Tech talk with Mark David Magat

Gaming has always been known as a method to waste time, with parents saying “stop rotting your brain with those video games”. But at the end of the day, games are doing a lot for our society, which the public may not realize.

Games started off as a save-the-princess simulator, but now games and gaming culture have become actual life savers. Games have directly saved lives by helping people develop skills and parts of their bodies indirectly with programs such as the Extra Life Project.

On the website, we see a list of 15 things gaming has improved and benefited. A lot of them are cognitive, such as keeping your brain stimulated so it “ages” slower, but the most shocking thing on that list was gaming helped dyslexia. Since gaming is always keeping the gamer on edge and, believe it or not, gaming has a lot of reading, these two things combined have actually helped people with reading disabilities like dyslexia.

Other studies show that the elderly are slowing the process of diseases that come from old age with gaming. Science Daily has written an article about 55-to-75-year olds benefiting from playing 3D platforms such as Mario 64 to help combat Alzheimer’s disease.

A more indirect way gaming helps is with the organization Extra Life. For those who don’t know, Extra Life is an organization that raises money for children who suffer who are suffering from some sort of medical or mental condition. One of their top teams, Rooster Teeth, raised over $1.2 million for Dell Children’s Hospital’s new mental health unit in Austin, Texas in 2017. Extra Life is changing the lives of so many children with gaming.

According to Medical Daily, watching TV is worse than playing video games. While watching TV, you simply sit there and react to the actions happening in front of you. In gaming, you’re in there making split-second choices and exercising your mind, teaching it to think in new ways.

In non-medical ways, gaming has done a lot to save lives as well. There was an 10-year-old boy in 2013 who saved himself and his grandmother after his grandmother had a heart attack while driving. The boy drove the car into a ditch, saving his life and his grandmother’s. When asked how he knew how to steer, he gave credit to playing Mario Kart.

Gaming is a massive part of today’s society. But along with society and the players, games have evolved from simple toys to essential medical tools and bring awareness to topics such as mental health. So next time you’re playing Assassin’s Creed or Fallout, know there are worse things to “rot your brain” with.