People opposed to videogames will always give you reasons why videogames are bad, and how they can influence weak minded people. They will tell you that there is too much violence, it isn’t a social activity and that there are no redeeming qualities to the hobby. Even proponents of videogaming will agree that the hobby and format isn’t perfect, and overly violent games can be detrimental to underdeveloped minds such as young children and the easily influenced. But, that is why there are rules in place to try and keep such games out of the hands of these groups, the ultimate responsibility is on the parents…but that’s another topic altogether.
While there are problems, most mature people can handle this form of entertainment just as well as watching a movie or reading books, and there are even some good things about gaming that can benefit players. It is easy to find positive research concluding that these kinds of programs can be used for learning and can help develop reading and math skills. There is even exciting new research coming out of Australia showing that it can help with coordination and rehabilitation for stroke victims. Games are being specially developed for reintroducing balance and coordination in patients that have recently had a stroke. It is showing positive results and the patients are having a little bit of fun during an otherwise tedious recovery process. There is a two year study ongoing to analyse and record the results, and so far it looks promising.
For anybody that games even a little bit, you already know that it takes hand and eye coordination and plenty of games are text heavy and require well developed reading skills. There is problem solving and critical thinking that goes along with many of these games. Sure, there are plenty of mindless button mashing games, but developed for the right circumstances and situations, these games can be very beneficial for people recovering from different ailments. We saw a rise in non-gamers getting active with the Nintendo Wii and it can only get more interactive as new technologies are developed. So as an industry, gaming is much more than mindless violence and cheap entertainment. There are brilliant minds out there trying to put the entertainment medium that they love to good use, and if you can have a little bit of fun in the process of recovery or learning, it just makes it that much better for the end user.
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