Long-Term-Benefits-Video-GamingVideo Games are often plagued with bad publicity for all kinds of reasons, from crime to health issues. The overall benefits of immersing yourself in a virtual world have been destabilised by the general public’s views on how video games can have potentially devastating effects on someone’s lifestyle, attitude and wellbeing. We thought it would be a good idea to try and identify some of the obvious benefits of video games to try and overshadow some of the other issues often debated about in the press. So here are some reasons why video games might actually be good for you in the long run.

The first argument that many younger people make when it comes to debating the physiological benefits of video gaming usually relates to the old hand-eye coordination improvements. Experts have actually looked to support this well-used argument and some have even gone as far as to promote the regular playing of video games to aid the general development of hand-eye coordination for certain sports and everyday activities. There are also believed to be many other skills enhanced by regularly sitting in front of the TV screen, although it’s important to remember that exercise away from the console is just as important.

Thanks to the ways in which online gaming has thrived, we have witnessed the sudden explosion of a whole new community and environment that has led to all kinds of benefits relating to the enhancement of social and team building skills. There’s no doubt that having such a wide open, ultimately unregulated environment to play games in will have its downside, but it’s difficult to ignore the benefits associated with creating online relationships and being able to play games with your fellow gaming enthusiasts. Some Video Gamers are often subjected to a restricted lifestyle in the real world, whether it’s feeling lonely at school or struggling to communicate on a similar level to others in their age group. Online gaming provides the platform that some individuals need to start communicating with confidence, leading to stronger people skills in the future.

If you’re one of many who feel that video games slow the general progression of a child’s education, there are some who are prepared to contest that opinion. In fact, many experts have already reached the conclusion that video games are capable of improving the academic skills of a child, whether it’s related to their English skills or their ability to work out challenging mathematical problems. Many games gradually become more challenging as you progress, leading to tougher problems to solve and faster attention to detail required. Many video game developers are aware of the importance of aiding the educational phase of a child’s life and therefore look to incorporate academic influences in their games, from problem and puzzle solving to tackling verbal interaction and communication barriers, such as in Lionheads ‘Fable’ or Nintendo’s ‘Zelda’.

Video Games are exceptionally popular amongst younger audiences and children, with weekends often filled with time in front of the computer. Whilst this might seem like something that could have damaging effects on general fitness and well being, there are times where video games are extremely beneficial to younger audiences. One of these situations is in hospitals, hospices and other places where children are ill, vulnerable or who have suffered from injury. Video games are capable of providing a new dimension for children to immerse themselves in, which has been proven to nullify the effects of pain and suffering. Children can forget about the stress and trauma of their everyday lives or subsequent injuries and focus on playing video games to get through the recovery period with ease.

Having the confidence to join in and start communicating more often with other peoples is just the beginning when it comes to computer games enhancing social skills. In fact, video games are even capable of boosting someone’s confidence to discuss real world matters, such as politics, government, history, psychology, science and various other popular topics that are regularly debated and publicised. With video games leaving the days of ‘Pac-Man’ and ‘Tetris’ behind, we are now being encouraged to explore worlds with stunning similarities to what we see every day, each incorporating various aspects of the real world that are widely debated and focused on, from government opinions and attitudes towards society to scientific developments and so on. Children can learn from their experiences in front of the screen to come to well-educated conclusions regarding various aspects of everyday life, forging their own valuable opinions for the future.

Inspiration is something that isn’t promoted enough with regards to video gaming. Whilst some video games are often criticised for their links to serious criminal activities such as murder and violence, there are many who have experienced video games and found hugely positive inspiration from them. Many avid video gamers have gone on to create their own video games or contribute significantly to the video gaming industry in some way, be it through video game development, artistic work, sound management or script writing. Thanks to some of the latest titles in the video gaming world, many people have found inspiration from the general meanings and storylines of some video games. ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’ is a game that focuses predominantly on the development of biotechnology and human augmentation technology, a real world issue that is likely to be debated in many years to come. Could games like this provide children with a platform to explore the world of science more seriously?

As you can see, there are many different ways in which video games can potentially have a positive effect on anyone who takes some time out to experience them. With so many different genres available to explore and such a wide range of developers competing for top spot, the next generation of gaming will only continue to grow. Therefore, it’s important for people to realise that there is more to a modern video game than just a simplistic concept and a few pixels on a screen. Who knows, you might be developing your skills more than you could ever imagine from a few hours in front of the computer. Ultimately, it’s something we feel should be embraced.

Mike James is a tech geek based in Sussex, UK. He has a passion for new software and technology and writes about tech issues for Technology Means Business, IT support providers with offices in Hampshire, Essex and Kent.