3 Games that make you smarter
Playing video games has been scientifically proven to improve one’s brain function. People around the world, regardless of age and gender, have undoubtedly grown fond of playing video games and use it as one of the primary forms of entertainment. In fact, Newzoo reports that there are 2.74 billion gamers around the world as per December 2019. This means that video games play a customary role in the everyday life for most of us. As such, it has been perceived as something that negatively affects not just an individual’s social facet but also as one that has a destructive impact in one’s cognitive and mental development. This demonization of video games has been widespread in social media and acts also as one contributing factor to the negative impression of some people to those who are keen on playing video games.
However, there are scientific studies that substantiate the positive impacts of video games on an individual’s cognitive development. One published journal entitled Frontiers in Human Neuroscience compiled 116 scientific studies that discussed the effects of video games on one’s brain structure. In this journal, the authors argued that a gamer’s brain is more likely to be efficient in sustaining attention than of those who are non-gamers. As a result, people who play video games exert less effort to activate their brains during arduous tasks. In addition, playing video games, according to scientific research and studies, increases the size and efficiency of brain regions associated with visuospatial skills that cause gamers to remain oriented and present with their surroundings even in real life.
There are various genres as well as the underlying nature of video games that are fairly well-known to the mass public. Since the people’s interests are relative, those that are common to the majority of consumers are puzzle games, role-playing games, and simulation games. Although these genres are different in nature, all of them contribute to the multiple developments of an individual’s cognitive skills. Below are some particular game titles from different genres that are proven to help awaken brain functions and eventually make you become smarter.
Players of action role-playing games take the role of a character in a typically fictional world. In this kind of game, a player takes full control of his character to pursue the goal of winning battles, accomplishing side quests amidst a chaotic setting, and surviving violent clashes. To be able to achieve these objectives, players are required to exercise efficiency in decision making and logical analysis within a pressured environment. In the Witcher 3, the player embarks on the role of the principal character, Geralt of Riva, the Witcher, in his journey to look for his missing daughter. The game has a non-linear, open adventure with tasks to accomplish such as fulfilling quests and fighting monsters. This leads to a player’s enhancement of eye-hand coordination, pliability, and fast decision-making skills. Plus with the character’s limited weapons and supplies, Witcher 3 teaches how to manage resources well.
Call of Duty
In first-person shooter games, it is vital for a player to keep an eye on the position of the opponent, his pace, the shooting point of a gun, among others. To gain an advantage over enemies, a player needs to think fast and coordinate his brain, hands, and eyes all at the same time. Playing first-person shooter games is proved to provide long-term learning benefits and strengthen spatial navigation, visual memory and sensitivity, logical reasoning, and other cognitive competencies. One popular example of first-person shooters is Call of Duty. A University of Rochester research team gathered college boys to play COD for 8 hours and found out that this game provides a better enhancement of visual perception and makes gamers perform better when assigned with real-life perceptual and cognitive tasks.
To be able to play puzzle games and fulfil the objectives needed to finish every level, players need to attain logical thinking and the ability to solve hurdles under extreme time pressure. One notable mobile game that falls under the puzzle genre is 2048, wherein the objective is to make two tiles of similar number, merge them until you reach the number 2048. Neurologist Dr Willis posits that 2048 is a dopamine booster and an effective way to reduce stress. By planning an effective move to make throughout the game, 2048 allows you to practice hypothesis testing and strengthen your memory and concentration.
A study published in the US National Library of Medicine about the systematic review of impacts of video games on the brain validates that 16 hours of playing video games per week should be the limit. By playing within the range of 1-16 hours, we gain positive outcomes in our brain structure and performance. While video games help in enhancing many cognitive abilities, it is important that playing is still regulated and in moderation. As the old proverb says, “Anything in excess is harmful.” We also need to get off our screens and engage in other physical activities that will improve not just our cognitive and mental skills but our physical and social wellbeing as well!