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Five reasons why you should try playing video games

The gaming industry has grown. From being seen as an addictive pastime for kids to one which parents are forced to spend a lot of money buying expensive games which are then loaded into even more expensive gaming machines, to one that has benefits.

According to the founder and CEO of Usiku Games, Jay Shapiro, gaming has always had positive aspects, pointing out that the only challenge is how it is presented by different stakeholders.

Although video games are often dismissed as unsophisticated, they are also have tangible benefits to users. Here are some their benefits:

1. Games can teach you to be a better problem solver

Open-world, mission-based and multi-level games are designed like complex puzzles that take several hours to solve. Occasionally, the solution varies based on your actions in the game. Learning to think on your feet and strategize in a fast-paced fantasy environment is a skill that can translate to the real world.

2. Gamers may have better social skills

The stereotype of a shy person who uses video games as a way to escape is not what the average gamer looks like. Past research involving children found that those who played more video games were more likely to have good social skills, perform better academically, and to have built better relationships with other students because of the social and collaborative component to some types of games.

3. Video games can increase your brain’s gray matter

Gaming is really a workout for your mind disguised as fun. Studies conducted in 2011 by Michigan State University’s Children and Technology Project in the US linked video games to improved creativity in children who play them, while another in 2014 by the University of Rochester ascertained that children who play action video games were faster and more efficient at decision-making and task completion than their non-gaming counterparts

4. Video games can have mental health benefits

Studies have shown that some video games can boost mood and make for better heart rhythms — a sign that they may also help relieve stress. The correlation (not causality) between video games and stress has been reflected in numerous unrelated studies, which is why video games have been used in therapy for over a decade.

5. They’re a fun way to get tricked into learning.

There are video games on just about everything. Early on, developers realized that video games could be used to improve reading and math skills. Today, there are games that incorporate world history, cooking, politics, chemistry, architecture and other topics you may not have been exposed to in school.