Do Video Games Make You Smarter?

Do Video Games Make You Smarter?


Jonathan Ramirez

English V01A

4, October 2016

Can Video Games Make You Smarter?

When I want a way to brighten my day I would go to YouTube and look up to watch one of my favorite game commentators, Markiplier. One of the games he plays while commentating over it is Surgeon Simulator. The title is self-explanatory where the player operates on a person and must grab objects on a table with one hand while using their mouse and keyboard. While I’m watching, and laughing along at many failed attempts by Markiplier, a question forms in my mind that I never really thought of before. What if a game like this one can help train me in a real-life scenario if I studied to become a surgeon? Can video games make people smarter? Studies of video games have been shown to help brain improvement and development certain intelligence. They can build friendships and communities to help build a gamer’s confidence. Some of the skills they learned while playing can actually benefit them in the real world. I enjoy playing video games and I have noticed I have gotten better at spotting details a bit better, how to come up with certain strategies to approach a problem, and how to be more open minded. Maybe video games are not a waste of time as previously thought.

In today’s world, it has been a debate if video games are doing anything good for the people who play them. Many will say that it causes players to be lazy and grades to slip for students because they are not focused on their studies. However, there are benefits in playing video games either on a game console or on a cell phone. Video gamers can develop intelligence such as picking out small details, develop mental reasoning, and have a faster response time. Games such as Battlefield, which is a first-person shooter war game, are fast-paced that requires the player to think about their options and how to quickly act on an objective in the game. Small details in games help a gamer find objects easier if they are hard to spot. A similar situation would be if you are working in the dining area of a busy restaurant while being quick with your feet and you need to priorities your options based on what’s the most critical to get done first and what can be done later. A fast-paced video game can assist in way because it can help someone make a mental list in their head to make their experience either in virtual reality or real life, be less troublesome and always on task.

Not only do video games help bring out intelligence, they also aid gamers in being more social. Online games these days have a multiplayer setting where a player can log into a game platform and play along or against other players they may not know. Many have either a chat or video feed to connect with others and sometimes make friends with other players online. Online gaming also benefits players to become smart when it comes to team work as well as training them on a fixed task. Bruce Wexler, a Yale professor stated in a study, “students who played the video game (Activate) for 20 minutes three times a week for four months performed better on reading and math tests than their peers who did not.” (Shapiro, par 3).  He is implying that games can develop skills for the players to meet a goal and that it could contribute to real world situations to work on projects or goals with other people they do not know.

Players also develop a better imagination and have a more sense of imagery as in they can look at ordinary objects and picture it being used in a different way. An example would be an ordinary shoe box being used to deliver pizza in. People who have an imagination can explore many things in the real world and either picture or use them as something else. Outside the box thinking is used in both real and virtual reality worlds. Inspired gamers who do think outside the box along with their level of creativity can go on to study to become a video game designer or some other related field related to the gaming community. They go onto work for gaming developers such as Dice and E.A. to create a gaming environment to have other players enjoy. In a sense, they are giving back to the gaming community by working on projects and then releasing them to the public. Not only are they giving back but they are putting their knowledge and hard work into their gaming projects. Being a game designer is not easy. Studies such as math and art are what goes into the games to make them how they want the games to be. Many games involve math for building maps and scaling characters to other objects as well as lighting which is important to set the mood for an environment. An example would be Minecraft which is a game where the player can build many buildings or fun objects using blocks as their material to create something both unique and worth being built by the creator. A gamer with a sense of high creativity along with math and lighting skills to create their project in such a game would be a good candidate to work at well-known gaming companies. Sound is a complex thing to add into games. Some are easy to create but others are more elaborate and complex. Sound designers are there to mix different sounds to create new ones for an environment or to make sound effects for whenever a player touches an object or ranks up to the next level. There are many people in a gaming developer company who come together to make a game happen. They use their knowledge of planning, working as team with other artists, and comprising conclusions towards a finished product that would allow other players to enjoy and immerse themselves in a story or even benefit them knowledge wise for the real world.

Video games still bring up debate that games, in particularly first-person shooter games, can turn players violent and could become a danger to the public. As it turns out, the military uses video games that include a level of violence to train their soldiers. Soldiers who are enlisted are video game players as well as stated by Red Cross spokesman, Bernard Berrett, “We know a lot of military off-duty play video games, and a lot of young men and women who are likely to be recruited play video games.” Soldiers could somehow incorporate their video game thinking into their combat training in some form. An example would be they could take the knowledge they know of flying planes or other vehicles in the virtual world and operate drones in other countries. The drones themselves require control and precision by the controller for the military to spy and strike targets. Video game knowledge can be used in the real world such as with drone technology. Using video games to train soldiers can used for a variety of things such as learning combat tactics to learning the language spoken in the Middle East. Daniel Greenberg, President of Media Rez (a Washington based software and game development) states that “he saw no link between violent video games and real world violence…players enjoy experiencing the consequences of their actions” (Soch, par 22). This can confirm that video games with violence and first-person shooting can be used as a teaching tool for the military. It also shows how the player experiences the consequences of their actions whether the game is simulating a scenario during combat or communicating with their fellow comrades. Not only that but it can cut down the hours of training from a few months of training for a soldier down to around 30 hours. People with video game smarts can actually thrive in the real world and in other work fields.

While games can be beneficial for military use, they can also be beneficial in the medical field. In a study done in 2007 by Dr. James Rosser Jr. showed that medical students performed better in simulators used to train for laparoscopic surgery. Gamers can use the developed intelligence of small details and problem solving to their advantage for surgeries or other medical needs. Dr. James Rosser Jr. also states, “surgeons who had played video games in the past for more than three hours per week made 37 percent fewer errors, were 27 percent faster, and scored 42 percent better on laparoscopic surgery and suturing drills than surgeons who never played video games.” (Hampton, par. 5). YouTube gamers such as Markiplier and Jacksepticeye promote video games to catch the communities interest and the gamers express their opinion on the game they’ve played along with their seal of recommendation. With a video game, such as Surgeon Simulator, as mentioned in the first paragraph, is an example of a game that can benefit medical students. Many YouTube gamers have played and recommend its worth playing due to its hair-triggering mechanics. The controls are very sensitive and one false move during the operation could mean disaster for the patient which could result in death if the player doesn’t act quickly to solve the problem and save their patient. But with a game with high sensitivity and meant to simulate an operation in real life could very much train students to be quick with their hands as well as being careful to not do further harm to their patient. Maybe video games are not as all bad as they seem if used in a unique way that includes the involvement of someone’s life on the line.

So, do video games make people smarter? Does it make players lazy or end being a violent individual? It’s actually more beneficial than people realized. Parents should stop going all up in arms about video games harming their children. In a kid’s educational show that I watched as kid, its motto was, “Knowledge is Power”. Seeing it now, knowledge doesn’t have to come from books, manuals, or lectures. It can come from places that others would not have expected from and sometimes it works for them, but not for others.  Video games are used in professional fields and sometimes as a teaching tool. Sometimes people perform better than people who don’t play video games. Maybe video games are not a waste of time as previously thought. Video games can help develop smarts and contribute to the real world to benefit not only the player but to others they connect to.

Works Cited Page

Rees Shapiro “Can video games make kids smarter. Yale University researchers thinks so”.

Washington Post. September 15. Web.

Jonathan Soch “Human rights advocates, military see violent video games as teaching tool.” The

Washington Times. April 19th. 2015. Web

Tracy Hampton, PhD Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center correspondent “Can Video Games

Help Train Surgeons?” Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School

Teaching Hospital. March 2013. Web

 

 

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