How Games Can Make You Happier And Smarter.

Games can develop your mind and your heart. They can show the interrelationship between different things. And they can improve cognition, motivation, emotional maturity, and social skills. The reason games are actually good for you is because they stimulate neuroplasticity. In fact, neural growth occurs even if a game is not specifically designed to inform and educate but only to entertain. Games make you smarter because they provide an enriched environment.

What is An Enriched Environment?

Hamsters in a cage with wheels, cardboard boxes, and tubes are often happier and smarter than hamsters in a bare cage. This is an enriched environment.

Similarly, people who are intrigued by virtual characters, missions, and adventures are happier and smarter than those who don’t play games. They are in an enriched environment because the fantasy world of video games stimulates motor and cognitive functions.

According to an article in Integrated Listening Systems entitled Video Games Have Salubrious Effect on Neuroplasticity, the Max Plank Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus discovered that the brains of people who played video games had more grey matter.

The article describes the research that led to this startling result:

“The Berlin-based research team assessed two groups of adults: one that played a video game and one that did not. The game-playing group played the game Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes daily over the course of two months. Both groups underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) so that the research team could quantify the participants’ grey matter.

“After two months of game play, the results showed an increase in the volume of grey matter in the brains of those who played the video game. The gamers’ brains exhibited the effects of neuroplasticity in the right hippocampus (responsible for memory consolidation), the right prefrontal cortex (involved in executive function and strategic planning), and the cerebellum (in charge of motor control). They also observed a correlation between desire to play the game and increased plasticity. They gained grey matter volume relative to how much they reportedly wanted to play.”

4 Stimulating Games

If playing games is actually good for you, then what are some interesting, stimulating games that you could play? Let us look at a game you can play on your PC, your Playstation, your Xbox, or your Nintendo.

PC

Technically, all games are entertaining, but some are downright intriguing. The Secret World online game falls in this category. The initial game was developed by Ragnar Tørnquist for Funcom. Since then it has evolved into numerous intriguing subplots. This massive multiplayer online game focuses on role playing, where you are set in the modern world and your avatars seek to outwit supernatural beings.

Playstation

Juju can be considered an alternative to the hardware-intensive Super Mario games. It’s a playful platform game. You work your way through four magical worlds, fighting your way through each level. As you ride on dinosaurs, you bop charming enemies, collect your share of trinkets, and pleasantly discover bonus landscapes.

Xbox

Metascore is the story behind Handsome Jack, who is a Borderlands 2’s villain. It’s about his rise to power. This presequel gives players a chance to jump into the Borderlands universe and shoot and steal their way to an adventure that catapults you onto Pandora’s moon! Players can choose between four character classes as they carve a path of mayhem through Pandora’s enchanting moonscape. They drive intriguing vehicles, sport deadly weaponry, and have unique combat abilities. Players have to save Pandora and its moon while fighting megalomaniac Handsome Jack. Once a bona fide hero eager to do good, he is now a ruthless villain obsessed with wealth, power, and glory.

Nintendo

Super Mario Bros is reputed to be the game that saved video games. Back in the 1980’s, small platform games took the gaming world by storm. Then every year, fresh innovation sparked renewed enthusiasm. The first Super Mario Bros intrigued its captive audience, and the new games continue to do the same thing. The idea behind the early games was to make your way through a short level. At each level, you had to collect coins and mushrooms, jump from one platform to another, and destroy cute enemies. The fast-moving action included water and castle levels. Super Mario Bros Duck Hunt continues the tradition. In Duck Hunt, players shoot ducks with a Zapper Gun. If they miss too often, they are mocked by a dog.

Bad Rap Not True

Despite the bad press in the popular media about games making you dumber and hyperactive, they actually do the opposite: they make you smarter and improve your reflexes. Some games can help you improve your cognitive skills and reflexes. Some games can help you to develop lateral thinking. And some games can help you improve your memory.

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