Video games can seem elusive to some people, particularly those who feel it offers too steep a learning curve. It’s not uncommon for someone to come across a gamer engrossed in a screen, only to stare at it with a bit of contempt at the perceived convolution. Role-playing games can seem deceptively difficult, but they ultimately only require a relatively short amount of time investment before a novice gamer becomes acclimated to the controls and stat-based game play.
Of course, some people don’t like games merely because they find them too childish or useless. While it’s true that video games can certainly sap an individual’s time, it’s unfair to suggest they don’t offer any merit or substance. In fact, there are many games that feature sprawling stories, vivid characterizations, inspiring visuals and orchestrated music that can rival other forms of entertainment by leaps and bounds.
Video games aren’t just a time waster either, they can also help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, which can be especially helpful to those struggling with mood disorders and other mental health problems. Video games also have the power to teach. A recent study conducted by Brown University aimed to find the key behind video game related skills and how this information may be applied to environments outside the virtual world.
First-person shooters were used in the study, including Halo: Reach and Starcraft 2. These games are based on real-time action and players need to have quick reflexes. Even players who are quite experienced can have trouble going head to head against the most elite players.
The study found that the most skilled players didn’t dedicate their every waking second to playing the game at all. In fact, data suggests that those who play twice as often are likely to be less skilled. The results of the study concluded that a methodical, yet moderate approach to the game would net the highest rate of skill.
This study seems to indicate that video games can be an interesting tool to help people understand other avenues of thought and discipline. Whether it’s breaking the cycle of anxiety, broadening artistic horizons or understanding skill acquisition, games seem to have more importance than their reputation would dictate.