Most people believe that they know exactly how video games influence a person’s behavior. Not only that, they also know what kind of an effect they have on your brain – an extremely negative one. It is common knowledge that people, mostly teenagers, who spend a lot of time playing video games turn into mindless zombies incapable of getting or keeping a decent job.
Fortunately, many of us are aware of how reliable and accurate common knowledge really is. For this reason, and many others, one of them being my undeniable love for video games, I’ve decided to do a little research to finally give a proper answer to the question of the effect of video games on your brain.
The impact of video games on brain functions has been the focus of many studies ever since playing became a very popular and widespread activity. We will take a closer look at the results of research, hoping that it will give us some kind of an answer.
When they first started coming out, video games were considered a form of entertainment devoid of anything that could be considered valuable. As years passed, more and more people were drawn into their imaginary worlds, and the number of video game fans has been growing ever since.
There have also been changes in the way critics view them. Regardless of their genre, plot, main characters and soundtrack, even the experts on subjects of art and aesthetics seem to believe that video games are not just games.
In this article, we will try to discuss the shift of thought regarding the question of video games as art and give reasons as to why video games absolutely should be considered art.
What we consider art seems at first glance to be a bunch of things that don’t have anything in common. I mean, should movies and oil paintings really be squeezed into the same category?
Well, those are just two different forms of what we call art, and the reason why they exist is the fact that people are able of expressing themselves in many different ways. This is exactly why we have what is known as the seven art forms.
From a glance, you might think this post is going to be about terrible winter games that aren’t much fun to play. While this is technically true, I’m thinking of an actual video game from a long time ago, back in the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was called Winter Games, and believe you me, it was indeed terrible. The number of events was very limited, the controls were unresponsive, the graphics were downright ugly and, well, when you combined all of these great features together, you got something so bad that people are still giving it glaring reviews today, almost 30 years later.
Now, I wasn’t around to see Winter Games when it was fresh and new, so maybe my reaction to it isn’t going to be as severe as that of someone from back when the game was brand new. We’ve had decades of new consoles, computers and gaming on both since then, with some huge leaps and bounds forward in terms of graphics, writing and gameplay in general. So I’ll admit, yeah, it might be kind of hard for me to give this game an objective review. But when you’re dealing with something which is objectively garbage, viewing it with some subjective bias isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s pretty much impossible to find any copies of the old NES cartridge for Winter Games, so I used an emulator to try it out for myself. If I could go back a week or two and tell myself back then that I was going to have a bad time if I played the game, I would. That’s how glaringly awful it is. You could give those little pixelated skiiers and snowboarders the best equipment money could buy, like the stuff which gets high reviews at Winter Ninja, and they would still fall over in the snow and fail.
There’s literally nothing good to say about this game, so it’s hard for me to figure out a place to start. I guess the first thing I should say is that I would never make something this bad and then actually try to sell it to other people for money. I’m serious here – it doesn’t matter what direction I press, because my skier isn’t going to move the way I want them to anyhow. I tried the slalom jump a couple dozen times and failed to stick a single landing. That’s just the start too, it gets better.
Apparently Winter Games had a few different versions, and the game I played was just one of many. It featured a kind of luge race too where you would try to keep your sled centered and stop yourself from crashing and, I assume, dying in a horrible accident. That controlled about as well as the skiing. This game was so bad, I literally have no interest whatsoever in looking up the other versions to see if they’re any better. The bottom line is, if you’re looking for a video game so bad you’ll probably laugh once you get through screaming and crying, just do what I did.
If you would for a moment, think about games like ping pong, table tennis and even card games like blackjack and poker. What’s the one thing all of these different games have in common? It’s the table, of course. Though it’s a fact that some card tables are rounded to have the players all facing each other during any given game, practically any flat, stable surface will suffice when it comes to table gaming. The thing is, these tables tend to cost hundreds of dollars even if a deck of playing cards is more like $3, or some paddles and balls would total less than $30.
Fortunately, the table is also the easiest piece of equipment for you to improvise on your own. This is especially true if you already have some tools handy, or know someone with access to tools, especially a decent electric saw and a sander. You’ll need the first tool to actually cut your table from a large piece of wood, or several pieces of wood. You’ll need the second tool to treat the rough edges on the improvised table and make all of the surfaces smooth and safe for people to play on. Even a great, cheap table would still be trash if it constantly gave people slivers, right?
Though a saw and sander are all you really need to make a tabletop, it wouldn’t hurt to bring along a ruler for measuring the cuts and keeping yourself from wasting materials. A decent level would also be good for letting you know if the tabletop is flat or if it needs to be pressed. Once the wood is cut, you can press it to make it flat if need be – just put it between your mattress and box spring and sleep on it for a couple nights. Then use a sander to shave down rough edges and get a smooth surface for finishing. You can look up sanders at http://beltsanderworld.com/.
