As you have probably figured out by now, I am a bit of a gaming fan. I am by no means an expert and there are many genres of games that I know nothing about, however, I totally understand the appeal of gaming.
I often hear (and have heard many times from my own parents) that gaming is a waste of time. That there is no “real” benefit. It’s not like a team sport where you get fit or win trophies or fame and glory, you can’t make a living playing games BLAH BLAH BLAH.
Um, excuse me. That’s completely untrue.
YOU CAN TOTALLY GET FIT AND WIN TROPHIES AND GET FAME AND GLORY AND EVEN MAKE A LIVING PLAYING GAMES! GET OFF MY BACK MUM!
Haha, but yelling caps aside, gaming isn’t the time waster a lot of people think it is.
Even before the advent of the internet, LAN parties, where my older brother’s friends all brought their desktop computers over to each other’s houses and connected them together to play co-operative games were a thing. I remember thinking what nerds they were but now look back nostalgically at their dedication to gaming and friendship. And apparently they are still a thing:
Just look at those glorious nerds. Look at them.
I know from personal experience that gaming can get you out and be more social. A few years ago when I bought my first Nintendo 3DS I joined a Facebook group called StreetPass Brisbane which organises meet ups for gamers using the 3DS to game together and collect digital puzzle pieces when their consoles came in close contact with one another. I made some awesome friends with people of all ages.
So, gaming can be like a team sport. It can be co-operative. It is goal oriented. You can win awards and get trophies. But can it get you fit? You betcha.
I for one know this to be true. Depending on the game of course.
It is becoming increasingly popular to have “augmented reality” games where the “real world” is incorporated into the game. I downloaded an app on my phone in an attempt to find motivation to run again after a pretty horrific ankle tendon injury (I ripped two tendons apart, ouch). I was getting bored of my other running apps which basically tracked your route and told you how fast you went. I was told to try out “Zombies, Run!“. It is a GREAT app.
But, you can’t make money playing games, right?
According to Business Insider you can. Last year they compiled a list of the highest earning gamers. One gamer reportedly earned US$25 000 from one tournament. That’s some pretty serious cash. Along with sponsorship money, you could totally earn a living playing games. These professional gamers even get to play games before they are released and are employed by game maufacturers to test the games for bugs. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
So gaming is pretty great. Still don’t believe me? A humble teacher and blogger? Okay, I guess you don’t have to, but here is a great TED talk from an actual brain scientist to outline the benefits for playing video games, not just for kids but adults too.
Baveliar, D. (2012). Your Brain on Video Games. Retrieved 10/10/15 from https://youtu.be/FktsFcooIG8