Gaming – Not Just for Recreation – A Quick Look at the Power and Influence of Video Games

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Gaming – Not Just for Recreation – A Quick Look at the Power and Influence of Video Games

Gaming – Not Just for Recreation – A Quick Look at the Power and Influence of Video Games

Video games have always had a bit of a poor reputation, even when compared with other similar forms of entertainment like TV. “They rot your brain”, “what waste of time/money”, and “no wonder we have so much violence in our society”, are just some of the responses that you can see on any given day in response to a video game topic. But despite the bad rep, video games actually have a lot to show for themselves, and more so than just keeping you occupied.

Creating Communities

While gamers are not well known for crusading outside of their video games, but communities and events like Extra Life show that gaming can and does create communities of people willing to benefit society. For example, Extra Life raised 4 million dollars this year in support of the Children’s Miracle Network by playing games for 24 hours straight. The Super Mario Marathon raises money for Child’s Play. The Humble Bundle sells games with the proceeds going to charity, and buyers often spend upwards of ten times as much as the games are worth. Gaming communities that benefit society are not extremely well known, but there are dozens of them out there and they do a lot of good.

Increasing Cognitive Thinking

Some video games (like Farmville) aren’t extremely conductive to increasing cognitive thinking, others are. For example, Tetris has been proven on multiple occasions to actually increase thinking and concentration power, especially when played for thirty minutes a day. Gamers who play racing games have shown marked improvement in their driving skills, even after just 12 hours of total play time.


While we don’t always think of playing games as being creative, playing them gets the brain working to make the thousands of connections per second necessary to keep up with the game. Plots, story lines, and interesting scenarios, as well those that allow users to modify and create their own items, characters, or things increase creativity in people of all ages.


Responsiveness is not something that most people think of when hearing the word ‘video game’ but video games increase responsiveness in a multitude of ways. Not only do gamers learn to make decisions more quickly, they also learn to focus better, respond better to visual stimulus, and even improve their hand-eye co-ordination through video games. The eventual result is that many gamers become better drivers, learn to pay better attention, and even improve most motor skills.

Healthy And Happiness

Harvard research has proven that games can reduce stress, increase happiness, and even decrease chronic pain. Studies show that people with cataracts can improve their eyesight by playing first person video games that work to strengthen the eye muscles. Any video game requires a marked amount of attention, which distracts from stress and pain. Children who play games develop better decision making skills and often excel in school when game time is limited to an amount that also allows them to study. Most importantly, study after study shows that men and women who play games are often happier after playing, meaning that games can and do have a very positive impact.
A video game can be a waste of money to one person, or the cause of violence to another, but with more than 58% of Americans now playing games on consoles and computers, it’s clear that games are here to stay. Video games have a positive impact on the lives of millions of people, although some do take it to extreme. For the most part, video games are a harmless activity that help the people who play them.

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Proliferate writer, sesquipedalian, techie, Apple fangirl (don't judge),tree hugger, yogi, tea drinker, zombie hunter. Into philotherianism & philomathy. Love my job. Visit me on Google +

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