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I’ve been telling people this for years, it often goes in one ear and out the other. Yes indeed, video games are good for you. They are good for children, for adults, and especially for older people.
I know, I know, that cannot possibly true with everything you hear about violent video games on the news. You hear about addictions to games and the internet and all the negative crap the media is trying to get you to BUY this week. What if they are only partly right? Many people actually do get addicted to video games, this is true. But then again people can become addicted to any pleasure inducing habit or substance. It’s a matter of individual psychology, not the object of addiction itself. Maybe I’ll explain that sometime in the future, but for now I need to get back to my initial point.
Maybe you have seen some of the ads on TV or something for video games that can train your brain, maybe you haven’t. Either way, you need to be aware that the brain and the mind are malleable. Like any muscle in your body, they can be trained and improved. Anything which makes you use your mind in new ways makes you a little smarter when you do it. Yes, the effects are cumulative. You can train your mind to be quicker, have more memory, think deeper, etc. A long time ago I got my mother into video games and I constantly encourage her to continue playing, AND to play new things. I want her to have a young mind for many, many years to come. I follow my own advice too. I play games that make me think.
Anybody can train their brain and keep it younger by playing video games. All you have to do is play games that require mental effort. If you can play without any effort at all, then you’re just having fun. I applaud having fun, but I’m talking about a serious topic here. I’m talking about using video games to extend the useful years of your life. Find games that challenge your mind without being stressful and frustrating. Frustration only leads to quitting. When you enjoy a game, you’ll play it more and get more out of it. Play some puzzle solving games to help you with analytical thinking, or some matching games to help you with pattern recognition. I tend to play a LOT of tycoon and strategy games, I want to keep my long-term thinking up to par. I wouldn’t recommend first person shooters if you are just starting out. Not that they don’t train your mind, they are just extraordinarily difficult for a beginner, or for someone who doesn’t have lightning reflexes. You don’t need to pay for a subscription to a special site to find games that train your brain. You don’t need anything besides the device you are reading this article on. I would bet nearly any amount of money that any device you can read this on has free games available for it that can help your brain.
Brain training is NOT difficult, it isn’t a secret. It doesn’t take much, and you can do it without a degree or any schooling at all. Anything that makes you think in new ways will do. Get some new and different thoughts in your head, evolve in your own lifetime!
Awesome article as always Eric. There are definitely plenty of positives that come out of video games. It’s more than mere escapism.