The 7 Benefits of Being a Gamer

I love video games.  I love the adventure aspect, leveling up, the stories that emerge, the world I help create, the characters I grow to know and the music which envelopes each new pocket of digital reality.   

I remember as a young kid, watching my brothers play Super Mario and Zelda on the Super Nintendo and then learning to play them along with Donkey Kong Country.  Then, as we grew older we adapted the PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3.  Even though my brothers branched off into the Xbox regions and, I, into PC gaming, I will always have a soft spot for Spyro and the original two Star Wars Battlefronts, all of which were featured on the PlayStation chain I left behind. 

Now, my fellow gamers understand these feelings of love (and hate in some cases... *cough* *cough* Dark Souls *cough*) that comes from playing video games.  Love is not the only benefit of gaming, but there are actually a lot of other benefits to getting down and gaming (that one sounded better in my head). 

1. A Better Memory. 

Remember playing those mini-games were you have to recall which barrel has the special item in it after being shuffled about?  Or patterns and memory puzzles?  We thought we were just looking for another life 1UP but really our brains were being trained not only to remember where things were but to recall faster than the average non-gamer. 

2. Faster Reflexes. 

Come on, this one was a given.  You want to know why?  Because if you hesitate in war, you'll get killed, soldier!  Anyone who has played Halo, Dark Souls, Borderlands, Call of Duty or any fighting game whatsoever knows that. 

Or even if it is just the old arcade games when your timing had to be on point.  Timing and reflexes are everything.  I've gripped one to many controls in aggressive fury due to not taking heed to one of these key elements while moving through a level.  

3. Multitasking?  Bring it on

I can tell you from personal experiences, I can do homework and play Borderlands at the same time. It usually takes me longer to do my homework than necessary and I don't advance as much as I should in the game during the time played.  But that's besides the point.  

In a more serious note, gamers, due to our fast reflexes and memory strength, can multitask faster than someone who is not a gamer.  On the flip side, we also can get pretty focused on one task and follow it through to completion.  

4. Completion and Perfection. 

Have you ever played a game which you loved and it has a percentage meter of how much of the game you've gone through?  Arkham Asylum or any of the Lego games are a good example of this.  Everytime a new achievement or skill is unlocked, you get a little closer to 100%.  

THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN BEATING THE GAME BUT ONLY HAVING 80% COMPLETION. As humans, we have a strong need for closure.  As gamers, we have a strong need for perfection.  Which can be a great quality almost to a fault.  Because you say, "I'm just going to fix this side of my house" and several hours later you emerge from Minecraft solely for the reason to pee.  It's nature way of pulling us back to reality when we can't figure out of to perfect the game.  

5. Better Vision Sensory. 

Graphics have gotten better over time.  All you would have to do is look at Tomb Raider and her progression to see this truth.  (Though I still have a soft spot for the 8-bit style and retro arcade games.)  But because sensory vision is such a key to gaming, it's no wonder that gamers pick up on visual cues quickly.  A lot of brain power is put into interpreting this visual information until it becomes a well-practiced habit. 

This can make gamers keen on what is going on around us, even when it doesn't seem like we are paying attention.   

6. Stress Relief is a Few Headshots Away. 

Work was hard today, I dealt with every idiot who lives in Utah, I swear!  What better way to deal with this frustration and stress than to turn on a game and kill 100s upon 100s of zombies?  I imagine my fellow gamers will stand by me when I say there is a sweet inner release when you name a few enemies a specific name (usually a particular idiot) and then proceed to wipe them off the face of the digital world. 

It's all the fun of mass murder, with none of the hardship of prison.  I really see no downside.  Plus when I tell people, "You're the reason I game," they usually have no idea what I mean.  Win, win.  

Also, when stressing about school or money, playing more passive games helps distract the mind as it subconsciously filters through the life woes as one consciously filters through world maps.  

7. It Brings You Together with Your Loyal Friends.

In my humble opinion, nothing says loyal like the one friend who offers to be the Medic in a game.  It's like the being the designated driver.  We all love them, but we never want to be them.  And when you are fighting in a game alone, you feel powerful.  But when you are in a team, you become unstoppable!   

Gaming helps bring people together and feel less lonely.  My brother and I actually grew closer together the more we played Call of Duty. It is the sense of teamwork and loyalty that keeps a team strong.  Even when gaming online, you have to trust your teammates.  It is so much better in pairs. 

Plus, competing against your friends is always fun too.  Especially when you whoop their noob butts.

Now, there are countless other ways being a video game enthusiast is healthy and fun, but I won't drone on and on.  I just will end this with the challenge to try a new game and feed your inner gamer.  Even if you've never done it before, because I believe everyone has one, whether it be for online games or tetris.  And when it comes down to it, life is too short to live in only one world.