Don’t underestimate the important benefits of gaming

Opinion, Sports

Everyone should devote some time to playing video games, as the list of benefits is as long as Sydney Crosby’s career accomplishments.

It is, of course, imperative to strike a delicate balance between gaming and participating in more traditional hobbies, sports and other recreational activities.

Negative publicity about the potential addictiveness of video games, akin to the tone of most Montreal Canadiens game reports so far this season, has recently taken precedence, the resulting hysteria unfairly stigmatizing some gamers.

But make no mistake, gaming is good for cognitive development; it’s also good for the soul.

The cognitive benefits of playing video games

Engadget, in an enlightening piece published in September, focussed on eight cognitive benefits associated with kids playing video games. Those benefits range from improvement in coordination and multitasking skills to memory enhancement.

While comprehensive, the list certainly isn’t exhaustive.

I remember how effectively playing EA’s NHL and FIFA series garnered – and refined – my competitive nature.

Whether you like to admit it, the world is more competitive than ever before.

Electronic Arts’ (EA) FIFA and NHL labels, along with participating in those sports’ real-life applications, helped ready me to fight tooth and nail for everything I have since strived for.

Playing video games – part of my pre-game ritual

The aforementioned EA labels also add insight and perspective into how best to position yourself in practical sports situations. I can, having avidly played soccer and hockey, back up that assertion. Delving into a few NHL or FIFA games before taking to the pitch or ice prepared me mentally for the challenges that lay ahead.

It allowed me, like a harbinger, to envision situations that could arise against forthcoming opponents. Playing EA’s NHL before strapping on skates was part of my pre-game ritual, the called-upon motor functions sharpening my reaction time and focus.

EA’s Special Effect Program

To further underpin the intrinsic benefit of video games, I turn swiftly to EA’s SpecialEffect program.

A team of therapists and technology specialists dedicate their time to creating bespoke control systems which facilitate disabled gamers with the tools required to proficiently play the games they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

Video games – a way of life

To many, video games aren’t merely seen as a hobby or activity to pass time. Gaming is way of life, a means to sharpen and accentuate ones skill set. Video games can also increase quality of life and build bridges between cultures.

They don’t discriminate and are all-inclusive, embodying many values upstanding citizens pride themselves on.

It’s those tactic perks that fly under the radar, underrated and unheralded.

So grab a controller and dive into the game you’re most passionate about, if not for the reasons I’ve mentioned, than for pure unadulterated fun.

Just remember the old adage “everything in moderation” when playing your favourite game on your preferred console or device.

(Feature image by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Bud Light)

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