Video games sometimes get a bad rap. But that ignores a fundamental fact of gaming – playing games works on our natural learning and reward-based systems in our brains.
The pastime of healthy gaming provides an enjoyable distraction and improves the quality of life of not just a gamer, but many, many others. Here are some examples of games changing lives.
“Serious games and virtual environments are the future of education” says Dr. Jeffrey Taekman, the director of Duke University’s Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center in a recent study on gaming in education. Conducted by the Education Development Center and the U.S Congress-supported Ready to Learn Initiative, this study found that a learning program involving digital media like video games could actually improve literacy skills early on in a child’s life.
About a decade ago, Child’s Play was founded by the creator of Penny Arcade. With a simple mission of bringing gamers together to help sick children, they’ve raised an amazing 17 million dollars for children’s charity in hospitals – from gamers and by playing games. Check out Child’s Play Website for more information on the many community events they run.
Next time you go into the doctor, you should ask what games they’ve been playing. One study in New York showed that doctors who played video games were found to be better laparoscopic surgeons and not by a small amount – up to 47% fewer errors and completed the procedures 39% faster! And in other cases, high school student gamers could match the skill of trained surgeons.
For the record, I picked my dentist after an ideal doctor-patient gaming experience. I stopped by to see his clinic, and after spotting my Borderlands T-shirt, he asked me about my favorite character class. Let me tell you – someone who can pull off a snap critical hit is exactly the kind of person you want to be holding a drill in your mouth.
What are some of your favorite video games that help you learn or that you play with friends? Tweets us! We’d love to hear from you.