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March 9, 2012 at 3:47 PMComments: 2 Faves: 1

Game On You Crazy Genius

By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This Author

About 40 years ago, the first coin-operated arcade games came onto the scene and sparked what would be the passion of millions for years to come. This invention began what could be seen as one of the largest neurological studies that has ever taken place.

Pros and Cons

Over the years, gaming has evolved into an entertainment entity all its own, garnering fans and continuously making headlines (both positive and negative). Currently, the $25 billion a year industry reaches across the globe, ever evolving into something new and exciting, capturing the hearts and minds of new beings by its very existence.

Not all is well when you come into the spotlight though. Being the first entertainment medium to allow the user to participate in the action that is portrayed on the screen has caused an outcry from those that believe the effect on the brain is too dangerous to allow gaming to continue in its current capacity. Countless legislative reforms, law suits, PTA meetings, and sore losers have attempted to topple the behemoth that is gaming, all to no avail.

Today, researchers release data that has been accumulating since the beginning of gaming time, and the results are sure to resonate with some, while grinding on others.

Covet Thy Brain...

Researchers found that those who played action based games on a regular basis (one to two hours a day) showed a marked increase in creativity, decision making, and perception, just to name a few. Other specific benefits like improved hand-eye coordination, night vision, and reaction time were also documented as being drastically improved by gaming.

The study showed those gamers had the ability to make decisions, at not only a faster rate than the average human (six decisions per second vs. the average four), but the decisions made were incredibly accurate. Along with increased decision making processes, gamers had the ability to track up to six moving objects at the same time, as compared to the four that most keep in their mind.

The studies also found that women, who comprise 42 percent of the gaming community, were able to better manipulate objects of the 3D realm, a trait usually reserved for the male persuasion.

It is worth saying, at this point, that these studies were done by neurological professionals, not the gaming industry.

All In Moderation...

Not all is golden in the land of control though. Researchers also found that violent video games can depress the region of the brain that regulates emotional control, and that sitting on the couch for an extended period of time can cause you to be overweight, introverted, and prone to depression. Who knew?

Justification For A Meanie...

There is a reason that evolution is difficult to prove, it takes a long time. We can track our past until we are blue in the face, but most need to see the result before they grasp the concept. With gaming we have had the luxury of watching the beast evolve from infant to the form it is today. When looking at it in this light, pointing the finger at all its faults is extremely easy, while embracing its impact has remained hard for those that don't partake in the glory.

For those of us that take refuge in the warm embrace of fictional reality, we see what has transpired with more clarity than most. We see that there is a generation of ignorant, bastard children rising through our ranks, tarnishing what used to be pure with their hate filled rhetoric. At one point in time, it was enough to silence these fools with the ever faithful mute button, but that time has passed. We see now, their hatred puts in peril the very body of work that we have come to love and we will fight to maintain what integrity it has left with every button mashing muscle that remains.

I say to you now...come, join the ranks...view your future...embrace the revolution.


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  • "The study showed those gamers had the ability to make decisions, at not only a faster rate than the average human (six decisions per second vs. the average four), but the decisions made were incredibly accurate." Based on this seems like everyone could benefit from a little gaming to increase their decision-making time. However, is this study based on the fact that people who constantly game have higher decision-making skills? If someone wasn't an avid gamer, would they still benefit from gaming say 20 minutes per day? What's your take on that E.M?

  • In order to benefit from gaming, you need to put in at least an hour a day and the game needs to be action oriented (no Sims, BrainQuest, etc). This ends up being a pretty selective group of games: first and third person shooters, flight simulators, driving simulators, some action role-playing-games, and a small group of others.

    As to the type of decision making skills that a gamer possesses, it has more to do with the amount of decisions made within a certain amount of time and the accuracy of the decisions made. I don't necessarily think that, when faced with some type of critical decision, a gamer represents the superior option based solely on their gaming ability. No doubt this study was based on tests of a more simple nature, like track the circles and pick out the correct object while being bombarded with incorrect objects.

    I would love to say that being a gamer makes you a superior being in all regards, but that just isn't true. You will however, with some practice, possess cat-like reflexes and an incredible ability to track multiple movements in a wide area.

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