We’ve all either known a “gamer” or been one themselves, even if it was only a phase. With hours of sitting in front of a screen, video games have been criticized for contributing to unhealthy lifestyles. Today guest blogger, Richard Heimerdinger, will share with us his slant on how video games can actually contribute to our health.
When you first think of video games you probably think of sitting on the couch or at the computer for hours on end. Maybe 15 years ago this would definitely be the case but thanks to new technology and the increase in mobile phones, a whole new era of video games has emerged.
Technology and video games have come a long way since the old days, no longer are players confined to their living rooms. If you still think video games are for lazy people then you might be in for a shock! Here’s why:
Pokémon Go: Where Exercise Pays Off
Since the smartphone boom back in 2010 there have been many mobile apps and games released specifically to play on mobile phones. Some of these games and apps have become highly popular and have changed the way we think about video games altogether.
Take Pokémon Go for example, the new augmented reality video game that is taking the world by storm! The game is available on all popular mobile devices such as Androids and iPhones and is currently available in over 35 countries worldwide.
The game encourages players to be active and to travel around their local area to catch all the Pokémon. Players must also travel certain distances in order to hatch their eggs and receive more Pokémon. These eggs come in 2, 5 and 10KM variations with rarer Pokémon coming from the 10KM eggs. If you want to catch all the Pokémon and get the best ones, then you have to put a lot of effort in!
Since it’s release there have been plenty of reports from all over the world on the impact the game has had on people and their health. Many players have reported a huge increase in their daily exercise with one overweight user saying the game gives him the motivation to exercise.
Weighing over 500 pounds a user from the image sharing website Imgur shared a post on how Pokémon Go helped him walk over 10KM. For once it seems an addictive game is actually beneficial to your health!
Virtual Reality: Play Tennis in Your Living Room
If you’ve been following the advancements in technology over the years then you will have probably heard of virtual reality or VR for short. VR is a new amazing way to experience video games and has only become possible within the last few years. The HTC Vive is a newly launched VR kit that gives the player all the equipment they need to literally jump into the game.
Every HTC Vive comes with a VR headset, 2 controllers and tracking aids. These tracking aids are setup before you play the game and track your movements around the room once you’re in game. You then put the headset on and use the two controllers to actually interactive with the game and make things happen. Obviously this is a bit different than playing on a games console or using a PC but the whole point of VR is to make you feel like you’re in the game.
The game encourages players to get up and move around using their whole body in order to interactive with the game. There are plenty of games to choose from as well from virtual archery, tennis, underwater exploring to even a job simulator!
The Psychological Aspect of Games: How Games Can Make You Smarter
Even the more traditional video games can still provide great health benefits to players such as improving mental health and other important skills such as teamwork and critical thinking. League of Legends is a popular online multiplayer games which has over 67 million active monthly users.
The game consists of two teams battling each other in an online arena until one side wins. It might sound like just any other video game but in League of Legends teamwork, communication and critical thinking are very important.
Video games like League of Legends can also help with mental illnesses such as social anxiety and depression. Players are no longer socially isolated thanks to the internet and online games. Players can now communicate with each other online through online voice chat and typing. Many games nowadays have these features built in to the game to encourage other players to interactive and communicate with each other. This helps less sociable players interactive with other people and improve their social skills.
Even though we’ve covered a few of the hidden health benefits of video games we’ve really only just scratched the surface. With so many new games constantly being developed for different devices who knows, we might be seeing a lot more exercise based games in the future!
About the Author
Richard Heimerdinger is a video game and healthy living enthusiast. Master Tier League of Legends player and clean-eating advocate.
What are your thoughts on the new era of video games and how they can contribute to a healthier lifestyle?