How Video Games Improve Problem-Solving Skills

Most people believe that playing video games is just a waste of time. Not necessarily so. Jane McGonigal desires to change the conception of people with regard to video games as a form of escape or guilty pleasure. According to her, games are tools that can improve relationships, cognitive strengths, mood, and attention.

Research showed that Call of Duty and other mainstream games could improve cognitive abilities more than games designed to do so. In 2014, a document entitled “A Consensus on the Brain Training Industry from the Scientific Community,” seven neurosciences objected to the claim that brain-teaser games enhance cognitive abilities. They said that there is no scientific evidence to confirm the claim.

A Florida State University and North Carolina State University research suggested that mainstream games developed for entertainment can enhance problem-solving abilities, spatial orientation, and attention. In McGonigal’s book, she wrote that the researchers she conferred with about the contradiction said that conventional video games are difficult and complex to master. The player needs to learn more and wider range of abilities and skills.


What Video Games can Stimulate the Mind

According to McGonigal, a person can play any of the following games thrice a week for 20 minutes:

Call of Duty

This fast-paced game improves spatial-intelligence and visual attention skills that result in better performance in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.


A car-racing game, Forza improves a person’s ability to make the right decisions under pressure.

Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto trains a person to deal with information faster and monitor more information. In highly stressful situations, gamers can process information better than non-gamers.


As a military-science-fiction game, StarCraft improves solving of real-life and imaginary problems because it teaches the player to develop and perform strategic plans.

Mass Effect

Mass Effect requires strategic thinking. It also examines and improves a person’s information-gathering skills.

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy trains the player to assess one’s options quickly and accurately.

Making Learning More Effective through Video Games

It is very rare among students to use something they have learned in one context and use it in a different and independent context. Although playing violent video games can raise general aggression, this aggression does not translate to violent behavior in the real world. A player may use curse words while playing, but he will not steal a car, just because he played Grand Theft Auto.

Teachers have a unique reputation for capitalizing game engagement to advocate positive reflection of how students can deal with real-world challenges. The use of role play is not a new concept. In fact, even NASA used game-like situations to teach its astronauts to move through space. Medical schools used simulations to instruct their students about robotic surgery. Also, the Federal Aviation Administration used simulations to test its pilots.

Educators must consider the use of video games instead of multiple-choice materials. Legislators must not pass bans on playing violent video games without considering the role of transfer. Everyone can use games to talk about inequities like race, gender, and society.  


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