I started playing a new video game + six benefits of playing video games
Hi all! A bit delayed on my Sunday post (so happy Monday!) as I was wrapping up my final for a grad class. I hope you’ve all been staying safe and well and hope you weren’t holding out for a Sunday post!
Like the title indicates…I recently started playing this video game called Valorant (an upcoming free-to-play multiplayer first-person shooter developed by Riot Games. The game is set to be released for Microsoft Windows in the summer of 2020, with a closed beta that launched on April 7, 2020).
There’s a ton of talk about how video games are terrible for people (if you get addicted and are unable to do any other thing, then yes, that is troubling) and how they impact the brain so I thought I’d do a post highlighting six benefits/positives of playing video games.
1) It helps with problem solving and logic.
Before playing Valorant, I played this other game Town of Salem (an online multiplayer role-playing strategy game developed by BlankMediaGames. It was released on Steam for Windows and macOS on December 15, 2014).
Enjoy this Wikipedia description of Town of Salem below:
Town of Salem is inspired by the party games Werewolf and Mafia, in which players adopt different roles belonging to different teams, of an informed minority and uninformed majority, aiming to eliminate each other for control of the village or town. As the name implies, the game takes place in the historical town of Salem, Massachusetts, alluding to the infamous witch-hunt trials that killed innocent townspeople due to paranoia and superstition. The chief strategy of the game is to survive and accomplish win conditions. Players use a combination of role abilities, teamwork, communication, deduction and deception to achieve victory.
Town of Salem is huge on logic as much as it is strategy, persuasion and communication.
Games like Town of Salem is similar to a popular phone game “Cut The Rope” and even good old Sudoku. Playing games like these helps your brain come up with creative ways to solve problems without it really costing you anything. You can practice, explore, find different ways of doing things–this trial and error approach in games is incredibly useful in real life.
2) Video games help with hand-eye coordination, fine motor, and spatial skills.
In shooting games like Valorant, you’re going to be running, hiding, shooting–this requires the video game player to keep track of the character, where they are heading, where the gun is aiming, etc. This all requires a lot of eye-hand coordination and visual-spatial ability to succeed. Research suggests that people can learn spatial and visual attention skills from video games.
3) Growth mindset and perseverance!
No matter how great a video game player is now currently…they didn’t start off instantly that great. Some people may have a little more of a gamer advantage to them, but with practice, you get better. The best people out there don’t necessarily succeed on their first try.
Video games give you a sense of accomplishment when you reach goals or level up. This can translate in real life and help you garner more motivation to advance, learn, and achieve in other aspects of life.
I was TERRIBLE at Valorant – I was pointing my crosshair closer to the ground as opposed to eye level while my character walked and wasn’t looking at all the angles, stood out in the open (just honestly asking enemies to just shoot my character down, tbh), but hey I was and still am a beginner! Learning from mistakes is key. Games are a safe place for you to make mistakes, learn, and ultimately succeed over time.
+ A crosshair is a circular range most commonly associated with telescopic sights for aiming (lets players know what/where they’re going to shoot).
4) Playing video games help with planning and resource management.
With Valorant, you are either team attackers or team defenders (whichever your team starts with first–random) for 12 rounds before switching to the other. This allows both teams to be both attackers and defenders.
- The goal for the attackers is to deliver the spike to a site (depends on the map if there are two sites A and B, or if there’s three sites: A, B, and C) and plant the spike.
– TO WIN:
+ Attackers plant the bomb and the defenders cannot defuse in time (each round is 1 minute and 30 seconds).
+ Defenders are all eliminated during the round.
- The goal of defenders then would be to either defuse the bomb before time is up or to eliminate all the attackers.
The more you win, the more resources you are given (you get to keep your gun so you don’t need to waste more game money to purchase new equipment) along with more confidence to continue the streak.
Resources are not unlimited, so teams need to be strategic in what they decide to purchase, which characters they choose to be and strategic in how they use the character’s powers, and which site they decide to either guard/plant the spike. You learn to manage resources that are limited and decide the best use of resources the way you do in real life.
5) Video games can help improve adaptability and multitasking skills.
With Valorant, your enemies can sneak up on you easily if you’re not watching all angles. They could be hidden behind a wall, standing on top of a box or window, waiting for you to be out in the open to get their shot at you. If your team is trying to push to plant the bomb at site A and you see tons of enemies shooting and blocking your entrance there, you might decide to make a run for B instead with another teammate or two while the others distract them by site A. You learn to be adaptable and quick in changing tactics.
I love TED Talks, so here’s another one from 2012 (but still good) that talks about our brain on video games and how it helps us focus, learn, and multitask.
6) Teamwork, cooperation, and communication!
Multiplayer games like Valorant and Town of Salem involve cooperation with other online players in order to win. Games like these encourage you to make the most of individual skills to contribute to the larger team.
For Valorant, you rely heavily on sound (if enemies are running and making loud shuffling noises, you’re able to more easily track them down than players who walk stealthily by pressing down the SHIFT key; paying attention to where enemies are shooting their guns or using other abilities) and information exchange with your team (certain characters have abilities to track where enemies are) or seeing where enemies or teammates are being killed.
I’ve seen some people do extremely well and take on four enemies alone, but the best teams are ones who work together and give positive reinforcement as opposed to players who yell at their own team. When has negative attitude and verbal abuse help to make something better?
From games like Valorant, you learn how to work better within a team, you learn how to cooperate to reach a common goal, and it all starts with effective communication. This game gives you tons of room to practice all three.
Do you play any video games? If so, which one(s)?
How do you think they help you in real life?