Nov

30

7 Ways Social Gaming Makes Planet YOU a Better Place!

Mark Stephens

We now know that gaming is good for you again, but what specifically can social gaming bring to planet YOU? How does it improve you? What skills does it bring? Does it make you a better person? Will it mean you do the washing up more often? Below are seven of the personal benefits you can receive from tapping away at that screen, working that joystick or plain old keyboard banging

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1. Improved Reactions

High action games involving dexterity and rapid coordination of finger movements will help to improve reaction times and reflexes. We depend on reaction times in many walks of life – for example when driving or cycling, when playing sports, or in certain manual work activities. This ability to coordinate on a micro level may also make you more adept at tasks that involve patience and dexterity, according to this study

“Individuals skilled in video game-playing have a more efficient brain network for controlling movement that includes the prefrontal, premotor, primary sensorimotor and parietal cortices.”

2. Better Memory

Some social games are clearly aimed at improving memory. Matching with Friends, Monster Match, Perfect Match and a billion others test your memory and, in doing so, help improve it. But beyond these obvious examples, you use your memory to some extent in most games – whether it’s remembering how to navigate round an obstacle in a racing game, or trying to recall the name of a movie star in Quizpix & Friends. It’s all good nourishment for those memory brain cells.

3. Imagination, Creativity and Learning

Role-playing and fantasy-type games can spark the imagination and creativity of youngsters that can be carried in to later life. There are a host of edu-tainment games aimed specifically at the learning experience too. Just as we have used toys , books, boardgames and other ”props” to make educating our youngsters more fun and engaging, social games can be another valuable tool.

4. Better Problem Solving

In social games where strategy, coordination and teamwork are involved, it can help to sharpen problems solving skills for use in real-life situations. Having to approach a specific problem and devise strategies to work around it – how to get that new tractor for the farm you’re tending, or combining with a partner to slay a dragon – it involves more thought and brainpower than sitting in front of the TV and merely digesting entertainment.

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5. Decision-Making Under Time Stress

Often in games we are up against the clock. Whether that is to complete our turn in 30-seconds in a turn-based game, or because we are running out of juice for a particular level, we often have to work under pressure and make quick decisions on the fly. Virtually every social game requires some form of quick decision and it can help us in real life. Of course we need to distinguish between the decisions that require more thought and the smaller, snappier ones, or we could be in trouble.

A recent Wall Street Journal article said:

“People who played action-based video and computer games made decisions 25 per cent faster than others without sacrificing accuracy”

6.Makes You More Sociable

Social games have made many people rewrite the books on the effects of gaming. Once considered to be rather anti-social behaviour, many games involve teaming up with friends, or battling against complete strangers on a network. People make friends through gaming – often close, long-lasting relationships that go offline; they end up forming clubs, associations and even marriages! So gaming has become an asset for relationships.

7. An Emotional Outlet

Gaming can act as an outlet for our emotions, so that we don’t keep them all bottled up inside, eating away at us; everyone needs to vent steam sometimes and if a gaming forum allows you to do that then who’s to criticise? If you love to put your energy into trouncing an opponent on FIFA and doing a bit of trash-talking, it’s a lot healthier than letting it simmer into real life and losing your temper with a loved one.

The positive effects of gaming…I could go on, but you get the idea. Perhaps the main reason why people in general have stopped talking and writing about the negative effects of gaming is that they are all too busy trying to beat their Candy Crush highest score?