The Wonders of Video Games
Video Games keep improving with each new installment. Taking this into consideration, I wrote two articles about different ways to gather income by playing Video Games. Either by searching for a professional career, from which you can earn a lot of cash by winning tournaments. The other article was about earning money by just streaming your daily gaming sessions on Twitch. Is not that hard to set all things up and start quickly your stream. But it requires a lot of patience and some investment at first to have a good income.
There are other ways that video games can help you if you aren’t that interested in joining the aforementioned paths. Whether your heart drives you, video games can be a tool to Improve certain elements in your everyday job. These skills can be easily applied in the school or college life as well. Because they aim to Improve any Cognitive Process while you’re gaming.
It may sound weird (pretty weird) to think that video games can help you a lot in other parts of your life. Especially in areas like your job or school. Where sometimes they can fire you or give you a warning when they see you playing on your cell phone. Video games can still be seen like “bad” or “unproductive” in many places. But in this article, I’ll try to probe these beliefs wrong. The key here is to take everything with consideration. Everything can help you/harm you according to how much you spend your time on it. Taking this in consideration, let’s dig deep in this subject at hand.
Mind Powers (Cognitive Benefits)
Before we dig deep into this subject. Let’s start with this confusing word “cognitive”, it may sound “scary” but believe me, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Cognition represents all those complex processes that your brain does almost all the time of the day. You may be thinking about something “complex” like doing math problems or studying for one exam. Although it can be related to all those operations, you can relate cognition to another simple task. For example, keeping your “attention” in one interesting movie. So yeah, just by watching an entire movie in one sitting, we are “exercising” one cognitive process that can aid us in other different activities.
In video games though, we aren’t those passive viewers like the moviegoers. We tend to do a lot of stuff in order to “finish the entire movie”. Or work in certain tasks before the game let us pass to the “next chapter”. These different tasks that the game demands from us. Surpass the need for just attention in our brains. They more than often require more cognitive elements without us even know it. This is why some video gamers tend to get bored while watching television or any movie. They require another stimulant, like playing with their fun in order to keep themselves from falling asleep. In this segment, I’ll discuss almost all those extra processes that video games (especially League of Legends or any other MOBA) “demand” from us in order to win one simple match.
Stick to the Plan (Attention Improvements)
Just like watching a whole movie in one sitting, video games require for us to keep our attention focused on the task at hand. This can be easily noted while playing League of Legends. When we lose track, for even less than 30 secs, everything may happen in that short length. For example, There was a gank in your lane and they killed you, some minions are eating our life bar away, or we clicked too close to the enemies’ tower and died quickly.
At first, we may feel “tired” after a match taking no more than 30 minutes. You may need food or energizing drinks to keep that focus alive during the entire game session. But after a couple of weeks, you can play League of Legends non-stop for more than two hours. At this point, your attention has “leveled up”. There’s less need for food to keep your eyes on the screen. Which can improve your awareness of the important things that can happen in every match you play.
Besides keeping your focus on the event that occurs in a particular match, there are other elements were this cognitive function work within the game. That is the ability to locate an important “stimulus” between different things on your screen. What I mean by this, is that between your matches, something more important requires more focus than any other stuff that is happening. For example, if your role is Jungler, in the middle of the match you may invade one lane and go straight for a kill. Nothing else matters in this point, but to drain the life of your enemy as soon as possible.
Staring Contest with your Monitor (Reduce Impulsiveness)
There are sometimes uneventful things that may happen in the middle of an important process. These “uneventful” events can be translated to any kind of distraction that is unrelated to the main task. They can take any form, such as loud sounds, bright colors coming from another screen or even terrible smells. Whatever the case may be, their unwilling purpose is to distract you from your main assignment. Whether they succeed or not, depends mostly on how much are you able to maintain your focus in a singular event.
In the world of League of Legends, this can translate in two ways. One is the “Outside World”, where a loud sound coming out of nowhere can create a huge distraction to the point that you aren’t able to maintain the required focus in the game. Curiosity may win you over and there may be times when you drop off everything you were doing and leave your computer unattended for a while. This can be a disaster for your teammates as they see your champion stationary without any response. The second example comes within the game itself, sometimes one (or multiple, depending on the teammate) ping(s), can create enough distraction that you start to miss last hits because the main focus in your champion is now directed towards something very different.
