Casual video gaming has increased significantly in the adult population. This is largely because a huge percentage of adults under 45 grew up with computers and televisions in the home. Video games were easy to access and became a staple of everyday life.
The younger generation becoming adults is also used to having smartphones, tablets and access to constant, high-speed internet. Gaming has also become completely integrated into social media platforms, offering much easier access to people who wouldn’t normally consider themselves gamers.
The good news is, whiling away some downtime playing the likes of The Sims, World of Warcraft, DOOM, FIFA, and even Minesweeper or Solitaire can have some surprising benefits.
So, what can casual gaming do for you as an adult?
Enhance your social skills
We often think about video game playing as being highly anti-social because you’re sitting alone at your computer or gaming console. However, things have changed, and many games have entire online worlds where you can connect with like-minded people across the globe.
A number of studies show that people have reported feeling far more connected to other people than they did before they started playing video games casually.
People who struggle to connect in the real world have also shown vast improvements in their social skills from playing video games. They have learned in the safer online environment how to connect, hold conversations, and build relationships. These skills then translate into the offline world with in-person connections.
Improve your hand and wrist coordination
Manual dexterity is important when playing video games, especially if you play with a controller or joystick. Using a computer keyboard for gaming also requires some quick, precise fine motor skills. All of this regular practice will result in better coordination in your wrists and hands, resulting in the ability to make precise movements more easily and with fewer mistakes.
In some cases, doctors have prescribed specific video games to stroke patients. They help the patient regain control of their hands and wrists so that they can do basic tasks again.
Give you better problem-solving abilities
We all know the importance of keeping the mind sharp as we grow older, and for years, people have turned to crosswords and Sudoku to maintain their problem-solving skills. But video games can help you stay sharp too. This is especially true in mission-based games that have multiple levels and open-world play. You have to think on your feet and react to both elements from the game and the more unreliable element of other human players.
These games are all about strategizing, thinking quickly and coming up with solutions. The more regularly you play, the more you will improve your abilities. You can then take these abilities to other games and into your everyday life and workplace, where problem-solving is often a vital skill.
Help to relieve stress
Psychologists and psychiatrists have been using certain types of video games for many years to help reduce stress and anxiety in their patients. They have also shown that these games can normalize heart rhythms and boost your overall mood. The type of games are not the high-action games, but more the slow, problem-based games like Spider Solitaire that have repetitive tasks required for each level.
In fact, this same mood-boosting property makes games like Candy Crush so popular and addictive. You get a dopamine hit each time you complete a level, making you want to keep on going. With that in mind, it’s important to be aware of your game play, and take part in it responsibly.
Improve awareness of your surroundings
It’s true that staring at a screen for hours on end is not good for your eyesight, and not having the right setup for gaming is never a good idea. However, conscious and limited game play can actually improve your vision and your levels of awareness of what is going on around you.
The type of video games that create an entire world for you to enter are good for this. But ones that need you to spot patterns or match particular images or cards are also going to help you with this.
The more regularly you play, the better you will get at seeing detail in a cluttered or busy space. You are essentially training your brain to pick out the details and remember them. This skill will translate into your everyday life, making you more aware of your surroundings. This is a great skill for any adult, as it can help you spot a dangerous situation or a risk that you may otherwise have missed.
Give you the chance to keep on learning
As we get older, we forget about learning new things. This is because life gets busy, and we get set into our patterns. However, when we stop learning new things, we stagnate and can lose the ability to learn. This is a dangerous place to be, both mentally and emotionally.
By playing new and different video games, we learn something new each time. With pretty much any game, you are learning cognitive skills like pattern recognition. You are often also working on your math and reading skills regularly. These are critical things to keep on learning as they form the foundation for anything else you may want to teach yourself later on.
Then, if you pick your games wisely, you can learn entirely new subjects or skills. Some games incorporate history, chemistry, physics, politics, architecture, new languages and cookery. It’s not just children who benefit from educational games, adults do too!
The benefits of casual gaming are easy to see. Gaming is no longer looked upon as an activity that wastes time, leaves people staring mindlessly at the screen for hours, or is anti-social. It’s done a 180-degree turn and proven that the benefits far outweigh any of the negative preconceptions of the past.
What do you think about the benefits of casual gaming? Have you seen yourself benefiting? Let us know on social media by using the buttons below.
Last Updated on June 21, 2021.