A Better You, One Video Game at a Time!

Posted: November 5, 2019 9:00:00 AM CST

"Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!" - Super Mario Bros.

Ohhhh Toadstool, you innocent yet still somewhat annoying bit of fungus you. While your pile up acrobatics were impressive, your "princess is in another castle" comments were frustrating.

If you haven't figured it out yet, we're talking video games this post. While I would never claim to be the best, I have been a fan of video games since I could hold that rectangular Nintendo controller in my hands. I have seen this world of entertainment in its green Oregon Trail visual all the way to the motion capture wonders that are being released today. I have been pulled into stories, mourned over lost characters, purposefully jumped off a cliff side with my character...just to see what would happen, and walked on the air when a game glitched.

I have also heard all sorts of negative claims against video games. From accusing them of influencing vegetative behavior and violence, I have seen and heard just about all of it. However, there has been great evidence to the contrary.

Take a moment and Google the following: "benefits of video games site:.edu." You'll find several education websites that discuss the benefits. For example, in a study performed by Green and Bavelier, players of action video games have shown an increase in the ability of visual selective attention. In other words, when told to focus on an item among a screen of chaos, habitual video game players are better able to follow the target as compared to non-players.

Another study conducted by Kuhn, Gleich, Lorenz, Lindenberger, and Gallinat had two groups, one group was instructed to play Super Mario 64 for a minimum of 30 minutes a day for 2 months (a study I would have gladly signed up for). The other group was called the passive control group and did not play any games. After the 2 months concluded, the game players revealed, through an MRI scan, that there were in fact grey matter changes as a result. More specifically, the areas of the brain responsible for memory, planning, coordination, and spatial navigation increased for those who played for 30 minutes every day for 2 months, as compared to the control group.

Infographic showing the advantages of videogames

As you can see in the image above, there are several advantages to playing video games. These are all focused on the developmental benefits, however. There are social benefits as well, believe it or not. The Technology Blog of Rasmussen College lists seven benefits of gaming. Included in the list is that “gaming cultivates social skills” (Heinrich, 2018). They support their findings with a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project which “found that two-thirds of young gamers play face-to-face with family and friends. A quarter of young gamers play with internet friends” (Heinrich, 2018).

International Games Day, Saturday, November 9 @10-4, Bell Library, 2nd Floor with background image with Supermario charactersWith that said, I would like to personally invite you to the Mary and Jeff Bell Library's annual International Games Day event! During this American Library Association supported celebration, video games, board games, and card games take over the 2nd floor of the Bell Library. All are invited to prove that social aspect of gaming and have an all-around good time.

In addition to the game fun, we'll have a sign-up sheet for our Harry Potter edition escape room, if you've never experienced an escape room, this is a great first. If you have, know we may not be movie quality, but all who have gone through have enjoyed themselves!

Also, the first five to arrive will win a swanky gamer's swag bag!

The event takes place on Saturday, November 9th from 10 am to 4 pm at the Mary and Jeff Bell Library. Students, staff, faculty, and community members are welcomed to have fun! I hope to see you there!!

References

Green, C., Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature 423, 534–537. doi:10.1038/nature01647

Heinrich, A. (2018). Making the case for video games and kids: 7 little known benefits of gaming [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/technology/blog/benefits-of-gaming-for-kids/

Kühn, S., Gleich, T., Lorenz, R. et al. (2014). Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity: Gray matter changes resulting from training with a commercial video game. Molecular Psychiatry 19, 265–271. doi:10.1038/mp.2013.120

By: Trisha Hernandez

Category: News @ Your Library, Library Randomness, Things to Do