The merits of gaming

Hey there guys and welcome to article numéro 2! In this article I’ll name and discuss the merits of gaming, some of which are very well known, but others might not be.

First of all, why this topic? Well, what prompted me to write an article about this was the bombing in the Russian airport a few weeks ago. Immediately after the fact fingers were being pointed towards the gaming industry for promoting violent behaviour. I’m sure you all remember one of the first missions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 where you were an undercover operative in a terrorist organisation. Basically, you pull out your machine gun and start mowing down people. Now I can see why this would prompt some reactions as this scene is fairly shocking but to say that violent games is a cause of terrorism or rape (not counting RapePlay) is going a bit too far.

In short, this article is to show that gaming has a truckload of benefits and advantages. So what do you think? Did I spike your interest? If so, keep on reading. If not, what the hell are you doing on this blog?! 

Alright let’s kick it off then. First off all, gaming improves human performance in general sensory and perceptual tasks, such as hand-to-eye co-ordination, as well as those involving a lot of attention. Unfortunately, this gain in performance is only for the task in which the video game trains you. For instance, if there’s a game where you have to dodge balls of fire as fast as possible, you will train yourself in doing this task faster and better.
 
Secondly, it has been proven by recent studies that gamers develop an enhanced sensitivity to what is going on around them. This may help people when driving, multitasking, keeping track of people in a crowd, etc. The consequence of this is that video gamers collect the data needed to make a decision a lot faster than people who don’t regularly play (fast-action) video games. This implies that the general reaction time of people will increase over the years as more and more households end up playing video games.
 
Thirdly, in ‘How the gamer generation is reshaping business forever’, a book written by researchers John Beck and Mitchell Wade, they write gamers are considerably more social, are more self-aware and more creative (+5-12%) than the non-gamer population. This has everything to do with how a game is played, and how it is designed. For instance, games can often be played with 2, 3, 4 or more people at the same time, and this is certainly true for MMO’s where thousands of people communicate, share ideas and solve problems.
 
The gaming generation learned to deal with risks and are constantly looking for new and exciting ways to challenge themselves. Next to that, they are used to facing problems and will not give up at the first sign of trouble. And last but not least, they are more flexible when it comes to change and viewing things in a broader perspective.
 
I should probably also note that gaming is a sort of exhaust valve for aggression, rather than a generator. Playing video games offers people a chance to get rid of their aggression in a virtual environment where it’s unlikely to hurt anyone. Before someone raises the arguement that gamers have trouble diversifying fiction from reality, I should note that this is not the case in your average Joe. Building further on that, it’s only an extremely small number of people who take guns to school to ‘re-enact’ a game or something they saw on television. But this is unrelated to the video games itself and cannot be proven at all. Hell, for all we know those people would turn out to be psychopaths regardless. 
 
Finally, gamers who play MMO’s learn to deal with other people, how to handle conflict situations, how to work together as a member of the team and how to face and overcome cultural differences, which is something that shouldn’t be ignored in these times where globalization is taking over the business world.
 
As you can see, gaming holds a large amount of benefits that can give you a slight edge over people who do not play video games. I’d certainly recommend mentioning it on your curriculum vitae, because it can be such an advantage when employers learn to use the, so far, untapped potential of the gaming generation.

/Niels

~ by Niels Van Hellemont on February 21, 2011.

6 Responses to “The merits of gaming”

  1. Nice one. Sadly, some people consider it logical that when we see violence, we'd act more violent. The same goes for other things as well, like sex. But hey, it's not because of that confrontation, it's about education. If you know how to deal with something you shouldn't do yourself, you won't do it. Normally, that is. :P

  2. Yeah, true there. Society has many such items like that. What's gets me is that it's usually the same type of people spitting out the same type of criticism, without providing any evidence at all, just like in the link in the post.

  3. Sadly, games will get the blame for a majority of issues across the world. I mean, FOXNEWS said Bulletstorm was the worst game ever made, or how Mexico has banned Call of Juarez: The Cartel before it has even been released. People need to place blame, games now, rap music before that, movies and then rock n roll. Human nature, go figure…

  4. Yeah, it's not getting any easier. I guess the game industry is just an easy target. And moreso, I think some people just need to chillax and realise that it's only just a game.

  5. 'Yeah, it's not getting any easier' –> Should've been 'not getting any better'

  6. [...] do have a lot of merits. I summed up several of these in one of my first articles I ever wrote (click here) but let’s take a look at one such advantages. I assume everyone is familiar with Brain [...]

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