According to the Entertainment Software Association, a US association whose purpose is to serve the business and public affairs of companies that make computer and video games , about 185 million Americans play video games (2014 Essential Facts 2). This not only includes children, but adults and seniors as well. Even though this is over half of the country, many people assume those who play video games are lazy, aggressive, and anti-social. Many games are violent and can be very addictive for some so it’s understandable that people would believe this. But even if these are true, there is a lot of evidence that shows the good things video games can do for players. Many studies have shown that playing video games has positive effects that benefit physical and mental health, improve a variety of skills, and boost motivation.
Video games improve physical and mental health in many different ways. They can encourage fitness and have been used in the medical field. One example would be with the Nintendo Wii, which is a gaming console that uses motion controls to play the games. The motion detection system allows players to see their actions on a television screen with nearly real time sensory feedback (Wii Video Games par. 12). Wii Sports, a game that comes with each Wii console, requires the players to stand up and perform various movements, such as swinging one’s arms to mimic playing tennis or boxing. In a study by the American Stroke Association on twenty stroke survivors around the age of sixty, researchers found significant motor improvement in speed and extent of recovery with the Wii technology (Wii Video Games par. 8). Wii Fit is another game whose main goal is exercise and fitness. Players can do yoga, physical training, aerobics, and play a variety of minigames that improve strength and balance. The Xbox Kinect and the Playstation Move are other motion-sensing platforms for video games . There are even fitness centers, like XRTainment Zone, where various sports are simulated, but exercise is real (Streisand par. 7). Games like these not only improve health, but promote exercise.
Immersive video games also contribute to improved health. One instance of this is with cancer patients. Virtual reality, or VR for short, is a computer-generated 3D environment. When immersed in a virtual reality, it is much easier to ignore pain and other things outside of a virtual world which is why now, doctors are using virtual reality to distract patients from pain, such as with Tyler Callahan, an 8-year-old patient on chemotherapy, who plays a game that requires him to chase gorillas which takes his mind off of his pain and lowers his stress level (Video Games Can par. 16).
Many video games provide a whole other world for players to explore and enjoy. A lot of people play these games to escape and go to a safe place where their real-life problems are irrelevant. About 20 percent of teenagers will experience depression before they are an adult and one game...