This “exterior” events can happen more than often in one match, and your reaction may be involuntary. But the process of changing your focus between the new event and coming back to the main task is up to you. Players that get tend to be more distracted in games tend to perform poorly in their main champion. If you feel that other elements are more important than your champion, the role of Support may be more suitable for you.
Paranoid Android (Multi-Tasking)
When the main task requires that you’re a focus change almost constantly, is necessary that you adapt quickly to different stimuli in order to fulfill your goal in the assignment. Driving, for example, demands that you redirect your focus to different events that occur at the same time. You need to maintain your concentration for the road, the other cars, possible pedestrians, the driving speed, and possible coherent conversations with another people inside the car. Keeping your attention in only one thing while driving can lead you to a possible accident on the road.
Playing League of Legends, even though is not that fatal as driving. Nevertheless, it requires that you pay attention to different events that tend to occur between the matches. For example:
- Keep checking the minion’s health for possible last hits.
- Maintain an eye for your enemies’ positions in case a possible fight is going your way.
- Hold track of your health and probably mana as well.
- Check the cooldowns of your abilities.
- Keeping track of your gold, etc.
At first, this can be overwhelming for any human being to maintain their attention in all those occurring events that are occurring at the same time. But as you may have experienced towards after a couple of weeks playing the same game, this tends to be less stressful the more you play.
It feels like you aren’t actually paying attention to certain events, though you know something is “wrong” or “great”. The more you play with a champion, the familiar you get with its cooldowns and the more effective you become with that particular character. The same thing can be felt in the middle of the match, were you aren’t 100% focused on your enemies’ position but somehow you feel that something is wrong and you start to play safer. If you feel that you’re good in multi-tasking, the Middle Lane can be better suited for you.
Sponge Aficionado (Mental Flexibility)
When another year stars on school/college and the new material are delivered between texts books and classes, is the Mental Flexibility that can guide you in learning the new stuff ASAP and keep your high grades in that level. I know that this process can be difficult for you, but the more you study and persevere in one particular subject, you’ll start to “get it” soon enough. The more you progress in your studies, you’ll find that every subject is strategically placed for it to be understood quickly. You can’t do multiplications, without knowing how to do sums for example.
There are many things were this complex cognitive process becomes really important in League of Legends. At first, we can see it in every new match we play. Even though there can be the case that the same roster of champions is selected in two or more different matches, the result has a higher possibility to be different. You know what every champion can do and what lanes they may take, but the execution it’ll always be different. Sometimes you’ll get the first kill, or the enemy team may get it. And it’s up to your team to adapt in this new advantage/disadvantage and proceed to the obtain the win.
The other way to see this cognitive process is with all the new patches that contain new champions or mess up with the previous champions. The Meta always changes in League of Legends and is up to you to gather your old information about those champions, compare it with the new changes, and adapt to the new way of playing. If you feel that the new information can be easily understood by you, and can easily master the changes, you can become an “all-rounded” player.
Mouse to Hand Relationship (Fine Motor Skills)
This Cognitive Process has to do in how you can manage to master your hand movements. A “beginner” in this mental ability can be related to people that see a baseball bat near, pick it up and swing it from side to side. A “Master” though can be related to a person that picks a pencil and draws a perfect circle on a piece of paper. The “Ultimate” level can be associated with Surgery Doctors, due to their precise movements in their daily activities. People can exercise this human feature by practicing long hours every day. Like drawing for example, the more you do it, the more you become a great artist.
In League of Legends, you automatically practice this by moving the mouse around and pressing the rightful keys on your keyboard. Yeah without noticing, we are getting better in Fine Motor Skills by playing two or three matches daily. This doesn’t mean that you automatically become a surgeon just by playing League of Legends regularly, but you’ll soon master the ways of the computer “mouse”. You tend to move you Champion with efficiency around the map and click for last hits with precision.
This can also help you in quickly buying different items because you’re able to type the names quickly on the search feature and click the right places. And last but not least, you’re able to land your skills when needed in order to create the decisive damage that can win you team fights in a match. If you’re able to master this skill in League of Legends, you may want to lean towards a Carry role.
