Video games are no stranger to criticism. Over the years, they’ve been blamed for encouraging laziness, fostering the development of brain rot (or other cognitive limitations), and even increasing violence (despite no real evidence to back up the claim).
But like any technology, video games aren’t inherently good or evil; all that matters is how you use them. There are actually several benefits to playing video games regularly, and with the right gadgets and devices in tow, you can enhance those benefits significantly.
The Benefits of Video Games
How exactly can video games be good for you?
- Spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills. For starters, most video games challenge you to navigate a specific landscape or resolve tough space-related puzzles. And almost all video games offer some kind of tactical or mental challenge to resolve. The combination of these features gives video games the power to improve your spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills.
- Creativity. One study from Michigan State University found that children who played video games regularly showed signs of increased creativity when compared to other children. This goes against conventional wisdom, which suggests that video game exposure hinders novel thought.
- Pain and craving relief. It’s no surprise that video games are a major distraction, but that distraction can be positive. Research shows that video games can provide some measure of pain relief, and one study on Tetris found that regular video game playing can reduce cravings for unhealthy choices, like drugs and unhealthy foods.
- Vision and processing. Though you might think video games harm your vision more than help, one study found that participants who played video games regularly had higher contrast sensitivity, giving them better night vision and low-light vision overall.
Gear to Improve Those Benefits
If you want to make the most of your positive video gaming experience, these are the gadgets that can help you:
- A VR headset. If you want to increase your spatial reasoning even beyond what ordinary video games can do for you, consider investing in a virtual reality (VR) headset. The low-cost Oculus Go is a good entry point if you’re looking for a budget model; otherwise, you might choose a device that’s compatible with your console of choice or a high-end model that can give you all the resolution and features you need for the full experience.
- Quell. If you suffer from chronic pain and use video games as a source of distraction and relief, you should consider investing in Quell. Quell is a wearable device that attaches to the calf and provides transcutaneous electrical wave stimulation (TENS) to stimulate the body’s production of natural opiates. Think of it as a targeted, shock-driven device that can relieve your pain.
- Anti-reflective coating. If you wear glasses and play games regularly, it’s a good idea to invest in an anti-reflective coating for your lenses. This coating filters out some of the reflected light you see through your glasses, which gives you a better view of your gaming experiences and may support your vision improvement.
- A 3D printer. If video games stimulate your creativity, consider investing in a 3D printer, which can help you create just about anything you can imagine. These days, you can get a basic model for just a few hundred dollars, and if you’re willing to spend a grand or so, you can get something capable of printing bigger, more durable items.
- An ergonomic chair. If you plan to spend more than half an hour playing your favorite video game (and let’s face it, you will), you should invest in an ergonomically designed video game chair. You have many options to choose from here, including multiple variations in structure, materials, and extra features, so pick the model that best suits your lifestyle. Not only will this chair keep you comfortable for longer, it can also improve your posture, so you can reduce the risk of strain or injury.
Though video games aren’t a purely healthy activity, they do have significant benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you have gadgets like these to make your experience even more beneficial, you can relax comfortably knowing your habit is doing more good for you than harm. Still, it’s a good idea to put limits in place for yourself; by paying attention to what types of games you play and how often you play them, you can be doubly sure your habit remains a healthy one.