Contrary to popular belief, video games 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 Training. For those of you who have not heard of it, here’s what wikipedia has to say:
Brain Age is designed to be played a little each day, similar to the Nintendogs titles and Animal Crossing: Wild World. The Nintendo DS is held on its side, with the touch screen on the right for right-handed people and the left for left-handed people. The game is entirely touch and voice-controlled – the player either writes the answer to the puzzle on the touch screen or speaks it into the microphone. Before the player can begin a Brain Age session, he or she must input information. First, players must confirm the date and select which hand they write with. The player then inputs his or her name and date of birth.
At the end of all Brain Age Check puzzles, Training puzzles, Quick Play puzzles, and Sudoku puzzles, the player is shown how quickly he or she completed it, the player’s speed (according to metaphors such as “bicycle speed” and “jet speed”, the highest being “rocket speed”), and a tip for either improving the player’s brain or a game-related tip. If the player’s time or score in Brain Age Check or Training is high enough, it will appear on one or both of the Top Three. The Top Three shown is the player’s own top three attempts at a puzzle, while he or she can also compare the top three with those of other saved players.
Brain Age features a variety of puzzles, including stroop tests, mathematical questions, and Sudoku puzzles, all designed to help keep certain parts of the brain active. It was included in the Touch! Generations series of video games, a series which features games for a more casual gaming audience.
Scientists have now claimed that video games that train the brain (just about any game really) can improve grades of kids within a couple of weeks. The newest research tested the effect of these games on 62 kids with an average age of 8 or 9 years. Half of them played a brain training game daily for about 15 minutes. On one test, the children were given a picture of a pond with a frog, who appeared for 3 seconds in one of 6 locations. Each time the frog appeared in the same place, the children had to push a number corresponding the amount of times the frog appeared in that location.
The other half of the test subjects used the time to test their common knowledge and vocabulary. Even 3 months after the training stopped, the students who played Brain Training still scored better on tests that require abstract thinking and problem solving skills.
These results show that making your brain work everyday can improve your overall intelligence. Brain Training has been promoted by Nintento as a way to stimulate the brain. Although some studies doubted if these games had any effect whatsoever. Professor Susanne Jaeggi had this to say: ‘Current results show that this effect lasts a while. The effectiveness of the training varies from child to child, and it does not work for every youngster.
For most of us gamers, these results are no real surprise as we’ve been saying this for years now. It is however nice to have some good news for once, rather than seeing new studies pop up claiming that video games are bad.
So my question to you is: Have you ever encountered situations where playing video games gave you an edge over someone else, and do you know of any more advantages to playing video games? Let me know in the comment section below!