…if you’re in your 60s or 70s.
Reuters Health reports that a study of seniors conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that playing strategy-heavy videogames “improved their scores on a number of tests of cognitive functions”. The testees (hah!) who played the game for a full month apparently showed growth in memory, reasoning skills, and the ability to multi-task. In other words, they got smarter.
The game used for the study was Rise of Nations, and the researchers don’t know if other strategy games or games from other genres would produce similar results. I found RoN fairly interesting, but no more engaging or mentally taxing than a score of others like it.
I have always claimed that playing videogames is more productive than watching TV or movies. Gaming may make you look like a zombie, but it still requires user participation, whereas TV does not. Most of the ignorant fools I am surrounded by (read: friends) scoff at such ideas. Now sweet victory is mine.
To be fair, the scientists stressed that this was the first time a study like this had been conducted, and therefore, more research was needed to confirm the results. I know they’re being cautious, but my gut tells me that if a senior citizen can either sit drinking mint juleps and complaining about “kids today” or play an intense strategy-based videogame, that the latter will be better for their mental development.
Now, if only a study would come out proving that playing Fight Night Round 3 built up your biceps, or playing Oblivion made you a sorcerer. That would make my day.