The question has been asked again and again and the bottom line is that there are usually two groups in the mix – people who like computer games and those who don’t. However, there must be some objective data to show us whether these games can be beneficial for studying and learning.
Many titles of the olden days, as well as some modern ones, involve frustrating puzzles and tricks that the player must overcome before progressing. Nowadays, there are online walkthroughs, but the old games would only leave a hint or two inside game guides and magazines about what the correct course of action is supposed to be. Besides, true gamers don’t use cheats or shortcuts. What does this mean? Computer games can improve several cognitive skills in a player, including problem-solving.
Hand-Eye Coordination and Decisions
Action games and games that feature quick-time events give you a very limited time during which you can perform a certain action to save the protagonist from certain doom. I am not talking about simple jumping over a chasm, though there are plenty of games like that. These games can help you think on your feet and react when an alarming situation occurs. Thinks about it – all the benefits of quick reflexes with the proper decision-making process in the mix.
Simulations and Strategies
While there are many computer games out there with questionable content, there are also plenty of strategic and simulation games that can teach a person some real-life skills.
Playing Sims, for instance, lets you tackle all the responsibilities of being an adult and taking care of a person or family, while strategies like Starcraft help you in determining how you can best allocate your resources in real-time.
What Does This Have to Do with Learning Calculus or Biology?
The benefits of playing computer games in a controlled setting, not overdoing it, are the development of cognitive skills and improving coordination and reaction time, as well as management and strategy. To find games that help with specific subjects, you need to do a lot of research, as these games are not always that popular, since they often lack in either entertainment or validity.
Which Games NOT to Play
Games that use loot boxes, booster packs, and other mechanics where you pay for a chance to get a useful item are akin to gambling, so those should be avoided. Games which are free-to-play, but pay-to-win also fall into this category.
Apart from that, simply following the rating system will tell you whether the game in question is suitable for you or your loved ones and the games often come with warnings if they are loaded with gore, sexual themes, or other content that may be inappropriate for certain audiences.