Games: the good and the bad

It has always been a debate whether playing games is good for you. Since the conception of consoles, parents have been concerned about the negative effect that computer games have on their children. How to win the argument with your parents, at least getting them to let you have fun with games is easier than you think. There is a lot of research done by the psychologist to find out the impact of games on people, especially those who are still in school. Let’s face it, once we start working, the game time will be very limited.

There are many genres of games and sadly these arguments do not hold for some games that promote violence and aggressive behavior like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty. Studies have shown that violent games increase the tendency for aggressive behavior in children and adults, so those who like to play these games should limit their play time. For the average person who likes to play games, there are three good arguments.

Otherwise, positive studies have been done to show that games actually help people think. Role-playing games force people to plan and strategize while trying to complete missions. Without proper planning – leveling up skills, upgrading weapons, and establishing battle formations – it’s nearly impossible to win on certain missions and levels. Those who played Shadow of Colossus would remember the infuriating gameplay and the feeling of triumph every time a monster falls.

Games have gotten smarter as time goes by, artificial intelligence (AI) has improved so much that zombies can now run around and plan a massive attack. In Resident Evil 5, zombies are faster and can now wield weapons, instead of mindlessly crawling towards you, showing their bloody teeth. I still remember the terror I felt when Executioner Manjini jumped at me with the great ax, nails and hooks protruding from his back. Not only do you have to plan your character’s movements, you have to anticipate what the enemy will be doing, which is becoming more difficult every year.

This is true for me, at least. Players who play games that stimulate the mind: role-playing games, puzzles, fitness, and much more tend to have good reflexes. It is not easy to look at the screen for hidden treasures, to look at the map for potential enemies that cross some angle, to stock up quickly before a boss fight and not to develop a level of mental prowess. Workers can testify to some degree that multitasking is easier for a person who gambles. I keep playing Dr. Kawashima’s Brain and Body Exercises on my Xbox Kinect to help keep my brain in sync with the rest of me.

We love to play, playing is fun and technology has allowed us to play with people from all over the world without leaving our room. The benefits of the game, unfortunately, are not linked to the long hours we dedicate to it. Keeping playtime to a reasonable level ensures that we have a real life outside of virtual reality, which is important for functioning as a member of a community.