Be the Flash (Quick Decision-Making)
Most of the time, things don’t go as they are planned. We all have been caught in an undesirable situation where a little problem can jeopardize everything you have done in a peculiar assignment. Here is when the Quick Decision-Making quicks in search for a possible solution. You either find one alternative or run from that “problem”. Whatever the case it may be, you took a decision. There is still a “middle ground” where some people freeze themselves in order to think for the best solution but nothing comes up. A good Leader is able to spot a problem quickly and obtain the best solution before everything starts to become worse.
You can see these kinds of people in peculiar matches. They often use the pings to warn their teammates in order to place safe in a lane. They also can tell when is necessary to pursue an enemy for a possible kill, or when you need to stop before you get trapped for chasing too far. Another quality (and the most important of them), is that they know when to shut up. Before they become the problem themselves by giving too much orders and/or warnings. They reserve their comments to those teammates that don’t care about constructive criticism.
If you feel related to any of these characteristics, the position of leader/coach could possibly suit your needs. Being a leader in a good know team, you’re able to spot the pros and cons of your teammates and act accordingly to the team’s benefit. You also have the difficult task of replacing a player in your team that is not giving all of his potential of just doesn’t share the same goals as everyone else.
Hard Disk Drive (Memory)
With the inclusion of cell phones and tablets, we began to rely less on the capacity of our memories. It’s easier to check your phonebook instead of learning and keeping every phone number from your contacts inside your head. This may look bad for some people, but if we think about it, do we really need to “reduce some memory space” in our heads for something that mundane? If your answer is “YES”, you may be thinking that relying on important information to electronics is possibly bad. If you think “NO”, you may also think that there are more important things to use your memory, like relevant information from your job or school.
Whatever the case it may be, the important thing about memory is not what you store in it, but how quickly you’re able to retain new information. This often can be seen in League of Legends in every constant player. When you start playing, you have no idea of the champion’s names, how their abilities have been called or the different cooldowns. But the more you play, the easier is to memorize the names of the characters and what they can contribute between the matches.
This becomes a problem when a new Champion arrives or a patch changes the Meta completely. People start to feel uncomfortable. They aren’t that familiar with the flow of the game, and sometimes they start hating the new changes. If you’re one of the other ends, and you feel like you can adapt quickly to new changes, maybe being a coach can be suited for you. If you share the new discoveries with your closest friends, everyone will appreciate the game even more.
The Benefits of a Healthy Brain
After reviewing all the amazing things that our brain does without us even noticing. Is time to explore what benefits we get with these Cognitive Processes. Just by spending a couple of hours of your free time in a video game, you’re able to obtain some amazing enhancements like for example:
Mental Accuracy Through the Ages
The brain is like any other muscle in your body. It requires some daily exercise in order to keep functioning as it should. The problem that comes with adulthood, is that some people stop using the creativity that flows in their heads. They get accustomed to their stable job, their lovely family and the never-ending bills to pay. Their routine becomes more “permanent” as the years go by. But hey, these troublesome seems to be getting “fixed” thanks to the wonders of technology. Yeah, the passive viewer that kept their attention only to whatever the television or movies threw at them, no longer seems to be the “regularity” in this new society.
Whit the aid of video games, we are able to change that passive stance to another more “active” or “operating”. According to your preferences, there are video games that demand more logical thinking (puzzle games) or require faster responses (First Person Shooter or FPS games). With League of Legends or any other MOBA out there, you get a mix of both. There is the time of strategic planning when everyone selects their lane and picks the most suited Champion for better synergy.
On the other hand, there is the time of execution, where everyone tries to play their best by accomplishing their functions. Even though MOBA games are more forgiving when you make mistakes, unlike FPS games. But they still keep you on your toes the entire match. Whatever the case may be, with two hours of gaming, you “exercise” your mind every day. With video games, you tend to activate more parts of the brain than just watching television and therefore your mind gets sharper every year.
Overcoming Mental Disabilities
Another important part of online gaming that I haven’t explained too much about is the social elements that they possess. You have seen it every time in League of Legends. Even at the start of any match, there is the need to type what role you intend to participate. As the match goes by, there are certain things that require more typing. For example: criticizing another player’s performance, the quality of your internet connection, the misfortunes that could happen, or the lack of balance in overpowered abilities.
