Can playing games be good for you?


Whilst we all know how playing anything from Super Mario Run to a few rounds of blackjack can be pretty good fun, there’s a growing amount of research that suggests that playing games can be good for us too.

A recent study from the University of California in Irvine found that our powers of memory could be boosted by playing some simple video games.

What was remarkable about the study was the fact that it was only games like Super Mario 3D Worlds that used 3D animation that had the positive effect on the subjects’ hippocampal-associated memory. Whereas those who had been playing simple two-dimensional platform games like Angry Birds had no boost in their powers of memory.

This follows on from numerous other studies that have suggested that playing games can have beneficial effects on our brains. Whether it’s a classic card game, or even the latest RPG on a smartphone, games are thought to give our minds regular workouts in problem solving and creative thinking.

The recent blog post at Lucky Nugget Casino shows how a clear mind is essential in games of blackjack, and it’s the way that games exercise our brain that has meant that brain-training games have become big business in recent years.

From Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training games on the Nintendo, to Lumosity’s mentally taxing puzzle apps on our smartphones, it seems that many of us are seeking a little more from our games than just entertainment.

However, deciphering any clear scientific results from these brain-training games is always going to be problematic. Harvard Medical School’s blog post treats the theory with a degree of scepticism and says that whilst playing games can improve certain mental faculties, it’s virtually impossible to measure how well these can be applied to real life situations.

Whilst it will always be difficult to find a clear link between playing games and mental dexterity, it’s clear that this activity can have numerous benefits. From improving our hand-to-eye coordination, to alleviating stress, it seems that playing games is an essential part of the human condition.

Although gaming has had a tendency to be source of moral panic, it seems that whether it’s Grand Theft Auto or a game of blackjack, the simple act of gameplay has a host of psychological benefits that we are only just starting to understand.

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