It may surprise you to discover that games can help kids more than distracting them from their studies! But wait, before you sign your child up on the app for brain-boosting such as Lumosity, keep reading! In fact, research also says that mainstream games would significantly boost their cognitive abilities than those specifically designed to do so.
From the research that comes to us through two universities, North Carolina State and Florida State, we find that mainstream games do even more. They improve the attention span, sense of spatial orientation, and the problem-solving abilities in players.
Moreover, in the book, Super Better, the author presents a theory on why this may be so. According to her, the complexity of the traditionally designed games and the dexterity it takes to master them, challenges the players.
Intrigued? Interested in putting the theory to a test? Want to have fun and stimulate your mental muscles at the same time? Then here are four games that can help you do both:
#1 Call of Duty
Who hasn’t heard of this one? By now, even people who haven’t played it are familiar with its name. If you aren’t, here’s the short version. You land in it and find that there is a trio of warring factions. The Americans and Brits team, the brutal Russians from Urzikstan, and a terrorist group called Al-Qatala.
As you play, you realize that things aren’t as cut and dry as you initially thought them to be. The various twists and turns will keep you mentally focused while your reflexes work to help you survive.
So, what does playing a fast-paced game like this mean for your problem-solving skills? Since the Call of Duty is a first-person shooter game, engaging with it can help improve your visual attention skills. You also develop sharper spatial-intelligence. Both these factors may work in your favor when you tackle the STEM subjects!
Even though Forza uses the UK as its setting – a place not exactly famous for wonderful roads – it shows you an idealized and romantic version of it. You won’t find traffic that lasts for several hours, clogging the M25 in Forza. You won’t be disappointed by the dispiriting stretches of the North Circular.
What’s more, there aren’t urban sprawls that meet the eye or the rubbish suburbs. The place is bereft of any people for the most part.
So, when you step into Forza Britain, you instantly get a house – something else that doesn’t happen in the real-life UK. The place is a gift because you helped out some moviemakers with stunts during a shoot. You won’t even know when the first five or six hours whizz by. During them, you work your way through various racing events all on your own.
But then, the situation shifts and you find other drivers sharing the roads with you. Feel free to challenge anyone you want or ignore them. You can also team up if you desire. Either way, seasons change in Forza and bring with them a new selection of races and limited-edition vehicles. So, you just keep racing for as long as you want to.
Now, what does this fast-paced game, “Forza,” do for your problem-solving abilities? Well, for one, this car-racing game teaches you how to make accurate decisions while under stress. It’s a skill that will help you in many areas of your life. Find more similar games here.
#3 Grand Theft Auto
In this fictionalized version of LA, you play as one of the criminals. You may find yourself in the shoes of a middle-aged gangster who has just embraced retirement. Or, you could pick the drug-addled psychopath whose actions defy interpretation. There is also a novice who is testing the waters of the life of crime. And don’t worry; you can switch between characters should you want to!
As a player, you will have a role in this dramatic criminal saga. One day, you may be stealing cars while the other sees you carrying out a heist. If it isn’t either of those, then taking revenge on rivals is another activity you could be embroiled in. Having to mow down both the law and civilians is just a way of life in Grand Theft Auto. The point is that the choice of what you do will be all yours.
Now, what can acting like a criminal in the big, fictional LA version do for you? Since you will regularly come across high-stress situations, the game – and others like this one — trains you to process information faster. You will also become more adept at keeping track of what you learn.
#4 Greedy Gnomes
In this deceptively simple game by Unlimited Gamez Mo, you find two greedy gnome brothers, Us and Zus. They are playing a peculiar game that involves the use of precious stones as pawns. Inside the game – and their vault deep in the ground — the siblings will sit on gold piles. When their turn arrives, Us and Zus will throw gems on the board and try to line 4 of them in a row. The player who manages that will score in Greedy Gnomes.
As you strategize to get the gems to line up for you, your ability to solve problems improves. At the moment, you’re setting your brain against the puzzle in the game. Later, you will apply the skill to real-life situations.
It’s plain that what we now know about game-based learning isn’t definitive. We discover more every day, and that is a good thing. It helps dispel false information about how such games only waste our time.
Enhancing our pool of knowledge about learning of this kind will require multi-disciplinary collaboration. So, keep playing and help drag out the name of these tools from the swamp of video game violence. The game isn’t over yet!