, plus many more themes and genres of interest. Given that gaming sites are constantly evolving and updating what they offer, researching online casino reviews can help choose amongst the plethora of options available, detailing the latest trending slot games and bonus offers available.
Social gaming can improve our sense of community
Long gone is the belief that gamers are socially insecure individuals. Thanks to technological advances that have brought us high-speed internet connections, and an amazing array of mobile communication platforms, the whole world has opened up in ways that we never could have predicted just a few decades ago. Indeed, we can now chat and play games with someone on the other side of the globe, instantly, with just a simple push of the button or mouse click.
Such instantly available connectivity has vastly improved how we communicate and interact with people. That is never more evident that within the fantasy worlds of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), where entire communities have been forged. In fact, a scientific study published in 2007 found that when participating in MMORPGs, these virtual worlds allow players to completely remove the shackles of their real lives.
Players are more open to social interactions and find greater ease expressing themselves, all without the constraints of age, appearance, gender or even their sexuality. MMORPGs also encourage group activities and teamwork which, in turn, brings players an engaging sense of community participation and encouragement for their activities. This has actually led to people forging strong and lasting social relationships, both within the virtual worlds and beyond in real life.
Health mind, healthy body
The examples we’ve mentioned above demonstrate that beyond any shadow of doubt, games are much more than a digital medium which provides entertainment. They can teach us new skills and help us to maintain those we already know, keeping us active both mentally and physically as we age. They are an exciting and engaging way to preserve and polish all our faculties, not to mention a great way to explore new digital horizons and place ourselves within different social circles we might not have considered in the past.