Video games are best known for their fun, but that’s not all they offer.
Think of how puzzles keep the mind sharp and how fast experienced players of table football are. In the same way, video games can build on different skills, even more so for dedicated players. The surprise on non-gamers’ faces never grows old when they learn about the mental, emotional and physical gifts of this hugely popular yet still undermined choice of entertainment. Enjoy a detailed list of exactly what video games can do for their loyal fans.
Slots and Plots
Puzzle games may not be as moving or inspiring as other genres, but titles such as Tetris, Candy Crush and Minesweeper train mental qualities instead. Observation, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, not to mention emotional control are all applied to the simplest puzzle game. However, the true challenge is in mastering a game like Riven (1997). A notepad on the side is actually advised as every beautiful landscape contains details – shapes, sounds, creatures – some of which you won’t realise are important until later in the game.
There are some games that are inspired by puzzle games in terms of theme but test other skills, with people who play Starburst online developing monetary skills. Bankroll management and budgeting are just two of the skills that are required for this colourful slot game.
The best video games today make the experience more intense by including moral choices that direct the plot, outcome and character development. These decisions can range from giving a beggar some money to sacrificing NPCs either to gain special attributes or to simply continue the main quest. BioShock (2007), The Walking Dead (2012) and the Mass Effect series are titles that stand out for their developers’ efforts in immersing players into deeply complex storylines that make them question their own morality. Designing a video game can now follow the same process as writing a book. How do I represent this? How do I make players invest emotionally?
Action and Reaction
eSports champions are a good example of expert gamer hand-eye coordination. Competitive games like Counter-Strike demand quick and precise reactions to survive, let alone win, the extreme situations players face. These pros even use specific games to keep their reflexes sharp. Overwatch League’s Hyeon Hwang, aka EFFECT, plays osu! for an hour before a match to make sure his hands are warmed up and ready for action. This particular title, involving pinpoint tapping to the rhythm of a song, recently had its 1,000-point record broken by two players. No mean feat. A high score like this needs hundreds of precise hand motions to tracks that could reach seven minutes in length.
The knowledge you can absorb while playing is the most impressive gift games can give. There’s a title, Typing of the Dead: Overkill (2013), that has you fight off zombies by quickly and accurately typing out prompts. The Redstone mineral in Minecraft can be used to power devices, but only by understanding how to work with its current. In addition to electrical engineering and typewriting, gamers can learn anything between astronomy, rocket science and battle strategies through games like EVE Online (2003) and Kerbal Space Program (2011).
These are only the tip of the skillsets video games can build, but more than enough to defend their value.