I, like many children who grew up in the 80s and 90s, spent a lot of time playing video games. We could have spent those hours outside, but we instead chose to stay inside trying to save the princess or collect all seven chaos emeralds. Parents may have been rightly concerned about our habit of playing video games for nine hours straight, but some good may have come out of it.
In the latest video from AsapSCIENCE, they ask if video games can make you smarter. As you might expect, the answer is yes. The how behind it, however, is the surprising part. In a study, scientists had participants play Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day for two months. At the end of those two months, the participants who played video games saw an increase in the areas of their brain related to memory, strategic planning and fine motor skills.
What about violent action games? Surely, games like Call of Duty have no positive side effects, right? Wrong. Studies have shown that those who play action games, like first-person shooters, have better attention-related skills than those who don’t. Studies have also shown that those who play action games are better at differentiating between shades of grey – a skill that degrades as we age.
While video games are helpful and fun, your parents may have been right to scold you for playing Mega Man X for nine hours straight. Too much of anything is a bad thing, including video games. There are unfortunate stories every year of men and women who play games for hours on end to only suffer a heart attack as a result of their sedentary lifestyle.
In short, video games exercise your brain, but they don’t exercise your body. If you find that exercise lacks the fun of video games, you might want to check out one of the many dancing video games that have become rather prominent in recent years.
Image via AsapSCIENCE/YouTube