Computer gaming: gambling makes productive and creative

Computer gaming is controversial. Associations of light-shy figures playing first-person shooters day in, day out are still the most harmless thing. But the reputation is not justified. In fact, it has been proven that computer games can have positive effects. And this is true regardless of age; whether for teens, professionals or seniors – in healthy doses it does some good: because computer gaming can make you happy, increases productivity and improves several skills at once. Why computer gaming is better than its reputation and how you can benefit..

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Computer gaming: Put an end to the bad reputation

For many years, playing computer games with a very bad reputation and many prejudices to fight. Anyone who spent their free time playing games in front of a monitor was labeled a social outsider, a nerd who lived only on pizza and Coke, probably unkempt, naturally pale due to lack of sunlight, and inevitably single because there was no partner to be found in the digital world.

All nonsense! The image of computer games Has changed and it is increasingly entering the mainstream. Millions of fans follow games and tournaments, on the Internet famous gamers become stars who earn a fortune and even in large and well-known newspapers are now reported on computer games, events and personalities.

In a nutshell: Computer games are hype. Since the view is no longer determined only by negative prejudices, the numerous advantages that computer gaming can bring are also taken into account.

Underestimated gambling: healthy through computer games

A few years ago, Jane McGonigal suffered an severe concussion. To speed up the healing process, she should, on doctor’s orders: not read, not write, not jog, give up caffeine and not play video games.

For 30 days the game designer followed the doctor’s advice – without success. On the contrary, she developed anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies even. Without positive emotions but, according to their doctor, the brain cannot regenerate. So she said to herself: "Either I kill myself or I turn the whole thing into a game." Sounds very dramatic, but it worked! Why? McGonigal explains it this way…

  • Games make optimistic. They give us the feeling that we can do anything, overcome any challenge.
  • Games make curious. They are interesting and we eagerly await the next level or the final opponent.
  • Games spur on. They promote self-motivation and perseverance, even if you have suffered defeat.
  • Games create meaning. Because we have a goal in mind, (virtually) to build, create or achieve something.

She transferred these principles to real life. She created a real-time game, so to speak, created her superhero identity, involved her twin sister, husband, friends, set them and herself tasks, awarded points. Just a few days later, she said she felt noticeably better. The Gamification approach Has apparently helped her to get well again.

In the meantime, she has written an entire book about her experiences, has also dug through countless studies on the subject of computer games. Her recommendation: Computer games can help us, mentally stronger make.

Computer games against dementia

The approach that computer games can be used both mentally as well as physically fitter A Hamburg-based start-up is also pursuing the idea of.

Dementia is an increasing problem due to demographic developments: more than 1.5 million Germans suffer from Dementia Alzheimer’s disease – the German Alzheimer’s Society even expects three million people to develop the disease by 2050.

The young, interdisciplinary company called Retrobrain has already developed four computer games. They are intended to counteract dementia, to prevent falls, against muscle loss can be used for bedridden patients and as a rehabilitation measure for stroke patients. Another game is already being planned, especially for people with Parkinson’s disease.

The whole thing is still being tested. The idea behind it: Just ten minutes of computer gaming a day could be enough to prevent falls or dementia. All participants are optimistic, after all, the research is led by Berlin’s Humboldt University, financed by the Barmer health insurance fund, and the city of Hamburg and the Federal Ministry of Economics are also involved in the company itself.

If the results turn out to be correspondingly positive, computer games could soon be used by Future a cash benefit Its.

Computer gaming on the job: a good idea!

Computer games in the workplace? At first glance, this doesn’t sound like the kind of behavior a boss wants to see from employees. But it has made already every second person in the office. At least this is the result of a survey conducted by the Hamburg Media School.

Result: More than half of the respondents already daddled in the office, 16 percent play several times a week, over 12 percent even daily. On average, we then play for 28.6 minutes at a time. Whether this then happens during the lunch break or during working hours remained open in the survey, however – so many workers spend half an hour playing computer games.

This is not wasted work time, but actually a good idea: the Hamburg researchers were also able to show that the Computer game breaks had quite positive effects. For example, those who relaxed while playing games after a strenuous text assignment were much more productive afterwards more concentrated than subjects in a control group.

This is also consistent with other research findings. Researchers at Penn State University, for example, were able to show that Playing games really makes us more creative.

Shyam Sundar and Elizabeth Hutton had students play popular video games and then creativity tests complete. This showed: happy as well as sad subjects reached a creative peak after the game, but angry and relaxed players did not.

In other words Arousal, which develops with playing, is less relevant for creative impulses than the state of mind afterwards. Other studies also show that – as soon as we play games – we are more "Flow" – in other words, a productive state of happiness.