Not all pieces of wood are going to be perfectly flat just because you want them to be. This is especially true when working with scrap wood you’ve found, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s real wood that’s been allowed to sit around warping thanks to humidity or a placard of plywood that was never flat or even to begin with. All that matters is converting it into something useful, which is why an electric belt sander is so important. If the wood isn’t flat and pressing doesn’t help, a sander will.
Once you’re done cutting and finishing your wood, you’ll want to paint the surface. Use a uniform color and something that won’t distract from the games being played on said table. Green seems to be a popular color for such tables, whether they’re being used for playing cards or playing ping pong. Just don’t paint it black, whatever you do – that will make it next to impossible to see the shadows cast by flying ping pong balls, which in turn makes that game very difficult to play.
Let me just state this for the record. Where spending hours and hours in front of my PC and console are concerned, I get away with murder. This is not because the villains in front of me can only annihilate me virtually or because there are no consequences to my on-screen body count. I get away with murder because my endless hours immersed in my games are justified. I create and play games for a living. I also spend a great deal of time critically reviewing my competitors; I get paid for all of this. As my bread and butter, my gaming time is a priority.
At the cost of neglecting other areas of my life, do I feel guilty about this? Most of the time, no, but there are times when I pause for thought, mainly when weighing up what others have to say about the pros and cons of excessive gaming. After all, they are my customers too. At the risk of having to repeat myself (see some of my earlier posts for a recap on related concerns), I have been emphasizing the use of game consoles as an educational and training tool for quite a while.
Before I address the benefits of gaming in general, let me just quickly add my voice to previous concerns raised, mostly by kids’ parents. The overriding concern of parents and teachers alike is that young students spend far too much time playing games at the expense of their studies and being outdoors like healthy kids should. I concede my agreement with these concerns. So, kids, my word of advice today is; limit your playing time to just a couple of hours each day (if you must play) and only until you have fulfilled your daily responsibilities.
Educational and training benefits of gaming
Now to the educational benefits of gaming. Let me use a typical example from life. Learning to drive an automobile or motorcycle requires hours of training and practice. While you have the benefit of live experience, these practice sessions remain limited for a number of reasons. But as a training tool, I am willing to bet that promotional bodies such as Motorcyclist Life will agree that practicing necessary skills of co-ordination via a simulator will enhance the driving experience.
The same goes for other real life practices such as learning to fly a plane or handling firearms. Where young kids are concerned, video games can be used to stimulate their interest in their learning activities. Through the use of favorite cartoon characters, kids are encouraged to practice their reading and writing skills. Finally, let me offer just one more word to the uninitiated. Gaming is also a great way to release frustration. Killing made up characters is far better than committing murder or maiming someone in real life.
It’s a lot safer too, meaning that console operators will never need the use of protective men’s and women’s helmets. All they need guard against is losing their temper and falling off their chair.
Many people believe that video games are mostly designed for entertainment and fun. However, it turns out that gamers develop a wide range of skills such as hand-and-eye coordination, problem solving, teamwork, etc. It looks like playing games may be an effective means of learning.
Video games provide the possibility to learn on our own without any specific instructions. Not many of us actually read the instructions before we start playing. Most games are designed so that the players can apply their intuition and learn right from the start. As we move on, our wish to progress serves as a motivation factor, resulting in our desire to learn more.
While playing a video game, we usually deal with highly complex situations which require the ability to see things from various points of view. As a result, we learn to shift our perspective which is absolutely vital for problem-solving. To master a game you need to learn to analyze the environment. So if you want to succeed you have to be able to shift your point of view.
If you’ve ever played a group game, you probably know how tricky the screen interface may be. However, it doesn’t seem that difficult to navigate after a few days of playing. By dealing with multiple setups in the blink of an eye, you learn to cope with the complexities of the modern world which is similarly overloaded with information and innovations.
Online computer games, especially massive multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, train our ability to cooperate and be a part of a team. These skills are absolutely vital in our increasingly connected world.
One of the most amazing abilities we develop while playing is our creativity. We learn to imagine things which quite possibly have never existed. The inexistent game reality, however, does not mean your experience cannot be used in real life.
If you build a wood house in a construction simulator, you use a set of woodworking tools which actually exist in the real world. Therefore, you learn how each of these tools performs. Whenever you use a jig saw, a belt sander, or a professional wood router, you acquire some real knowledge about each of the instruments.
