Video gaming is a billion-dollar industry alone in the US. The esports market is thriving from past one-decade, thanks to faster internet connections and better smartphones. Most people now like to play games in their free time because it is a lot easier. Simply swipe, click, and start playing. That’s how easy games have become.
This has also led to an increase in the number of game developers who are ever ready to make more games that they can monetize and profit from. Most games available online now have in-app purchases that allow the developers to offer free games with premium services that can earn them money on the side.
But since gaming is increasing at a tremendous rate, it is important to understand what benefit it has on people.
In this article, we will discuss how online gaming can help you become a better person; how it can improve your brain functions and overall sanity. We will be using facts to support our argument. So, keep reading.
Can Games Improve Mental Health? Let’s Check the Facts
- According to a study by Frontiers in Psychology, video gameplay can enhance life satisfaction and mental well being of the player. It also inculcates positive emotions, improves relationships, and help people accomplish difficult tasks in real life.
- As per an investigation by Patient info, intrinsically motivating games can seriously encourage the players to pursue their goals. They can also help with stress and provide a better way to express one’s emotions.
- NCBI states that gaming can help ease suffering, cope with negativity, improve self-esteem, provide solitude, and deal with poor school performance. It has also been found to help with social relationship building and provide other positive effects in life.
- According to BBC, video games are a support tool for people in difficult times that ease their suffering and offer them an isolated place to re-evaluate themselves. It helps control aggression and rage.
Types of Games That Improve Mental Health
There are different variety of games available from logical, puzzle, to action and adventure. Each game provides a different way to cope with our daily busy routines.
Logic and Puzzle games
It is a proven fact that logic and puzzle games have a direct effect on how we learn and unlearn things. Math improvement games like Sudoku and logic games like Chess can be of great help to people who are weak in any of these two subjects. Moreover, they increase spontaneity and improve self-esteem.
Let’s look at it this way. On the primary level, when you are playing online video games, your brain is occupied and is growing. As you reckon how a game works and complete puzzles, you are making new connections in your mind. The researchers at the National Institutes of Health recommend that older adults should try cognitive stimulating exercises such as solving crossword puzzles and playing cards. This is because of the benefits of cognitive training for older adults last for long.
Action and Adventure
These games are focused on helping people find solace and isolated places where they can re-energize. Most action and adventure games are played by people who are either introverts or have a messed-up childhood. These action-adventure games directly influence their behavior and, in most cases, help them get back in life.
Some action games have been blamed for aggression, terrorism, and other ill-activities, but there is no proof to claim that action games can be harmful to anyone. The opposite has been seen in studies conducted by experts.
Games like Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, and PUBG offer people a more rational way of thinking about their surroundings, helping them understand what and when to take certain actions. In some ways, they offer more situational awareness than what people can learn in real-life situations. A study by the University of Rochester claims that gamers who are into action games can make accurate choices more quickly as compared to non-gamers or those who prefer slow-paced video games.
Strategy & Planning
Then there are games like strategy and planning that help people learn about how to make plans for themselves and their projects. People who are great at games like Chess have been found to take better decisions than others by learning about all the consequences. The American Psychological Association states that adolescents who play strategy video games have improved problem-solving abilities along with better grades in school.
Games like World of WarCraft, Stronghold Crusaders, Red Alert, and Tiberius wars are played on a national level. EA sports conduct an annual league of DOTA where millions of dollars are given to the players. So, in a way, these games have not only become a way to help cope with anxiety and aggression, but they are now the livelihood of many people connected to video gaming.
What Mental skills do these Games Develop?
Experts have provided a list of areas that video games directly target. Here are the top areas provided on the list.
Cognition & Mental Awareness
Perception and understanding of a situation are one of the first things that a person should learn about. That’s what most video games provide. When users emerge in a new map such as Counter-Strike or PUBG, they are not aware of how many enemies are around them. These games prepare them for such circumstances by adapting whatever is offered to them. In most cases, they can’t adapt to the scenarios offered, so they improvise.
Attention and Focus
Logic and puzzle games increase the attention span of users. Most people have attention deficiency in which they can’t work on a single problem for long hours because they either get tired or anxious. By playing attention focused games, they are more likely to enhance their concentration. They can then work on a problem properly without deviating from it due to distractions. In a sense, attention and focus games improve user productivity.
Similarly, playing online games improve visuospatial skills that we use in our regular life. For example, parking and restaurant management games can help learn how and when the dishes will arrive. Similarly, games like Zero Collision by unlimited Gamez mo help in being mindful of the opposing cars and other surroundings.
Most online video games even provide driving kits, boxing kits, and other sports equipment that mimic the real-world scenario, helping children learn about them faster.
Should You Play Video Games?
Video games are not hurting anyone. So, if you are bored and have nothing important to do, playing a logic or puzzle game will be a lot more beneficial to you than staying idle. Looking at the number of advantages, it’s advisable to make playing online games a part of your routine. You just need to set a limit to the type and tenure that you put into playing, and the benefits are all yours.
We hope you are now aware of how online video games can help enhance mental well-being. With that said, there is still a lot more research needed on the subject, and so it would be too soon to declare anything in favor or against them.
But one thing is for sure. Playing online games are here to stay! So the faster we get accustomed to them and use them for our benefit, the better.