Benefits: These skills fostered computer gaming

Usually computer games are seen as a pure pastime. Motto: Sit in front of the monitor for a while, press a few buttons and while away the free time. While this is true, the amount of time spent playing computer games is, by no means wasted or even useless. Instead, computer gaming enhances numerous skills and important abilities.

The main reason for this: In computer games many different skills and exercised regularly. Playfully and incidentally. We have listed for you various skills and competencies that are improved by computer gaming:


According to McGonigal, synchronization could provide the Improve team performance. In this case, synchronization means something like: Behavioral similarities are achieved, thereby building up Confidence and camaraderie, create an interpersonal bond.

This happens, for example, when people show similar facial expressions, concentrate on the same thing or breathe at the same speed. Video games produce exactly this effect. So why not play a little together with colleagues?


A side aspect of video games that has received little attention to date: They improve our Foreign language skills. More precisely: They improve our English. Swedish researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Karlstad observed 76 children aged ten and eleven.

Boys played computer games for an average of 11.5 hours per week, while girls played not even half as much, just 5.1 hours. On the other hand, the girls spent more time (11.5 hours) on Facebook and other Internet services, which are used to communicate a lot, while the guys only spent eight hours.

Result: Multiplayer online role-playing games improve children’s English skills the most. "As a gamer, you need to be able to understand what is being said, you need to read English and interact by writing and speaking in English yourself," says study author Liss Kerstin Sylven of the University of Gothenburg. Their main message: if you regularly play video games, you have a significantly larger English vocabulary than non-gamblers.


Those who play become more creative. This was shown several years ago by scientists at Michigan State University in a study of about 500 twelve-year-olds. Children were asked to draw an interesting and creative picture, title it, and write a story about it afterwards.

The children who daddled the most were thereby clearly more resourceful – completely independent of whether they were boys or girls or which game they played regularly. This effect did not occur if the children had "only" used cell phones, the Internet and computers in general. Means translated: Those who are just consumed passively, does not stimulate his creativity as much as an active player.

Cognitive skills

Those who play computer games can improve their cognitive abilities and thus their mental age even cut back by a few years. This was shown by scientists at the University of Iowa. They investigated how mental decline and the decrease in attention, perception and problem-solving skills can be slowed down – and found the solution in computer games.

After only ten hours, the mental Performance ability of the test persons already that of a person three years younger. Mental decline was not only prevented or slowed down, cognitive abilities even increased.


In particular, video games in which there is a great deal of overall confusion, in which, for example, targets quickly come into view and disappear again and one has to make lightning-quick decisions, improve the Attention of a player. Such computer games lead to faster comprehension and help to classify and process new information in a shorter period of time.

This they would have ahead of so-called brain games, learning games, which basically specifically aim to. This is what the US scientists C. Shawn Green and Aaron R. Seitz. In fact, they say, it is wild action games that ability to concentrate and process information stimulate – not the educationally correct games.


Computer games are divided into two types of strategy games. On the one hand turn-based strategy game, where the individual players play in turn (as in the classic board game).

On the other hand, there is the real-time strategy game, in which players simultaneously exercise. Both types train goal-oriented, profitable, strategic and tactical action, whereby the first form of the strategy game is particularly complex in its structure. Also, more precise planning is possible, since the players are not under time pressure.

This promotes patience, diplomacy and thinking skills.

The feared negative effects also exist, but only with absolute extreme gamers who spend countless hours playing computer games and have no compensation for it at all. Then, in the worst case, gaming leads to addictive behavior, lack of exercise, epileptic seizures and negatively influence social behavior. Therefore: Every day together with peers or friends a little computer gaming brings many benefits, but you should not overdo it.

Computer gaming increases the well-being of adolescents

Andrew Przybylski of Oxford University and Netta Weinstein of Cardiff University demonstrate in a study that the well-being of teenagers increases the more time they spend in front of a screen! Young people feel better and are more satisfied if they spend some time playing computer games or watching TV.

This is not true without limits, but up to a certain point. Only after that did the well-being of the young people decrease. A blanket ban on computer games or screen use of any kind can thus be detrimental to satisfaction. When it is too much of a good thing depends largely on the Type of screen from. Reached the peak on working days at…

  • Video games after one hour and 40 minutes.
  • Smartphones after one hour and 57 minutes.
  • Watching movies after three hours and 41 minutes.
  • computers after four hours and 17 minutes.

Whether it really has to be that long in practice is a matter for debate – but at least a little computer gaming contributes to greater well-being.

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