As games provide us with multiple surroundings and a variety of identities which are not always available in real life, we get the chance to experiment with our behavior and see the reaction of others. We also learn to find quick and effective solutions to problems, which is probably one of the most important skills for modern people in their real life. Both real-time and multi-session games trigger cognitive processes aimed at finding the right decision for any situation.
Video games help us to learn about developing strategies. In any game you need to think of the methods and steps which have to be taken in order to succeed. You usually have to try several strategies and approaches before you find the most effective one. Not all games are equal, of course. But many simulation, adventure, and role-playing games can be used as learning and skill developing tools.
Is there something better than a really good video game? Well yes, but the excitement I feel when I start to play a new amazing game is just amazing. People have different preferences when it comes to what do they like most in a game. Some are into the story, and they don’t care about the graphics, others are totally into the graphics and mechanics of a game, putting aside the story and just playing driven by the beautiful looks of the game and the various effects.
I like everything there is in the game. For me, the characters in a game are very important. To play with a badly developed character in a great story is somewhat disappointing, primarily because it ruins the whole sensation of the game. You simply can’t make cocoa without the milk. On the other hand some characters are glorified without a real reason behind it. I will give a few examples of the overrated characters. Haters gonna hate!
So it is really crazy how much attention this little fellow gets today. A long, long, long time ago he was the prince of games! He had everything. Everyone wanted to play him, every gaming console wanted to have him. He brought a bunch of money to his creator but it looks like that wasn’t enough. Well since then Pac-Man was in more games than I can imagine. And really none of them are good games. He is simply too old.
Who the heck is that? Haha bad joke, sorry. So, he is a character in Resident Evil. But c’mon, he looks like a bad evolution of Hulk, without the strength! He is one really weak character in RE. In his free time he is Ken. Everyone loves him and his teeth’s are shining, but in a fight he is something like a ballerina who collapses after the first touch from zombies. Bad, bad Chris!
Arrrrgh! Yea right… give me a break. So he is a Greek. Ok. I get it! But he is not the only one hello! The man looks like he hangs out at sites like http://garagegymlife.com/best-power-rack-reviews/ all the time. He’s all pumped up! He is like a special child who everyone treats in silk gloves.
So we have a typical manly ego that had a miserable and pathetic past. Well I’m sorry Kratos, but that’s life. Maybe if you start to think about yourself and do a little bit less of slaughtering, you would be a happier person. What’s the point of a game in which the almighty gods somehow have no real urge to stop Kratos from killing them? Hmmm…
Well she is unique, I’ll give her that! You couldn’t see many female heroines back in those days, especially ones that fought dinosaurs and broke into tombs. Without her, there wouldn’t be a Tomb Raider movie, which in my opinion is really well made, since it came from the video game. But today she is just… unnecessary. If we look at today’s heroines, we see some amazing female characters have become, which is simply said – magical.
Just as I love everything related to videogames, from developing to playing them, water activities including swimming and sailing have been one of my most favorite pastimes. It is no wonder I like creating and playing games that involve water. But there are not many such games available, which I am trying to set right. Of the various water video games that I have played, only a handful is good to play. For a game to be effective, especially when it is on a water theme, it should have the following factors.
Swimming: You should be able to dive right into the water and if possible swim in it. What is the use of having water, if you cannot enjoy it even if it is just a virtual enjoyment? The water level in Mario games is something I love to play very much. You can just dive in and have a fun filled swim around. Besides swimming, I also love fishing in my awesome fishing kayak. It is both relaxing and fun activity I take to whenever I get some free time.
Dunking: If you cannot swim in the water, at least you should have the satisfaction of throwing your enemy into the water. This surely makes a game more interesting.
Appearance: The water should look blue and cool to make it more realistic.
Famous water video games
Water is part of many adventure and action games other than Mario. Mega Man2 is another favorite game I like, which has bright colors and cascading waterfalls.
Contra is another game that lets you jump into the water, while you shoot at the enemy. In the Mutant Ninja teen game water is more of a frustration as you will drown when you dive into the water and start all over from the beginning. The underwater level of the game is however more interesting, as you can disarm bombs as you pass through a maze of seaweed, which is electrified. Even a dip in the sewers when you enter the third level is gratifying.
Sonic the Hedgehog game is a game with some really wonderful water element in it. But as soon as you dive in and start struggling for air, the countdowns music and time start, so you have to rush out to get your air bubble, failing which you lose the level and have to start all over again. While kayaking is not as nerve-racking, it does give you the thrill of waiting for the fish to fall for your bait. I usually use my Wilderness Tarpon 100 Angler, while I go for fishing. The kayak is specially designed for fishing, and it helps to increases the excitement quotient.
