Video games are good for increasing memory, skills, coordination


Ethan Nguyen

Juniors Jackson Freeman and Daniel Restrepo play games at an arcade in Branson, MO on the orchestra trip. (photo by Ethan Nguyen)

Ethan Nguyen, Staff Writer

    The negative effects of video games generally result only from playing them excessively, and can have positive effects on the human mind by increasing a person’s mental capacity and treating mental illness.

   Video games are great for improving skills that are essential for learning and increase memory, self-control and coordination.

    For example, popular games today consist of Fortnite, League of Legends and an abundance of other games. Both of these games require quick decision making and analyzing complex situations in order to be successful. Through practicing a video game, gamers can learn new things that are beneficial, such as cognitive skills.

    Daphne Bavelier, a research professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, said that gamers become better learners by playing fast-paced action games. They excel at learning because games, like Call of Duty, sharpen prediction skills and ability to find patterns quickly.

    Video games are useful for teaching people to learn quicker, but they can also translate rewards in a video game to rewards in real life. They teach people that hard work can eventually lead to success.

    In a study by Vikranth Bejjanki, a researcher of psychology in the National Academy of Sciences, video games can be used to help set goals and practice working towards them. Their appeal is the ‘reward system’ that provides instant feedback once the player achieves them. This reward system corroborates with setting life goals and accomplishing them.

    In the same study by Bejjanki, he said that video games are interactive and allow opportunities to develop transferable skills. For example, pilots learn to fly airplanes by using video game simulations.

    SPARX, a video game designed to treat depressed teenagers, is an acronym that stands for “smart, positive, active, realistic and x-factor thoughts.” The game was used for a study including 168 adolescents with an average age of 15 that struggled with depression, reported by HuffPost.

    Half of the kids were assigned to one-on-one counseling over five sessions while the other half played SPARX. About 44 percent of the patients who played SPARX had recovered completely from depression. Only 26 percent of the counseled subjects were no longer depressed.

    Video games have progressed alongside those who play them and continue to challenge and provide enjoyment to their audience. Games like Pacman evolving into games like Fallout 4 shows an increase of the skill that it takes to play them. Video games are a fantastic tool of scientific development that increase intelligence and should be recognized as such.