Gaming - Its not All Bad

By: Jason Collins

According to recent studies as well as long-held beliefs by gamers, playing video games can bring mental and physical benefits. The games industry is very big and, as fears of the economy slowing down and the potential of recession ahead it remains buoyant with record sales of software and 'next generation' consoles.?

Fundamentally the games industry is growing as it is because as a source of entertainment is it fun, absorbing, value for money and imparts a sense of achievement as well as, recently with online gaming, community and teamwork.? Now however you can add to this possible health and brain benefits, from problem solving, concentration, stress relief to visual and sight training.? The mass appeal of the DS and Wii is taking games, specifically "educational" or "training" titles, to a new demographic of people previously untouched by any of the big gaming companies.

Video games can help to improve both the movement and capabilities of your eyes.? Besides the release of a specific sight training game on the Nintendo DS playing certain types of games, especially action games, push a player's eyes beyond what they would normally go through and the brain as a consequence adapts to it and improves.? Constant movements of the eyes and picking up on the small movements and subtle changes in pace and direction often seen in games effectively gives your eyes a work out.? Potentially this could mean that visual defects and injuries could be treated with specially designed games.??

Mentally there are also other benefits of a few hours gaming a week.? As a stress busting method games have been proven in studies to help students during revision periods by taking their mind away from studying and giving them a few minutes of needed relaxation, enabling them to concentrate better and work harder during the periods that they are working. In a similar way, games act as means of escapism, allowing everyone to leave the real world behind them for a few minutes a day, helping to relieve stress and boredom, thus improving an individual's mental health.

So as the games market gets bigger and makes record amounts of money what are the benefits to you and I of spending our free time playing video games?? As mentioned above it is a fairly new phenomenon for the current generation of gaming consoles to release mass-appeal educational titles, such as the famous Brain Training games and Big Brain Academy Games.? The educational benefits of these games are clear to be seen by anyone who has played them, with faster brain activity and memory seeing marked improvements.? Add to this the physical benefits of the new Wii games such as Wii sports and the new Wii Fit and there is the potential for a full mind and body work out in your living room.

So gaming, far from being a source of ill health and injury can help to give your whole mind, body and eyes a work out.? To take advantage of games' interactive abilities to impart both knowledge and health we have already seen specific titles like Wii Fit, Sign Training and Brain Training, so far all pioneered by Nintendo, and we will probably see more titles like this released in the future.

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