Reality Check - 3 Ways Games Are Good For You!

Cam scours the latest scientific research for positive news stories about playing video games, and comes back with three fascinating results for us.

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Reality Check
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Avatar image for natanmir

i learned english through a online game! not school. i played maplestory for years! and now i know about 80% english. when i started playing maplestory back in 2005 my english was poor. i didn't even know what "offer" means.

Avatar image for dunkanlords

about language that is 100% ture i could not learn it in school (English is far from national language (Latvia)) now i have 0 problems to understand 95% (damn i dont know scientific words that well:D) but that halped really a lot

Avatar image for aalever

It's really interesting to hear the advantages of gaming, but I'm also interested to hear the disadvantages (to remove bias). There's a media perception that the amount of video games children play is on the increase, and that this may damage their physical health, face-to-face social abilities, and in some cases mental wellbeing. But is there any truth to any of it, Cam? Parents want to know! :)

Avatar image for vanti

I'm Swedish and I can definitely attest to games being a major factor in me learning English. Especially early on. I wanted to play those sweet video games. That also lead me to an interest in computers which also is an area where English skills are important and of course later on when the internet became a thing in the late nineties. Sweden not dubbing movies except for children's movies also helped a lot.

Avatar image for waelse1

When my nephew was about 5 he would play computer games with text bubbles telling him information, and he was constantly dragging me or someone to read it for him. He eventually learned to read these messages and now reads very well. I'd say gaming gave him early encouragement to learn to read.

Avatar image for teske4444

I learned things about my mom I never would have known without first-person shooters.

Avatar image for Bavoke

i learned english mainly trough games, playing pokémon at 10 in english while my mothertongue is dutch for example

Avatar image for Zloth2

Hmm... a good game is very engrossing. That's handy for me when I'm sick. If I can get focused on a video game instead of, say, how much I need to cough right now, it seems to cut the symptoms down.

How about spatial skills? We navigate through a lot of 3D areas in our gaming. Recent, ultra-linear games might not be helping as much as playing a game of Descent but still.

Avatar image for ALLoY1717

Topic Idea

During a recent IGN podcast (Beyond 364, referenced again in 365 about 11 minutes in) one of the hosts was recounting the point at which he inexplicably had to swap from an inverted FPS control scheme to standard because the inverted method he had used his entire life suddenly no longer worked for him. As if his brain stopped functioning that way. I myself experienced this, honestly quite jarring and surprising change in habits a year or two after the launch of the PS2. Evidently as to did many others who wrote into the show to share their accounts of this strange phenomenon. I created a forum post way back when on Gamespot about it, looking for more people who have had this happen to them and to my surprise there were a fair number but none seemed to have a satisfactory explanation as to why.

I think an investigation into an explanation as to why this happens to a lot of people could be an interesting topic for an episode considering the number of people who experience this is far more than at least I initially expected.

Love the show keep it up!!!


Avatar image for pgl163

Some people just bad at something,me and my pal like to play shooters but he is much more slow at them,and when we played real football he was also a noob at it,while I scored 2 goals.Last week we went to jump on trampoline and guess what,I learned to do a backflip in 10 minutes while he couldn't jump and land on a same spot:)

Avatar image for InYourMouf

I've read numerous times that gaming also improves your ability to point out details in the environment, particularly first person shooters.

Avatar image for DeltaMike90

The first part surprises me. I would have thought action gamers would be better at following the random movement as well. I think the gamers showed better pattern recognition, not better hand-eye.

I can think of some other benefits of games, apart from the enjoyment. Simulations are obviously useful for training people for real tasks. Action and timed puzzle games require players to make many rapid decisions with high accuracy. And strategy games require us to make complex decisions and balance short- and long-term considerations.

All games (apart from games of chance) give us skills. Some are more applicable to real life than others.

Avatar image for zeldafan195

Hard to believe video games improve your English when half the commentors don't know the difference between 'then' and 'than'.

Avatar image for TheDecree

I want to know who at GS cant ride a bike

Avatar image for PeterDuck

Interesting thing about the bike riding though, 90-95% of the time I bike without touching the handle and I also make turns most of the time without touching the handle.

Avatar image for LJNkickstarter

@PeterDuck Bravo.

Avatar image for naryanrobinson

Interesting episode. I hadn't thought about or heard the second reason before.

Also, what's the music you guys use for this show, and for your shows in general? Are they composed specifically, or are they under creative commons licenses?

Avatar image for vanti

@naryanrobinson I think they have a subscription to some service for royalty free music.

Avatar image for PeterDuck

One of the great reasons gaming is good for you is it helps you stay single.

You get a lot less headache that way.

Avatar image for PETERAKO

I got a boost in english learning

Avatar image for deactivated-584419ec3a052

@PETERAKO As did I. I was an especially hardcore gamer throughout my childhood and English was also my strongest subject. I can believe there's a correlation there, since I'd always ask my nanna (who'd often watch me) what certain words that appeared on the screen meant.

Avatar image for Brando008

Great episode Cam!