Nintendo is one platform that doesn’t have much of water adventure sports. Magical Quest and Bubsy are a few that have a passable water feature. Zelda games are however, the best of all, as you get to cross using a raft, which reminds me of my kayaking trips. Some levels let you jump into the water and swim towards the goal too.
I would without doubt declare that video game is the reigning king of the entertainment world. Whether it is young kids or adults, video games offer the best entertainment medium. But whether you have just had your first glimpse of a gaming console, or you have been at it for a long time knowing certain skills and knowledge will help you play the game well. So here are some tips that will change your video gaming time from averagely good to outstanding.
In video games, the sequel is the best unlike movies where the initial part is the most riveting. And don’t waste time reading the instruction guide that comes with the games. Popular games are self-explanatory. And, if it is a horror game do turn of the lights. If it is a sports video game, set it to rookie to learn the game faster and you’ll enjoy it too. It is not a crime to play in the easy mode. Gaming is for fun. And if I find a game is not that fun or condescending in the easy mode, I just turn it off and enjoy a few laps in my nicely heated pool.
During the game
Most games have cues and clues inside the game, which you can understand, when you are attentive enough. You can enjoy a game best only when you explore and find the shortcuts. So take your time to test all the challenging routes, instead of hurrying through a level. For instance, you can turn off the heads up display or mini map to make the game more intriguing or if it is a side scroller 2D game, go left to see if anything new is hidden.
And if a soundtrack is not impressive, mute it. I love to hear music normally but as far as games are concerned, I turn off the menu music, especially in video games on sports. Auto save feature is not that good in certain games, so unless you know about it without doubt, try saving the game frequently. Or you can do a stress test on auto save feature, so you know the time when the game is saved.
For tough times
When you’re stuck in a game, don’t let the game defeat you. I just stop the game and go swimming, which is my second best favorite past time after gaming. I have my pool heated with an efficient SOLAR POOL HEATER, so I can enjoy warm water in the pool all around the year. If after some time off, I still am stuck in the game, I try getting help from a friend, ask Twitter or check online for the reviews and leave the strategy guide as the last option.
And if there is a multiplayer option, try it on a map for about one hour to see if it is right for you. And don’t resort to ugly or obscene swear words and mute anyone in the game who does so. In case a game has motion controls it is better not to rely on them, unless if it is your only option..
Riding ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) is getting more popular by the day, and it’s hard to argue the fact that this is one of the greatest hobbies one might have. Even scientists and doctors approve of it as ATV riding provides several very important health benefits. Of course, there are also some risks to be considered, but game developers might help us reduce them.
As I’m rather fond of ATVs myself, I did some research into the matter and found out several facts that made me love riding them even more. However, before we move on to the health and fitness benefits offered by these vehicles, I’d like to focus on how to make them safer.
This is one of the numerous situations where games can actually help you deal with the challenges presented by real life. As the popularity of ATVs has increased recently, the developers picked up on this interest and created a number of simulators that allow you to enjoy “riding” from the comfort of your home. These games offer two major benefits. On one hand, they allow you to have fun when the weather is too bad, or if you don’t have time for a real ride.
On the other hand, a good simulator allows you to train and hone your skills. Therefore, the risk of you getting into a real accident is decreased. Some of the games are so good that professional riders use them for training before competitions. Even some schools use these programs today to provide students with the training necessary to ensure their safety during active recreation.
Of course, simulators aren’t the only hi-tech solution that makes ATs safer. If you really want to start riding, you need to make sure that your vehicle is equipped with all the necessary safety measures. Consider installing additional ATV LED lights, like the ones you can find here. They will increase your visibility range greatly and these lights don’t “glare” as much as ordinary light bulbs.
Various studies prove that riding ATVs is a great hobby that can literally make you a happier and healthier person. The most important health benefits this activity provides include:
- Increased fitness level.
Riding a heavy ATV requires a great deal of physical effort. This is the part that you can’t really recreate through simulation, which is why it’s imperative to practice both virtually and in real life. Every ride is a workout that will help you stay in shape and improve your overall wellbeing, like any physical exercise.
- Heart benefits.
According to the results of research, your oxygen intake increases by 3.5-6 times during a ride. This constitutes a moderately intense physical activity that gets your heart pumping blood faster, but not too fast. This is a great prevention therapy for various cardiovascular diseases.
- Stress reduction.
The boost of adrenalin and endorphins one gets during and immediately after a ride is so huge, you will feel euphoric for hours after this. The activity itself requires full concentration, which means that it’s a great way to keep your mind from daily problems and reduce the amount of stress they put you under.
