As humans, we are constantly seeking to gain knowledge in order to better ourselves. It’s why we go to school at such a young age and follow through with college, but even past that, we continue to learn and grow. Combine our eagerness to learn with ever-evolving technology, and you’ve got a recipe for success. These days there are several digital forms of learning, like online courses and eLearning content, but video games are actually beneficial for the mind as well (contrary to belief). But with such a large selection of games to choose from, how can you know which ones you should be playing to give your brain a sharpened edge?
First Person Shooters (FPS)
One of the most popular types of video games is the first-person shooter. You’ve probably heard of some of these even if you’re not a gamer, the likes of which include Call of Duty, Halo, Doom, Borderlands, and so many more. FPS games most notably enhance players’ hand-eye coordination for fast-paced gameplay and quick reaction times, which call upon them to use perceptive abilities, be spatially aware of their surroundings, and make split-second decisions under extreme pressure. Many Sports games and action RPGs also urge the mind to make quick analytical decisions.
Strategy games are among the most beneficial for those looking to learn while they play. They require players to manage limited resources, strategize, use logistics, and plan for several moves down the line, similar to chess. They might force players to mix up their tactics in order to complete a task. These types of games also train people to use cognitive skills like reasoning and memory. Some popular strategy games include Halo Wars, Civilization, Age of Empires, and Xcom: Enemy Unknown.
Some of the most stimulating games for your brain are those that require you to solve puzzles. No, not jigsaw puzzles, but the kind of enigmas that require analytical problem solving, deductive reasoning, and creativity. You’ll need to use logic in time-sensitive situations to deduce complex dilemmas and advance in the game. These don’t have to be anything fancy, as many puzzle games are played on smartphones and tablets, but they are certainly found in AAA games, too, and are often combined with platformers and RPGs. These include titles such as Portal, the Batman: Arkham Series, Little Big Planet, It Takes Two, and A Way Out.
As a bonus, many of these games--FPS and Strategy games included--are co-op or allow online multiplayer, which will allow you to play with others to work on team-building skills, collaboration, and communication.
Time to Boot Up That Console
Realistically, most games are going to work the mind in one way or another, but some might do it more efficiently than others. These aren’t the only kinds of games that act as fuel for your mind, either; RPG’s, simulation games, and even horror games all teach the player to use different areas of the brain in unique and creative ways. If you’re a gamer, feel comfort in knowing that you’re not rotting your brain away, but actually putting it to work--so long as you’re not playing too much. And if you’ve never held a controller in your life, give it a try! Not only can these games boost your brain activity, but you might just find that you actually enjoy it.