Video games often present players with virtual worlds that can be explored and manipulated. Playful exploration is a key aspect of the learning and creative processes. Just think about how difficult it is to learn when you are bored. If you are having fun, like playing a new game, you tend to learn rules and strategies much more easily. As young children playing is our primary occupation, but, as we progress through public schooling, our method of learning is forced to become quiet listening and frantic memorization. The lack of exploration and experimentation stifles creativity in students. Video games provide environments where experimentation and exploration are highly encouraged and beneficial. Is it any wonder that so many kids hate school and love video games?

Virtual worlds allow a player to take risks, explore freely, and test the rules that govern how those worlds function. The interactivity of video games can make players more engaged and mentally stimulated than quietly sitting in a classroom. Players have to act, observe any reactions, hypothesize appropriate courses of action, and act again to achieve goals set by the games. All this thinking and focus is good exercise for the brain, and it improves problem solving ability.

The demanding hand-eye coordination required for some video games is also a good thing. Some surgeons actually play video games to prepare for surgery with very satisfying results. First-person shooters, while sometimes criticized for their violence, improve hand-eye coordination and reaction times for players. Perhaps martial artists should play video games, and vice versa, for synergistic benefits.

The Nintendo Wii has become a fun tool for physical fitness. No longer sitting on the couch, Wii players are up and moving—burning calories in front of the TV instead of gaining them. Dance Dance Revolution has been a popular video game that also has its players exercising and having fun at the same time. Now the Xbox 360 Kinect is encouraging exercise in the living room. With its visual feedback of the player, the Kinect helps correct posture and body movement. This could be an invaluable tool for learning martial arts, yoga, dancing, etc.

Even creating video games can be beneficial. There is the obvious benefit of earning money. The video game industry earns tens of billions of dollars a year in the United States alone. To make a good game, collaboration is needed between artists, programmers, marketers, writers, and many more talented people. Programming is a good way to hone one's logic, reasoning, and problem-solving skills.

Massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) allow players to meet other people from around the globe and communicate with them in real time. Players make friends, improve social skills, and sometimes even experience romance via video games. Some players even end up marrying people they meet in MMOs.

Playing video games can be a source of income as well as a hobby. There is a definite need for players to test games for bugs and glitches before they are sold to the public. Gaming competitions often reward winners with cash and other prizes. People have even created virtual economies in online games such as Second Life. People design virtual merchandise that is purchased by players with real world money.

Video games can also enhance school learning. Young children are often given simple games that challenge their math, spelling, and other skills. Yet, older kids playing video games is viewed with a very different attitude. There is a lot of unseen potential for games being applied to adolescents' education. Reading from a textbook can be boring for many students. Video games often introduce players to new ideas and give unique perspectives on events which can make textbook content feel more relevant. For instance, the game Age of Empires allows one to control small armies, manage resources, and strategize attacks against opposing civilizations. Reading about Sir William Wallace's exploits is much more interesting after virtually leading his troops into battle. The numerous World War II games create a similar interest in their period of history. Maybe future games will be embraced by teachers as interactive means to educate students.

There are plenty of reasons why video games are beneficial. The negative aspects of gaming should not be overlooked (perhaps the most prevalent one is addiction) but any human activity has its occasional shortcomings. With the proper attitude and ingenuity, video games should greatly benefit their players.

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