For fans of video games who are constantly defending their love of gaming to people who claim it’s a total waste of time, the story of Jann Mardenborough is a dream come true. Mardenborough credits his passion for driving games for his skill as a professional racecar driver.
As The Guardian notes, Mardenborough, who began gaming at the tender age of 7, started out playing racing games like “Gran Turismo.” In 2011, he won the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy competition, which allowed him the chance to race professionally. Since then, He has competed quite a bit, even ending up on the podium at the famous and grueling Le Mans 24 Hours race. As Mardenborough explains, modern-day racing games use so much real-world information from actual cars, that switching from a video game controller to an actual car was not that much of a transition.
Although Mardenborough’s story is unique, the fact remains that video games can and do help people acquire some tangible skills they can use in the real world. Consider the following positive side effects of gaming:
Improved hand-eye coordination
When a gamer’s mom reminds him it’s time to put away the video game, he might want to tell her (in a polite way of course) that he’s practicing to become a surgeon. As Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center notes, research has found that the time young surgeons spent playing video games may help improve hand-eye coordination during surgery. Medical students who play certain types of video games were found to do better on laparoscopic surgery simulators than those who did not play the games. This hand-eye coordination comes in handy during this type of surgery, as well as in other careers where one needs this type of skill.
Good driving skills
Mardenborough’s story is proof positive that certain types of racing games can have a positive impact on driving skills. Of course, there is a wide range of driving games on the market today, some of which involve crashing into as many things as possible. The best games for future driving skills are more realistic and similar to the ones that Mardenborough played as a child — in addition to “Gran Turismo,” “Forza 5” and “F1 2011” are also great selections. Of course, even gamers who are amazing at driving games need to get a lot of practice in real cars to be a competent drivers, and they also need to get a driver’s license once they are old enough. For the under-16 gaming crowd who is dreaming of getting a real license, they can try real world tests that will help boost their skills on a driving tests website.
The ability to think ahead
As Make Use Of notes, strategy-based video games are not only fun, they can also improve the gamer’s ability to plan and think ahead. Sure, catapulting a bunch of peeved birds at pigs is fun, but gamers also have to think about the best and most effective moves to make before they do so. Other strategy-based games include “Starcraft II,” and “Plants vs. Zombies.” By learning to look to the future and act appropriately, gamers can start thinking ahead in real life in a variety of ways. From deciding if they should really spend their allowance on something to planning where they might want to go to college, the ability to look beyond the present it an invaluable skill that can come from the video game console.
What are your thoughts about playing video games?