The Benefit of Games We Don’t Really Talk About
There has been a love-hate relationship between games and the society. For those who love it, games become an ultimate escape from the monotonous of the daily routine. For those who despise it, games become an incidental that seems to disrupt one’s performance and life habit.
However, as the universe recently revolves around technological development, games are one of the instruments that adhere tightly to it. As we cannot run away from that fact, we might as well try to shift our perception about games. Whether on the website, console, or mobile, game apparently hide significant benefits to your daily life, and here is the list to prove you.
- Keep the Stress Away
This will be the mainstream reason on why people play games. Nevertheless, it is an undeniable fact that fun is the strongest element when it comes to games. That element then leads to transform your feeling to be better, even reduce stress, and loosen the pressure whenever you play it. So how do we explain this scientifically?
This phenomenon mainly caused by a basic biological mechanism that happens in human’s brain, the release of dopamine. Dopamine is that “happy hormone” which has the function as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine pathways, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behaviour.
Yes, reward is not a strange word when it comes to games. Whether it’s levelling up, unlocking a new stage, or simply achieving a new item in the quest, the brain translates it as a command to release the dopamine in which brings significant mood transformation to your body as a whole.
- Stimulate Problem Solving and Decision Making Skill
Games with its quests given to the player allowing them to constantly decide, whether it’s as simple as making a jump in the right time or carefully choosing the next path. Therefore, other than fulfilling its entertainment purpose, games are also stimulating your brain to make decisions faster and challenge your problem-solving skill.
A world-renowned designer of alternate-reality games who has a PhD in performance studies, Jane McGonigal, conducts a research about the linkage of video games and problem-solving. She found that strategic games such as StarCraft, a military science-fiction game, can improve the ability to solve imaginary and real-life problems. This can occur on how through games, the players are unconsciously nurtured to both formulating and executing strategic plans in a certain period of time.
StarCraft requires focus and precision on arranging strategy and decision. Image via source
- Improve Multitasking Skill
Games may only give one main quest per level. However, if we look closely, there are many things that need to be done in the same given time in one place. This certainly requires a great deal of focus in finishing not just one task but many tasks in one time. Not only it requires focus, it also needs a multitasking skill in order to fulfil it. By all means, games also practically improve your multitasking skill.
A neuroscientist, Adam Gazzaley, from the University of California, San Francisco, has proven that game can lead to a better multitasking ability. In a study published in Nature, Gazzaley and his colleagues demonstrated that a handful of training sessions behind the wheel in a 3-D racing game could improve multitasking performance. During the research, while racing a car, participants were also instructed to keep an eye out for a specific type of sign and to press a button whenever that particular sign appears.
The need to switch rapidly from driving to responding the sign generates interference in the brain that undermines performance. After one month of research to the participant behaviour, they found a significant improvement of the multitasking ability which lasted up to six months.
Multitasking study research. Image via source
- Make New Friends
On contrary to popular belief saying gamers lack social life, it might be surprising that apparently, such a belief is no other than a degrading myth. Gamers have the same opportunity to interact with the others as much as non-gamers do. At some point, there may have more chance for gamers to make much more new friends than the non-gamers.
In this case, team-game, especially MMORPG game such as Dota 2, Arena of Valor, or other online team-game has the same concept of real-life teaming, with real-life people. Further added, this team doesn’t only contain people nearby but also reaching a wider area in many countries. These games are usually enhanced with in-chat feature, text or voice, allowing players to interact and bond virtually between each other whether through a small talk or even arguments battle.
Dota 2 is able to build its own community, even to have an international championship. Image via source
- Enhance Career Boosting
Quoted from John Hagel III, co-chairman of a tech-oriented strategy center for Deloitte on how the impact of game to one’s work, “We are finding that the younger people coming into the teams who had experience playing online games are the highest-level performers because they are constantly motivated to seek out the next challenge and grab onto performance metrics.” And Hagel is definitely right.
Gamers have the tendency to always seek a new challenge they not yet or cannot achieve before. This desire for challenges have a close linkage to the performance in the workplace and in mostly everything they do. The concept of levelling up in the game is unconsciously applied in finishing task and striving to achieve more.
These benefits listed above will surely boost up your productivity. However, just like every other thing which will never do any good if it is taken a slightly too much. The sense of responsibility and well time management will always come in handy to secure your daily routine, yet still support your love for the game.