Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Play Video Games

Researchers are seriously investigating what exactly gaming can do for you. Scientists, therapists, and sociologists alike discover that gaming can change you for the better.

Millions of gamers punch their thumbs on their gamepads everyday. With 1.6 gamers to every US household, the case for video games deserves some serious consideration apparently.

I’m not the most avid of all the gaming enthusiasts; here's my Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Play Video Games, anyway.

10. Games can be therapeutic.

It has been found out that virtual reality helped treat the pain of a severely burned marine. In the game SnowWorld, doctors put him in a 3D snowball fight while surgeons operated on his burns. With the game, he thought about the pain less than 25% of the time.

The game “Chaz Fortune” simulates a bar with casino games to help gambling addicts resist their temptations and quit their vice.

Games are now seriously integrated into the treatment of mental and physical health, early development, and rehabilitation.

9. Games help conquer fears and obsessions.

SpiderWorld lets people with arachnophobia face a tiny spider at their own pace. Dirty Bathroom takes people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) through messier and messier bathrooms, helping them overcome their anxiety.

According, playing Tetris after a traumatic event reduces the occurrence of negative flashbacks.

8. Games strengthen marriage.

According to a US study, 76% of married couples said playing MMORPGs like World of Warcraft together had a positive effect on their marriage.

7. Games are used for real-life “environment simulation”.

The Military use games to train soldiers for a simulation of a “military environment”. These war games include the Tom Clancy series, Call of Duty, Brothers at War, America's Army, Battlefield, and others. Virtual simulators from games are used by pilots use for training.

The U.S. Army has deployed machines such as the PackBot and UAV vehicles, which make use of a game-style hand controller to make it more familiar for young people [4].

More than 100 Fortune 500 companies, like IBM, Cisco, and Cold Stone Creamery, use some form of gaming for training purposes.

6. Games are excellent for socializing.

Sixty-five (65%) of gamers play with their friends.
Two out of five US and UK Internet users play social games for more than 15 minutes a week. On Facebook, 40% of users' activity is spent on social games like Words with Friends, FarmVille, and others.

Online gamers like World of Warcraft (WoW) and Runescape are brimming with people and adventures. WoW alone has a whopping 12 million members - about the same as the megacity Tokyo's population!

I have a friend who has fetched a foreign friend he met in an MMORPG from the airport and drove him around the city.

5. Games for science’s sake.

In Eterna and Foldit games, players solve biochemical puzzles, helping scientists better understand genetics.

Educational games contribute to major research efforts: In Galaxy Zoo, people classify objects seen by the Hubble telescope. 50 million real galaxies and celestial bodies were classified in the game's first year.

4. Games are brain workouts.

Games improve creativity and imagination. Students are found to be "learning by doing" while playing video games while fostering creative thinking [3].

According to research discussed at the 2008 Convention of the American Psychological Association (CAPA), certain types of video games can improve the gamers' dexterity as well as their ability to problem-solve. A study of 33 laparoscopic surgeons found that those who played video games were 27% faster at advanced surgical procedures and made 37% fewer errors compared to those who did not play video games [5].

3. Games can also help you stay fit.

Physical and aerobic workouts in games like Wii Fit and Kinect Fitness can boost stamina and heart rate levels. Researchers also use games to monitor the health of senior citizens. Their efforts can predict an illness or even a patient's risk of falling.

2. Games improve hand-eye coordination.

According to the 2008 CAPA in their study of 303 laparoscopic surgeons (82%men and 18% women), showed that surgeons who played video games requiring spatial skills and hand dexterity and then performed a drill testing these skills were significantly faster at their first attempt and across all 10 trials than the surgeons who did not play the video games first.[5]

It has been shown that action video game players have better hand-eye coordination and visuo-motor skills, such as their resistance to distraction, their sensitivity to information in the peripheral vision and their ability to count briefly presented objects, than nonplayers.[1]

Action games also help sharpen vision and help cure ambiyopia (commonly called as "lazy eye"). In one hour, some games can do what an eye patch does in 400 hours.

1. Games improve problem-solving and analytical skills.

Games improve quick decision making even with multiple things at once. Reflexes are shown to have been improved in gamers. Gamers develop the capacity to solve several problems in different situations, too.

According to researchers Shawn Green and Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester, video games are based upon the player navigating (and eventually mastering) a highly complex system with many variables. This requires a strong analytical ability, as well as flexibility and adaptability.

He argues that the process of learning the boundaries, goals, and controls of a given game is often a highly demanding one that calls on many different areas of cognitive function. Most games require a great deal of patience and focus from the player, and, contrary to the popular perception that games provide instant gratification, games actually delay gratification far longer than other forms of entertainment such as film or even many books.[2]

Researches suggest that video games increase players' attention capacities, too.

Early literacy is also improved by games for 4 and 5 year olds, especially letter recognition and story comprehension.

Non-English native speakers who play games are also shown to have improved capabilities in oral and written English compared to those who don’t.
People that play video games make decisions 25% faster.
To sum it up, games can indeed have positive effects. But that doesn’t mean that it has no bad effects, either. As with anything, moderation is the key.

Experts suggest playing for less than 21 hours a week. Past 21 hours, benefits for gaming decrease and the effects turn harmful. Some games are marred with extreme violence and other bad things not recommended for children of young age. Discernment and choosing the right game is very important.

Anyhow, I was stacking pallets with odd-sized boxes earlier. I did it with ease, thanks Tetris.


[1] Green, C. Shawn; Bavelier, Daphne (2003). "Action video game modifies visual selective attention". Nature 423 (6939): 534–537.

[2] Daphne Bavelier et al. (2003). "Action video game modifies visual selective attention" (PDF). Nature/University of Rochester. Archived from the original on March 29, 2006. Retrieved April 29, 2006.

[3] Glazer, S. (2006). "Video games". CQ Researcher 16: 960–937. cqresrre2006111000.