The Good and the Bad Side of Gaming

  • July 25, 2017
  • 2-Minute Read

Ever wondered why children play? Well, children play for an evolutionary reason, they create a controlled simulation that helps their brain develop, exercising it or helping it learn things ahead of time.

The human body is like this: when we use something it grows strong, when we do not it grows weak. The brain is similar, except that it does not get stronger doing repetitive tasks — like lifting weights — it needs to learn new things and solve problems in different ways to grow.

Like children's play, games are controlled simulations or representations of reality, they help the brain stay sharp, and depending which games you play, they can improve your cognitive abilities. Shooting and strategy games can help with your reaction time and decision-making, where sandbox games can help with creativity and imagination. They can even help with linguistic skills.

Games are not useless at all like many people thought, but we have to bear in mind that the amount of time and the type of game we play can affect its effectiveness. For example, if you play hundreds of hours of first-person shooting games a month but no other games, you most certainly will reach a level in which there is no novelty anymore.

Dedicating all your mind to play a single game can be detrimental for other aspects of your cognition, specially when it is fruit of obsessive behavior to the point of excluding other normal human activities. Everything that is done in excess can be detrimental.

Gaming should be a fun and varied activity where we explore new worlds and possible realities. It is said that variety is the spice of life and, in truth, the brain loves and feeds of variety. We have to keep in mind too that games are not the only source of improvement and variety in life. Many things give a lot more depth to our experiences than games.