Avatar image for bicelis

Gaming can also make you think and feel. A good story can have a relatively strong impact on a persons thinking. That story can be in the form of a movie, TV show, book or a game for that matter. Some of my favorite stories or worlds in general are from games.

Avatar image for gralvader

Games did improve my vocabulary and my grammar knowledge. I can say that for non English native speakers playing games is an excellent way to learn the language.

Avatar image for LJNkickstarter

@gralvader As long as your paying attention.

Avatar image for vanti

@LJNkickstarter @gralvader *you're ;)

Avatar image for xboxonly1

My teacher told me to play more video games to help with my hand eye co-ordination, since then my hand writing has improved.

Avatar image for bigrod69

Great news: If you're sitting inside all day on your behind and never leave your home you're much less likely to get ebola!

Avatar image for adro191

I must say my reaction time greatly improved, many times things would fall over and I'd catch them before falling on ground, would like to think this is because of gaming.

Avatar image for bomboy2121

**** yea! gamers ftw!!

Avatar image for Code135

Oh yes, children are very good at English at young age when it's not their native tongue ... they can swear at you in more ways in English then, say Spanish or German or whatever. You'll be surprised at how consoles in particular stimulate player "interaction" via voice chat !

Avatar image for bomboy2121

@Code135 tottaly true

when i was young i played stuffs like loz link to the past and sonic and now im at class 5 in english (which is for the smartest in english)

today my littile brother know how to say stuffs like that and its pissing me off

the new genaraiton will be the cod kids XD

Avatar image for Lei_11

@Code135 lol true. When I was young, games like civ1, age of empires and other offline games ruled my life. I'd say I definitely had a significant boost in my non-native English skills because of them, but granted; they were a lot more civilized in language

Avatar image for deactivated-57d0fe42747d9

Thanks for making me feel better about my gratuitous playing of video games, Cam. I'm still not 100% convinced about the whole "video games improve your grasp of the English language" thing though. Have you read some of the comments on this website?

Avatar image for JohnyMyko

@plastiqueworld My native language isn't English and I can guarantee you videogames help A LOT. Movies and TV Shows do it too, but there's subtitles in that. Most of what I know of English language was learned by playing videogames and reading english subtitles (when available). We have to learn the language by ourselves to understand what we're interacting with.

Avatar image for deivis_sc

@plastiqueworld Actually it does. Well I'm not perfect at English. But there was times when I couldn't understand English at all. And I mean at all. In school 4-10 grades my English pretty much was worth only 3 (Our grading system is from 1 to 10). So well I couldn't do it. After 10th grade I left school since I was literally complete loser. And well when I left, for 1year (after finally getting back to school and later to collage) I was playing RPG games day by day for whole year. Oblivion, Morrowind and stuff, making choices in the game I didn't really understood. So bit by bit I actually started to learn and by the end more or less I understood English without much problem. Of course later I improved my English. But pretty much for a basics and good starting point I should thank to video games. I liked them and by doing what I like I managed to learn what I was bad at.

Avatar image for Ultima_Dragoon

GTA taught me how to function in society. Thanks, GTA!

Avatar image for Alex4789123

I know playing MMOs taught me how to type better than any class in school ever did.

Avatar image for VegasDawg

Surgeons , Nascar use video game to sharpen their skills. Hand eye coordination and I find I usually have faster reflexes than most people.

Avatar image for SpLiTMaN

.Eve-Online...or How to create manage expand develop and maintain a company...

Avatar image for GraveUypo

what's a three way game?

Avatar image for Renoo27

Good stuff, Cam. Perhaps this is why I passed my driving test the first time. =D

Avatar image for SingletreeAve

I've noticed that I'm much better at video games when I played stoned, so that skill must also translate to real life. Say what you want but... wait, what were we talking about again?

Avatar image for amdreallyfast

You should add, "in moderation" :)

Excessive video gaming, like an excess of just about anything, could be a sign of depression and obsession. I was recently reading a developer's article on Gamasutra called "Anything But Games". I think that the gist of the article was that it is important for game developers to be grounded in a reality outside video games. I think the same can be said of gamers.

On a lighter note, I think that playing certain games can give you a boost to your ability to tell an interesting story. Some games tell stories very well, and I feel that I've picked up a liking for music and story styles from RPGs that I've played.

Avatar image for DiamondDM13

Learned English when I was 7 years old, starting with Pokemon Yellow, self-taught. Thanks Nintendo!

Avatar image for thermalmotion

Gamespot, for some reason the comment section doesn't load for me sometimes, and the only way to fix this is to log out and back in again. Why does this happen?


Avatar image for VegasDawg

@thermalmotion Same problem, I have to delete my cookies.

Avatar image for amdreallyfast

@thermalmotion Same here. And sometimes videos don't load until I start downloading something else, like my video request got stalled until something else started downloading. It's a shame too because some of the videos are really interesting.

Avatar image for aegis_kleais

@thermalmotion You're not the only one. Loading the the comments seems to be random at times. Not sure if it's a scripting issue of or if a 3rd party interface is not responding in a timely manner.

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