One thing’s for certain, gone are the days where playing video games was considered bad for you and it’s clear how video games are benefiting people.
Video games have been around for some time now, and they’ve developed massively over the years. Previously, games like these were seen purely as entertainment vessels. Gaming became another media format for people to escape from reality. So much so that a lot of parents got sick and tired of their kids playing games, moaning that it was ruining their life. They’d claim that video games hampered their child’s education and social life, painting this medium out as the bad guy.
For years, this was the narrative that a lot of media outlets ran with. Video games are bad for kids and will ruin their education. They were simply seen as a distraction, and many parents still hate them. However, nowadays, opinions are changing. Perhaps this is because a lot of new parents used to play video games themselves, so the attitude has shifted. But, it’s also because people have started to realise the positive influence gaming can have on someone’s life. Specifically, many games have proven to be helpful at improving a child’s education by acting as a learning resource.
It’s a dramatic shift from how video games used to be perceived, so how has this happened? Let’s look at a few key points and games that demonstrate the educational power of gaming…
Interactive History Lessons
A huge advantage of video games is that they let us explore worlds and civilisations that we’ve never been able to experience. Some of these are made up, but others are from centuries in the past. Head to any shop that sells toys online, and you’ll always find figurines or playsets relating to things like Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt of the Romans. These types of toys have sometimes been used to help educate kids through playing. However, video games have been able to take things one step further than this, offering interactive history lessons.
The series that comes to mind is Assassin’s Creed. Without going into too much detail, this series is set across various different periods, and you act out the life of an assassin. What makes it unique is how accurate the history and detail is of these periods. It’s led to many gamers learning about things like the Renaissance, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, The Roman Empire, and so on. You learn more about the people and life at the time through this game, as you can actually live through it. In essence, interactive history lessons are provided, making learning more entertaining and engaging.
Video games are a sensational tool for developing problem-solving skills. The majority of story-driven games involve a great deal of problem-solving to progress through the levels. You have tasks to do and things to complete before you can move on through the story. While you play the games, you don’t think about solving problems – so to speak. It’s something that happens naturally, but the skills you develop will transfer to all other areas of your life.
Furthermore, you have games that take problem-solving to new levels. Titles like Ibb and Obb and It Takes Two are highly popular as they demand a high degree of problem-solving. It Takes Two is particularly popular right now, being one of the games of 2021. Effectively, games like these are all about solving puzzles with another person. So, you develop your skills as well as learning how to work with others. You can imagine how this will transfer over into other aspects of life – like working with classmates or being part of a team.
Teaching Geography Through Video Games
History lessons aren’t the only lessons you can learn through video games. Geography is another subject that can specifically be taught via this medium. Again, the previous example of Assassin’s Creed is relevant here, teaching you about old maps and parts of the world. But, even a game like FIFA helps kids learn more about the world and different countries. A lot of kids learn flags from this popular football game, or they learn about different countries and where they’re located.
However, the rise of a popular game called Geoguessr takes things to new levels. Effectively, this game uses Google Maps, placing you in random countries around the world. It’s then your job to look around the map and guess where you are. The more you play this game, the more you learn about geography and the world. You begin to identify flags, different languages, landscapes, etc. There’s even an educational mode on the game for people to use in classrooms! It’s another example of how video games have evolved to become genuine learning resources.
An Introduction to Technology
For many children, video games are seen as an introduction to technology. It could be the first time a child experiences technology, teaching them about basic tech skills, etc. By playing video games and getting used to pressing buttons and navigating menus, it trains your brain to become used to technology in general. Certainly, children that grew up playing video games have less of an issue dealing with things like smartphones, tablets and computers.
In fact, the impact is multiplied when you deal with PC gaming. If a child learns how to play games on the PC, all of their PC skills will improve. They’ll have a much easier time typing on a keyboard, using a mouse, and learning how to deal with all the minor PC issues. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about technology just by playing video games.
At the end of the day, the concept that video games are bad for a child’s education is simply wrong. It’s an archaic way of looking at things – modern video games have a place in today’s world. Perhaps people should stop looking at forcing kids to learn through traditional ways, and focus more on adopting new learning styles. For example, use video games to teach kids and keep them engaged and entertained.
Michael is the sole writer and owner at chartxgames.com.
Many thought that his youth (and adulthood) playing video games was a waste of time but here he is writing about them for a living.
Michael has a background in IT and enjoys (apart from video games) building and repairing PC’s, digital artwork (Photoshop, 3DS Max) and has interests in too many subjects to mention.