Forget the nasty stereotype of the fat, pimply, kid with the permanently Cheetos-stained fingers, that is sitting on a couch in a trashy, darkened room. Playing video games is not-nor has it ever been about vegging out.
Video games have been around for almost twice as long as I have been alive, which is not long, but in that short time, they have gotten a whole lot better and more sophisticated. I remember the first video game I ever played, Sonic, when I was four, playing Super Mario Brothers when I was five, and I am now playing games like Spyro, Jak and Daxter, Halo, Final Fantasy, and other really cool games.
For most of the video game’s history, video games have been considered by most non-gamers as little more than an unhealthy pastime, which is where the stereotype came from. However, thanks to some research in the past couple of years, many people are now coming to realize that the video game may be a good thing after all and the gamer stereotype is starting to fade out of existence. Here is what some of that research found.
People have known for years that playing a computer or video game may help a person’s hand/eye coordination. I myself have used video and computer games to help both my little brother (who has slight brain damage) and myself with hand/eye coordination (we both still have trouble, though I am now finding it much easier to play a game without accidentally walking off of the edge of a world. My brother is becoming more able to do things such as simply picking up what he was looking at).
It has already been proven that playing video games can also sharpen the gamer’s mind. Most games have puzzles that the gamer has to figure out in order to continue the game. Some games are entirely puzzles. All games force the player to think about what combination of button and moves of the joystick would be best in the situation, the reward for getting this right is continuation of the game, the penalty is usually a virtual death and having to go back to the last save point. These decisions usually have to be made quickly. This exercise of the mind completely blows away the mindless gaming stereotype. Check out Wired’s Blog
Video games can actually help you to lose weight. The most caloric burnoff comes from games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Nintendo Wii games. Many schools are implementing video games such as Dance Dance Revolution as part of their gym classes. While many people don’t agree that using a video game can be good exercise, I agree with the schools on this matter. If you have ever played Dance Dance Revolution, you would too. It is a very active game, forcing the player to jump, turn, and stomp, usually very fast or they will not get a decent score. You don’t have to have one of these to burn the calories though, you just have to be an active gamer. For example, I am what you would call an active gamer, I really get into my games, I do weird things like moving the controller in the direction I am jumping and moving my head like I am looking over a ledge while the character I am playing looks over the ledge, like that would make me more able to see! I also do other things, but you get the point, you just cannot sit there and not move, or all you will be working out is your thumbs. However, very few games have enough activity to be actually called “exercise.”
The potential weight loss is helped out by the fact that-believe it or not-most gamers do not eat much while they are playing games. Stopping to eat while playing your game can break your concentration, and I myself, while I love Cheetos, cannot stand the mess it leaves on everything, especially a controller. This impacts those people who have the (to most gamers) most enviable job in the world, the video game tester.
Speaking of jobs, playing video games can be beneficial to you wallet as well, even if they are expensive. If you know how, you can write reviews on the games you have played and get paid for them, you can also write guides and walkthroughs, which pay more than reviews. then there is also the video game tester job, but that may not be a viable option for many people (see my article on the life of a video game tester).
Playing a game is not nearly as unhealthy as most people would like to think, but I still would not recommend playing games all of the time (see my article on why video games can be bad for you see my article on why video games can be bad for you ). Playing a game for a little while is not going to hurt you, as I have shown above, it may even help you.
Sources: Time Magazine