The Life Applications of Video Games
“A few years earlier, [I introduced] my 7-year old nephew to SimCity 2000… When I walked my nephew through the game I gave him only the most cursory overview of the rules… At one point, I showed him a block of rusted, crime-ridden factories that lay abandoned and explained that I'd had difficulty getting this part of my city to come back to life. He turned to me and said, "I think you need to lower your industrial tax rates." He said it as calmly and as confidently as if he were saying, "I think we need to shoot the bad guy"” (Johnson). Have we ever stopped to think of the true consequences of video games? Society today would have us believe that all video game players are lazy, fat, and unskilled. These brash associations may be true for some, but only to the select few. Gamers are not as bad as they are perceived to be, for they are constantly developing skills essential for everyday life. Even the video game addicts, who binge on soda and snacks, stay up late, and play their video games for countless hours, are able to find positives in what they do. Video game play supports growth and proficiency in a variety of everyday life categories. Despite the widespread belief that video games create maniacal, unsavory behaviors, video games truly provide everlasting life applications.
Firstly, video games are germane to the plentiful global occupations of today’s world. Gamers master through their shooting of enemies and slaying of zombies skills easily transferrable to the workplace. Focus, contrast sensitivity, and spatial reasoning are each engrained into these players. Research has recently shown that having experience with video games grants skills applicable in several diverse occupations. More specifically, surgeons, radiologists, and the jobs pertaining to spatial reasoning are sculpted by the play of video games.
Using a telescope to perform surgery is about as hard as it sounds. Laparoscopic surgeries, also known as minimally invasive surgeries, make small incisions into the patient, and with the help of a small video camera repair the body internally while causing minimal damage (“What is Laparoscopic Surgery”). Surgeons who perform these types of surgeries require considerable focus and precision. The “director of the Advanced Medical Technology Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, James Rosser,” studied various laparoscopic surgeons “who played games for more than three hours a week” and found that they made “37 percent fewer errors than their nongaming peers” (Johnson). These results were attributed to both “hand-eye coordination and depth perception,” of which are promoted by the playing of video games (Johnson). The correlations between surgery and video game play are found with the similarity in setups. Laparoscopic surgeons manipulate thin tools to work inside the body, and follow along on a small monitor; gamers play through joysticks, and follow along on television screens.
Bavelier has indicated that “gamers also have better contrast sensitivity” compared to the average person (Denworth). Contrast sensitivity, the ability to distinguish objects from their backgrounds at low contrasts, is said to be “the primary limiting factor in how well a person can see” (“Contrast Sensitivity”; “Action Video Games”). It is also a skill immensely important to radiologists. Radiologists are responsible for the capture and study of x-ray images, most of which are different shades of grey and hardly separable. Skilled radiologists are able to identify broken bones, spot pneumonia, or even detect breast cancer (“X-Rays”). When someone’s health is at risk, it is imperative that the right assumptions are made. A radiologist’s prowess can be supplemented by the types of games most parents fear: first person shooters. Bavelier observed that “very practiced action gamers” could “[perceive] fine differences in contrast” a