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The Positives of Gaming

Welcome to part 3, in this third and final video, we’ll be looking at the numerous interpersonal and mental skills that can be developed and transferred from the virtual field of play, into everyday life.

In Part 1 we outlined the focus of this series and examined whether the evidence around the negative aspects of gaming often discussed within the media hold up to scientific scrutiny. In Part 2, we then examined the literature around the positive aspects of gaming and once again, examined the available evidence. In this video, we delve into the transferable skills that can be developed while gaming and the types of roles and activities these can support offline.

Whether it’s school, further education, or a career pathway; there are many skills that are essential and desired by oneself, and by an employer or educator. Buzzwords like ‘communication’, ‘teamwork’ and ‘analytical skills’ are conveyed through job advertisements and academic curriculums.

Video gaming once again provides the perfect platform for nurturing and honing the attributes that are heavily sought after. So here are just a “few” benefits from playing games that seamlessly transfer into the current World.

Development of interpersonal skills- Interpersonal skills are described as: The skills we use every day when we communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups.

Most online multiplayer games require a high level of communication, cohesion and teamwork. Being able to gel and work collaboratively with others is absolutely vital in any environment.

Mental skills- Also known as psychological skills, these are essentially “tools for the mind”. Which include skills such as positive self-talk, enhancing confidence, goal setting, stress control and achieving the most productive mindset.

Video games have been shown to boost self-esteem and confidence, and the dynamics of most games facilitate goal setting, efficiency, relaxation, patience, and many other virtues that are constantly utilised in academic and work environments.

Gaming harnesses and develops your mental skillset, improving concentration, emotional regulation and thought control; while also providing a way to relax and positively escape.

Development of cognitive skills- Which are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason and pay attention. These skills work cohesively to take in and identify information, process the relevant points, and move them into your bank of knowledge. Think of your cognitive ability like a muscle, the more you condition and utilise these skills, the more efficient they become.

Playing video games is like a workout for your cognitive skills, because a plethora of cognitive functions are taking place constantly, the multi-dimensional aspects of gaming provokes a multi-functional response from the user, which enhances many desirable cognitive attributes that are pivotal in real-life.

Here are just some of the the numerous cognitive skills developed from playing in the virtual World:

  • Problem solving and logic- puzzles and overcoming adversities are part and parcel of nearly every video game.
  • Planning and resource management- Forward planning and knowing what items or objects you have at your disposal is a frequent occurrence in most games.
  • Multi-tasking and tracking shifting variables- Players and game environments are constantly changing, handling and tracking multiple stimuli is a necessity when playing.
  • Quick thinking, fast analysis and decision-making- a fraction of a second, the mishandling of information, or one bad decision can be the difference between winning and losing, so you better think fast!
  • Strategy and anticipation- strategising and predicting the behaviour of opponents is half the battle, especially when playing online.
  • Situational awareness- Games provide an exposure to a variety of unique situations, over time you learn what responses are best for certain scenarios.
  • Reading and maths skills- Reading, language and mathematics are fundamental in most games, especially mental arithmetic (woman equation meme).
  • Perseverance- Probably the most prevalent skill required for all games, not giving up on a level, or trying to reach a higher rank is commonplace in the gaming world.
  • Enhanced memory- ‘All is mind’ when it comes to games, filtering and remembering information is pivotal, and something you do all the time in everyday life.
  • Improved concentration- Honing your game skills improves your attentional focus.
  • Mental mapping- A combination of memory and awareness, being able to mentally map your position and the environment itself leads to an improved performance outcome, while you won’t be expected to remember every peek angle of your office building (CS Office game), the skills required will easily transfer into many real-world situations.
  • Pattern recognition- Another facet of memory and awareness, this can be anything from puzzle and problem solving, to recognising behaviours of your opponents.

And finally: Management skills- Objectively there are many simulation games where you take on the role of a manager, whether it’s a sports team, a theme park, or a bespoke diner, you’re in charge. From an online, competitive perspective, this could mean managing or captaining an esports team while playing in a league or tournament, or even more casual like taking on the role of shot-caller in ranked games (Rush B).

To conclude, video games can be a positive way to cope with the stressors of life, be used to maintain social relationships with friends, provide opportunities to form new connections with others, and develop mental and interpersonal skills that can be transferred into real world situations. As long as your game time doesn’t start to outweigh other essential acts and responsibilities, gaming is arguably one of the best hobbies you can implement into your daily life. And I’m sure the ever growing population of 3.24 billion gamers worldwide would agree with me.