Games are a way for humans to interact, challenge and have fun. They can be simple, like tic-tac-toe or connect four, or can be complex and play for millions of dollars, like professional basketball. Some games are even used as a form of exercise or for competition, such as football. But not all games are fun to play, and they can be harmful if you’re overdoing it. That’s why it’s important to keep a balance when playing video games, just like anything else in life.
While there are many negative stereotypes of gamers — the loner in his mom’s basement, for example — games can actually be beneficial. They can promote cognitive growth, help people stay active and healthy, and teach valuable skills for both work and play.
Many people play games to feel challenged and to achieve a sense of accomplishment. They can also be a great stress relief and way to socialize with friends. However, there are some dangers to gaming, including the increased risk of depression, obesity and addiction. Some people also report feeling distant from their family and friends while they play games.
There are many different types of games, from single-player adventures that tell a story to multiplayer online games with thousands of players at one time. Some games can be instructional by design, teaching a lesson in history or another school topic; this is called educational software or edutainment. Others can be a way to practice real-world skills, such as spatial reasoning and multitasking.
A game’s controls and world are designed to create a feeling of immersion. Unlike movies and books, which are viewed passively, a game provides the player with full control over what they see, hear and do. It’s this immersion that makes many games so engrossing and challenging.
Some games require a lot of mental and physical effort to complete, which can be good for the brain’s health. They can also help develop hand-eye coordination and train the eye to focus for extended periods of time. These are important skills for kids, who can sometimes have trouble paying attention in class.
Video games can also provide a creative outlet for artistic expression. This can be seen in the cartoon-inspired cel shading of the Borderlands series, the black and white silhouettes of LIMBO or the Studio Ghibli collaborated art style in Ni no Kuni. These types of games can inspire creativity and encourage a more unique perspective on the world.
Games can be a great way to teach kids about money, separating wants from needs and focusing on goals. Using games in the classroom can also make students more receptive to learning, since they will have a connection to the material from something they enjoy. This is a great way to engage today’s digital natives in the classroom, and even give them a leg up when they’re looking for jobs in the future. Learn more about how to use video games to teach kids at Thrive’s Teacher Training.