Is playing games a waste of time?


I’ve always enjoyed gaming and ranking up my levels across the different consoles, but someone said to me the other day that they thought gaming was a waste of time.

So, at first, I was like “What? Why would you think that?”, but then I got thinking that maybe people misunderstand the real benefits of playing video games. Because playing video games is not a waste of time, at all! Here’s why:

Is playing games a waste of time? Gaming is not a waste of time. It’s not a waste of time to me and it certainly isn’t for you. People will often say that gaming is stupid, inaccurate and just useless, but they are so wrong.

Playing games of any kind on your consoles has loads of positives and you shouldn’t believe some of the nonsense that’s out there on the topic. It’s not uncommon to hear, “You could be doing more with your time”, “Use your brain and do something useful”, and a personal favourite, “Gaming’s so unhealthy”.

Now while to some degree they might be correct, I mean if you do sit down for 17 hours a day and don’t get up then you might have health problems, but in moderation, gaming is a beautiful skill that you can really zone in on. Don’t be put off by a few negative comments and jibes, you’re much better than that and you know it!

Check out some of the reasons why I think gaming is up there as a good use of your time.

You’ll be able to problem-solve after playing games.

You’ve just come back from being with friends and you’ve all had a massive argument about something or other. Nobody knows what to do. You’re all waiting for each other to find a solution. Nobody does because nobody’s a gamer.

Gamers are excellent problem solvers.

When playing a game, there’s absolutely loads to think about. It’s not your usual snakes and ladders, it’s hardcore. Rules, regulations, strategy, planning and plotting.

You can’t just enter a game and think “Bam, this is the action plan!” You need to sit and think about it.

You have to watch the story at the start and find out why your playing first, then you end up being talked through all the do’s and don’t. Next, you get on to weapons and that’s a whole new set of rules and stuff to go by. By the time you’re halfway into the game you’ve absorbed so much information, it’s hard to believe you still remember it all. And that’s just one thing – memory – more important is the fact that you can use all of this information to solve all of the game’s problems.

No matter what the game throws at you, you know what button to press. If its to jump or to slay a godly creature. Engage in battle or duck out – you know.

Why? Because you’re a genius problem solver because you play games.

Playing games teaches you the important skill of problem-solving. It’s about gathering all the facts, thinking about it and acting on it. You’re not wasting your time at all you’re learning darn useful skills. Skills which you will need to use daily – for as long as you live.

So, don’t waste your time worrying over your friends and what to do, grab a console practice the tactics of problem-solving and march into the group and be the leader – solve the problem, get it done.

Your senses and hand-eye coordination will improve.

So there’s a really cool team at Toronto University who studied the effects of gaming. They found that gaming actually improved senses and motor coordination in regular gamers.

If your playing FPS’s like COD, don’t be surprised if you find your senses and coordination are better than those of the people around you.

Playing games like this over time adapts your sensory skills. You’ll have a lot more control of your senses and you’re going to be the one who has better reaction times.

By making the best of your time and playing games you’re helping your body and brain be better than what it is. You’re going to be whizzing past the others when it comes to coordination tasks as you’re already familiar with working out patterns and finding solutions.

Don’t forget – This is super cool too because this can help children and adults who suffer from autism and motor issues. By playing games they will learn to strengthen their motor and sensory controls by practising.

So gaming isn’t just going to be useful to you, you can actually learn and develop ‘you’ by playing games – totally not a waste of time.

Pro multi-tasker

Next time some shouts at you and says you can’t multi-task, you shout back and tell them you so can!

Nobody realises that playing games actually helps us learn to be better multi-taskers. Everyone thinks we’re just wasting time learning pointless skills, well some don’t even think we’re learning at all. But we are.

When you’re sitting by your console you don’t think about how much is going on on screen and off, and nobody can blame you, you are a pro.

But, if you take a moment to think about it there’s actually loads going on. You have to be vigilant of what’s going on, watching your back, preparing ammo, keeping an eye on energy levels and not to mention ordering your team around on command.

This sort of detail is pretty much exactly how it is in the non-game world. We have to keep an eye out for anything and everything, we are made aware of any noises and we have to anticipate our next steps. So, why not make yourselves extra great at doing this by practising all of your multi-tasking skills in a simulation.

Multi-tasking is something we all do, but how many of us are actually really good at it?

Try holding the tv remote, try to find a film and try to talk about the good film you saw last week in the cinema – can’t do it? No, thought not. This is why playing games is so not a waste of time. If we all just gave in to 1 hour every few days, we might all see a difference in our ability to complete different tasks all at once.

Can I really improve my sensory skills? Yes, you can really improve your sensory skills by playing games. It won’t be a quick process but with plenty of time and practice, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t become a pro.

Will I really have health problems if I play games too long? There isn’t really a right or wrong answer to this is really depends on how much time you end up playing for and if you manage to get any exercise in. Take a look at this article for more in-depth issues that you should watch out for, “How long should adults play video games?”.

Am I really going to be able to solve problems after playing games? There really is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to use the knowledge and the skills you’ve developed to help you in your daily life – okay you won’t have the same in-game problems in real life but you can put your acquired skills to good practice.

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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