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How Gaming Can Be Good For Grown-Ups

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While it’s easy to think of gaming as purely kids’ stuff and collectively focus attention on keeping mature titles out of the hands of young impressionable minds, the most ardent gamers out there are actually adults.

The nonprofit Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) found that the average game player is anything but a sweaty, anti-social teen. Instead, as of 2010, the average age of a gamer is 34, the average age of a game purchaser is 39 and the average gamer has been playing for 12 years.

Of the 67 percent of American households that play games, 49 percent are in the 18-49 range, followed by a close margin of under 18 and over 50. Game creators should take note and create different objectives for game-playing guys.

Grown-up males, on the other hand, may want more from their game experience than just mowing down legions of enemies. Instead, they may thrill at the prospect of solving complex puzzles, making ethical decisions or being part of fantasy environments. Or all of the above, like in the Grand Theft Auto series, which allows players to commit anti-social crimes, but also encourages them to responsibly buy car insurance.

Here are some other benefits for male adult gamers.

Improved eyesight

The Visual Development Lab at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada found that people with cataracts who played first-person shooter (FPS) games with a battlefield setting for 40 hours over a month showed improvements in their eyesight in both eyes, even if some of the vision problems were present since childhood. The study credited the fast pace, the constant motion and the variety of tasks required with contributing to these improvements, combined with increased production of dopamine and adrenaline which causes pleasure and excitement.

You’ll feel better

Researchers are studying how video games can reduce pain or at least get our brains focusing on other areas, which may lead to helpful methods of treating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Biofeedback research at East Carolina University asked study subjects to play non-violent puzzle games such as Bejeweled Blitz, and found a reduction in depression and anxiety starting as soon as 30 minutes of gameplay and even more significant results after a month.

You can connect with other gamers

Even if you’re a guy who doesn’t always like going out, today’s console and PC games make it easy to interact with others online, such as a virtual MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) found in the World of Warcraft or a squad member in a military shooter games. The higher Internet speed you have the better your game play experience can be, meaning a more immersive, life-like interaction.

Increased capacity to learn

A 2012 study in Current Biology concluded that game play goes beyond mastering a simple task to complete an objective. Instead, games, especially action games, can enhance the ability to learn many new tasks easier and faster, especially ones beyond the original goal. The study’s creator said these findings can go beyond entertainment and could be used for training and education.

So the next time your girlfriend or wife gets on your case about your video game habit, tell her that you’re doing it for your own well being. 🙂

Randal is a lifelong gamer who blogs about mobile and console video games.

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