I have seen and heard the disdain from some peers about games/gamers. For contrast I give you this…
I sat and watch my eleven year old daughter play a level in a game. She played and failed. Then failed again and again and again. At one point I asked her if she was getting frustrated or if it was still fun. Her answer? “I’m getting a little frustrated.” She continued again, and failed. She went to a different aspect of the game and succeeded in that particular level opening up more of the game. There it was for the taking, but she didn’t go exploring the new “fancy” area. She went back to the level that she, at this point, had played a good twenty times. She wanted to beat it. She did it several more times and then… success!
Let me tell you the pros of being a gamer that I have observed for myself. * Starting with the above story.
- Games allow opportunities to learn to not give up. It’s hard? It’s frustrating? Keep trying until you get it. Learning to have perseverance starts with small moments like these.
- Reading skills. I’ve seen multiple young people who had a difficult time learning to read. They start playing games and whallah, huge improvements. To get the story line, or to understand the rules, you have to read. Since they want to play, they are willing to struggle through the reading until, one day, it isn’t as much of a struggle.
- Spatial recognition is part of gaming. You have to be aware of where you are in connection with everything else. People who grow up playing games usually have a good sense of direction. I have seen this first hand where I was the adult in charge trying to get around in an unfamiliar city and had no clue, but the twelve year old in the car knew because they were able to process where they were compared to where we needed to go. It was incredible, albeit humbling.
- Eye hand coordination. I know you hear this a lot but it’s true just the same. Seriously, fine motor skills my friend.
- Games create a chance to learn about teamwork. Can you work together to complete a task? Not leave anyone behind? Listen to one another so you know what is needed for the good of the group? Are you willing to do another’s idea instead of your own – setting your ego aside? Do you understand about not leaving your team mates hanging? This is huge. It is a skill that is needed in the workplace/society and it’s fostered in games.
- There are plenty of actual puzzle games (bejeweled doesn’t count) which teach problem solving. The newer games give lots of hints and such, but the old school games truly teach you to solve problems. (No cheating on the internet!) One of the most brilliant men that I know grew up playing games and he is a phenomenal problem solver. People go to him for advice on a wide variety of subjects because they know he can come up with solutions that others wouldn’t.
- Build people up. It’s a great environment to encourage others and cheer each other on. It’s also a wonderful time to learn to laugh at your mistakes and carry on without it being a big deal.
- Laughter. Yes, there are plenty of things you can do to make you laugh. That being said, have you seen the above list? You get all of those in the package of a good time and the creating of memories.
In essence lessons are learned and comrades are made on a deeper level as you work together to build each other up in a unique environment.
I hope that, even if you don’t wish games to be in your own home, you’ll understand why they are beloved by others and why they can be beneficial.
* I have lived with at least one gamer for the last 15 years and currently live with five