The first thing people think about when they hear the words “video game” is having fun. Who wouldn’t like to spend a few hours playing an interesting game, right? However, as you should know by now, there is much more to video games than entertainment. The potential of this technology is huge, and many people understand this. One of the “products” of this understanding is the implementation of video games in combat training for young military recruits.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding this particular practice. Those who are against it claim, that this kind of training promotes desensitization and makes it easier for soldiers to take lives. However, the supporters of this practice argue that recreating the battlefield and going over the details of the fight, seeing it from different points of view, actually helps save lives. This way, soldiers are presented with a unique opportunity to analyze the battlefield and understand what exactly happened there. Seeing every action and its effects on the course of the battle provides a unique learning experience that can help people avoid mistakes in the future.
This particular technology has proven to be so effective that it’s even used in medicine. Quite often submerging into this kind of “virtual reality” and relieving the battle assists with the treatment of PTSD.
Personally I believe that training on something relatively harmless is the best way to learn. It’s like trying your moves on a dummy before you actually get into a real spar. A grappling dummy, like the ones you can see at http://www.grapplingdummyinsider.com/, will be anyone’s perfect training partner as it allows you to perfect your skills without worrying about hurting your partner. Once you get confident in your moves, you can move on to sparring with people.
How Does Gaming Influence the Military?
Of course, first-person shooters developed based on the combatants’ reports aren’t the only type of gaming technology used adopted and adapted by the military. The recruits who undergo training today get access to all kinds of training equipment and software. The most significant benefits from implementing the gaming technology definitely go to pilots.
The training they must undergo is far more complicated than donning a comfortable gi and tossing around a grappling dummy covered with sensors can provide. They require state-of-art flight simulators that will allow them to learn how to control all kinds of avian vehicles in any situation. The simulators developed for this purpose must be perfect to ensure that the software is capable of recreating real-life reactions of the plane to weather and various kinds of malfunctions.
Pilots who get a chance to practice using these programs on a regular basis have a much better chance of pulling through an extreme situation and saving their own and other soldiers’ (and often civilians) lives as well. This efficiency of this training program cannot be underestimated, and it started with games. Even today, military software developers draw inspiration from their colleagues who work in the gaming industry.
A single look at some of the military equipment produced today proves how much of an effect the gaming industry has on the army. Even controllers to some of the weapons look similar to game controllers, which makes it easier for recruits to learn how to use them. I can only hope that this symbiosis of two industries that are so drastically different will continue to help saving the lives of our soldiers and the people they protect.
For thousands of years people relied on games to train their bodies and obtain the skills they will need to survive. Just think of kids playing house, a basic game that helps children understand family dynamics. Computer games expanded the study opportunities greatly and today you can use them to learn a great deal of things, from strategic planning to business development.
However, all those things are theories, so does this mean that games are only good for training your mind? It does appear so, especially where computer gaming is concerned. But the developers of today prove this concept wrong developing games connected to the kinetic control system. According to them, these programs will allow us to acquire various physical skills through playing and even master Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other types of martial arts.
Do you think it’s true?
Many people are rather skeptical about this method of mastering BJJ, but personally I’m sure that one can learn quite a lot with the right combination of software and hardware. After all, jiu-jitsu is no all about wearing comfortable gi and training in a dojo. According to some renowned BJJ champions, understanding the concepts of this martial art and learning basic positions makes up the biggest part of mastering the art as a whole.
Of course, no game can replace endless hours of severe physical conditioning that one must undergo in order to obtain the strength and speed necessary to practice this martial art professionally. However, I do believe that some games can teach you the basics on a level that will allow you to get out of a tight spot should the need ever arise.
Motion-sensing controls are the key to learning martial arts, or any other physical skill through gaming. This technology really changed the industry as today it’s possible to play a game and work out at the same time. In fact, many people get so caught up in the game that they perform more exercises than they would during an ordinary fitness training session. And let’s not forget how much more enjoyable this kind of workout is.
According to statistics, a great number of people give up on going to gyms or exercising at home because their trainings are dull and they are distracted by more interesting things they could be doing instead of exercising. “Boring” definitely isn’t the word you will use if you play a role playing game imagining yourself to be a kickass martial arts master who can protect the innocents and take out monsters with a few well-aimed punches. Actually punching the air with your Xbox controllers is a good exercise, especially if you take the time to learn how to punch right.
Considering all this, I can say that I believe that one can learn martial arts through gaming. You won’t become a master in them without extensive physical training and guidance from a professional instructor. However, mastering the basics is possible, and it will be up to you where to go from there. These games can also serve as a training exercise for those who has already mastered the art and wants to stay in shape and have some fun at the same time.