Holy Amazing Shit Batman! Video Games are Making that Kid Awesome

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 9:47 AM

Now given the title (which I think is pretty good myself) this article will shy away from the simple act of JUST reviewing a game and instead look to document the more serious side of gaming. That’s right, your eyes aren't deceiving you my friends, this so called 'serious side' of gaming actually exists and it's filled with scientists and doctors and all manner of reputable people, honest. These people believe that you can play video games for reasons other than owning noobs online, building simulation houses without a toilet or smashing luxury cars into the conveniently placed wall just to watch the cool crash physics. These people actually believe that playing video games can improve your health both mentally and physically.

Ever heard people saying that sitting to close to the TV ruins your eyesight or playing video games for too long ruins your eyesight? Well you can now safely tell those people (unless it's your mum, then you aren't safe at all) to shove their crazy superstitions. Two recent studies have proved that playing shoot em' up action games like Call of Duty or Halo actually improve your eyesight in very distinct and advantageous ways. That's right IMPROVE! The first study, in 2007, showed action video games "helped study subjects improve their spatial resolution, meaning their ability to clearly see small, closely packed together objects, such as letters". They reckon that this can be used to rehabilitate the effects of aging on the eyes. The second study, in 2009, showed that once again playing shooter games helped your vision this time improving what is known as contrast sensitivity or the ability to discern slight differences in shades of grey, which is the primary limiting factor to how well you see........So let me get this straight, video games can combat the effects of aging AND allow me to clearly see small objects through fuzzy contrast. My god that sounds like super vision; I could be a freaking super hero! Just call me Game Boy....wait, no, shit Nintendo already has that monopoly and you don't want to mess with them I mean come on they didn't call their latest controller a Nunchuck because it sounded cool, those things are dangerous.

So video games can improve my sight, not bad, but has the world of science discovered any other benefits from video games? Well apparently they have. Other studies have found that playing video games improve both your reflexes and hand eye co-ordination. Surgeons who play video games perform 37 percent less mistakes whilst completing the surgery 27 percent faster than non gamers. I hope that these improvements go hand in hand though because personally I wouldn't be too excited if they could do it 27 percent faster but with 50 percent more mistakes. If that was the case I would be a little concerned they are spending their free time playing video games and not practicing being a surgeon but maybe that's just me. People have also been able to apply things they have learned in video games to the real world. The most amazing examples include a boy in Norway using skills like taunting and feigning death he’d learned from World of Warcraft to ward off a wild moose which was threatening his sister, it got him mad experience points, and Paxton Galvanek from the States used the basic first aid training he’d learned in the military shooter America’s Army to help rescue two motorists who had rolled their car five times.
As we are expecting to see a boom in retirees who will no doubt suffer from a raft of medical problems and clog up our medical system, so the politicians and analysts say, can video games do anything to help out our grandparents? The short answer, yes they can. A study undertaken by Psychology and Aging sampled a bunch of 60-70 year olds who played the strategy game ‘Rise of Nations’. They were then tested on a range of things and it was found that they showed gains in memory, reasoning and multi-tasking through playing the game. These are attributes which normally decline in old age. So if you are thinking of what to get nanna for Christmas you should pick her up a copy of Rise of Nations or Empire: Total War but don’t get angry if soon she’s better at it than you, those retirees have a lot of free time on their hands.   

Ok so let's recap here, I can vastly improve my vision and combat the effects of age on my eyes, sharpen my reflexes and improve my hand eye co-ordination whilst negating some of the effects of aging on the brain. Holy freaking crap, here I was thinking all I was getting for my $90 was a couple of hours of cheap thrills but boy was I wrong. Now all I need is for the study that says freaking out when you get owned online actually burns calories, making me skinnier and then the one that says sitting in my room with the lights off playing a video game improves my looks and I'll be set.
Obviously there are the counter studies which are full of hate towards video games. The latest one from the US states that the average gamer is 35 years old, so we should have an R 18 rating thank you Mr Atkinson, depressed and suffers from poor health. Basically they are big fat losers who spend too much time owning noobs and not enough time interacting with real people. Surprisingly, said with a lot of sarcasm, it found that people, especially women, play video games to ‘take their minds off their worries while playing a video game’. Really? You needed a study to tell you that people are playing World of Warcraft and Halo so that they don’t have to think about what else is going on? This study, whilst being quite recent, has not really shed any new light on gaming culture. This stigma about video games and gamers has always existed and the fact that it is casting the escapist qualities of games in a bad light is just idiotic. Games are entertainment just like movies and music which allow people to escape the daily grind and be transported to another place and another time.  For another point of interest, throw the Wii into the mix and games like Wii Sports, Wii Fit and EA Active that make you look like a complete loser whilst you play them but they certainly burn the calories.

Seriously the air around video games that says they are detrimental to your health needs to change. From what I can see the benefits are definitely outweighing the negatives and who knows when you may require someone to clearly see closely packed together objects or perform surgery with 37 percent less mistakes?  When you do, don't come crawling to me and my video game enhanced awesomeness. I'll be too busy playing my games, trying to become not Game Boy.......stupid Nintendo. 



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