The social part of video games (not just League of Legends), can help vanquish some mental “blocks” that some people may be experiencing in their lives. If you feel uncomfortable in starting a new conversation with strangers, well you can start in here. Just talk randomly to your teammates at the start of the match. The subject can even be the same game you all are playing. In the early game, there is a huge window of conversation opportunities, because it tends to lack action in the first minutes. If people ignore you or are rude, mute them. Is easier to forget a total stranger. After you start having more friends in the game, well you can continue this experience outside.
Besides social anxiety, there can be other disabilities that can be treated while gaming. For example, dyslexia. A strange visual complication where people tend to misread certain letters and find no meaning (or incorrect interpretation) of words. In social video games, sometimes the text is not even stationary, like reading from a paper. The names of the champions or usernames, for example, as they tend to follow the character models in the game. They tend to “trick” the mind by requiring more attention in order to interpret the letters.
It looks kind of weird when you try to explain that video games can actually help you in getting better grades. But with the new improvements and the changes in technology, things are looking brighter every year. Some video games tend to bring certain “gaming mechanics”. From which take full advantages of the new hardware and create complex situations that expand our way of thinking. With certain elements that you can take from League of Legends, you can overcome difficulties that may happen in your classroom. Your mind becomes more flexible and tends to learn new subjects faster. Like I said before, everything is better when you take it with consideration. You School should be the first priority for you. In your free time, you can consider in taking a couple of hours playing some matches.
There’s also another way that video games can help you with the studying, that is the social part. You can easily find another people that are interested in the same video games that you play. You can easily start conversations with them and possibly you’ll soon have a great friend. Depending on the game, there is a chance to even play with your new friends for a couple of hours over the Internet. The possibilities are almost limitless. There is always the chance to expand your social circle and gather more friends to play online. The more comfortable you feel around your friends in school, the more you care about getting better grades and succeed in School/College. These new friends can even help you in overcoming some difficult subjects you may come across in your studies.
There are many ways that video games can enhance your performance in your job. As we already seen, any Cognitive Process can boost some parts of your work that become tedious and problematic. We all aim for promotions in our jobs, and even though you still can gain these “mind improvements” by doing work, the lack of motivation restricts the development. It’s probably not the same as when you’re “learning by playing”as you do while gaming. Your mind tends to drift more for some thoughts outside your work. Which produces that desire of trying to do something totally different.
You may be lucky and probably have a good hobby that is giving you enough income for a comfortable life. But the majority of cases, sadly, tends to have a job not that excited. Either the case, with some training by video games, there are some aspects in your work that can become less tedious. We all want those amazing promotions that can add more numbers to our salary. But you need to earn them first. The easier you master some aspects of your job, the percentage of the nearest promotion can be favorable.
Just like League of Legends, you can easily spot those coworkers that don’t give too much importance to their performance. They tend to take the easiest routes and try to take as many vacations as possible. Try to avoid them as much as you can, because, like League of Legends, they may drag you down. Quick decision making never fails to produce a better image for you in your work. Just remember to talk when it’s needed, and no more than that. Lend your point of view to your boss and/or ask for opinions to your subordinates.
The point of view that everyone has over video games is still somewhat negative. There lots of popular beliefs about video games. From which people don’t see any productivity in sitting for a couple of hours and play an entertaining video game. But thanks to the new research from the human brain (Yeah, it’s SCIENCE!). We can clearly see all the positive outcomes in this wonderful hobby. Before this article, you probably didn’t notice all the complex processing your brain does. Each of every Cognitive Process can not only give you advantages in your gaming experience. But they also can be translocated to other important parts of your life.
Whether you’re experiencing life through the classroom or inside your office. Playing video games for a couple of hours can help you exercise the most important organ in your body. The amazing part is that you’re never too old to “game”. Which means that almost all the popular games can keep your mind busy during your lifetime. It doesn’t matter if your preferred video games are MOBA-like or FPS. They all have interesting gaming mechanics that assist you in improving your brain.
Hope you have learned a new thing or two from this article. Good Game and Have fun!