Posted October 1, 2013 by Jake Miller in Articles, Featured

Developmental Effects of Video Games

It’s easy to casually dismiss video games as crass, violent, offensive, and mindless entertainment when one’s only exposure to the medium is a brief trailer on television, or the latest “Games are the devil” story aired on the nightly news. For those who have taken the time to immerse themselves in the gaming culture, however, there’s a whole different side to video games. They have deep and interesting characters, complex plots, and actors, screenwriters, directors, and composers who are typically best known for their work in the “real” entertainment industry: movies.

While many continue to debate whether or not games are having a positive impact on the mental and emotional well-being of those who play them, there is legitimate research turning video games into developmental tools and recognizing them for their many benefits.

Seeing is believing

Senior couple has fun at home playing video games together.Psychologist Daphne Maurer who, along with Seong Taek Jeon and Terr Lewis, looked into the effect of video game training on adults with bilateral deprivation amblyopia, more commonly known as cataracts. Maurer and her colleagues worked with patients who had developed cataracts at birth, utilizing first-person shooters to determine if video games could, in fact, help to improve their vision.

The benefits don’t just apply to those with vision disorders, as the research states adults with normal eyes who play action games can improve their acuity and contrast sensitivity, along with enlarge their peripheral vision. For those who regularly shop Vision Direct, video games might be exactly what the doctor ordered for improving your prescription and strengthening the ol’ peepers.

Old dog, new trick

CBS News recently reported on a study by researchers at UC San Francisco that finds video games actually enhance senior citizens’ multitasking and memory skills. Along with providing entertainment, video games are workouts for your brain. In this recent study, researchers are finding the same holds true for senior citizens who are now being exposed to video games. The games, as it turns out, strengthens their memory, and even make it easier to focus on more than one task at a time.

Strong mind, strong body

Ever since the Wii U hit store shelves five years ago, there have been countless reports about how the more active style of gameplay is helping fight childhood obesity. According to Gamer Fit Nation, the benefits go far beyond improved physical fitness. Along with serving as a relief for stress, depression and pain, playing video games helps improve one’s reflexes and eyesight, something anyone who has spent enough time with Mario Kart, Tetris or even Call of Duty can easily attest to.

Jake Miller

Jake's a software engineer by day and a gamer by night. He still has his original Xbox 360 from launch day and it hasn't red-ringed yet.