Don’t sit too close to the TV or you’ll go blind. You can’t have that; you’ll shoot your eye out (and subsequently go blind in one eye). If you keep playing with that thing you’ll go blind! If you play video games for 40 hours, you’ll…improve your vision? With all the things parents tell their children will make them go blind, I’m surprised playing video games isn’t one. Even if it was, it’s not true. In fact, as per this article over at Gamasutra video games are actually helping people to improve their vision!
The study was performed to test whether or not playing video games could help people with amblyopia (lazy-eye) improve their visual acuity. The results were quite successful. I’m not going to delve into the details of the study as the Gamasutra and source articles do that quite well. What I want to talk about is the great, positive nature of the articles.
Video games are good for you!
With all the negative press video games get – though I guess most press is negative, not just video game press – I love to read things about them that are positive. While winning the supreme court ruling a while back was a positive thing for the industry, it was still a win over people trying to repress games due to a negative perception (violence in games, sexual content in games, addiction) of them. While everybody hears about those gossip-worthy issues, they never hear about some lesser known positive ones that matter. So, I’m going to list some really interesting, non-negative video game information.
Basically, I’m showing the various ways that video games are good for you beyond the well known exercise potential of motion systems (Wii, Kinect); training applications/simulators used by astronauts, pilots, etc; and educational advantages of e-learning software.
Okay, I admit, I did just list a bunch of positive video game uses as a precursor to more positive video game uses. I’m a positively sly dog. LoL. On with the list!
A study at the University of Rochester determined that fps video games can help people discern slight differences in shades of grey. The eye can actually be trained to improve contrast sensitivity.
A study performed by Dr. Hertz of the Medical College of Georgia and funded by the National Parkinson’s Foundation showed that playing the Nintendo Wii helped Parkinson’s patients to (among other things) improve their motor skills, increase energy levels and reduce feelings of depression.
Playing video games for at least 3 hours a week benefited surgeons who performed minimally invasive surgery with cameras and other small instruments. They had increases in speed and decreases in errors, as per the study carried out by the Beth Israel Medical Center.
A University of Oxford study shows that Tetris helps post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients reduce the frequency of flashbacks. Odd, because I have horrible flashbacks of Tetris and those evil, evil blocks. (That was a joke.)
I’m sure there are many other studies done involving video games that I know nothing about. What I do know is that after reading about video games all night in preparation for writing this article, I have the itch to go and play some. I’m going to do that. You should as well. Yes, do that.