Editiorial: Video games can be brain boosters, too

By Staff Editorial

The next time you’re finishing up — or further delaying — your homework and… The next time you’re finishing up — or further delaying — your homework and need a few minutes to relax, pick up the video game controller, not the remote.

According to research presented at a recent conference at New York University, there are more benefits to video games than hours of button-mashing fun. Rather than turning the brain to mush, some video games actually stimulate brain activity and increase cognitive ability, peripheral vision, coordination and memory. It’s the fast-paced games that typically show the latter benefits, the Associated Press reports.

But college students who spend more time seated in front of the PlayStation than the lecturing professor still shouldn’t be applauded. Even with the uptick in cognitive abilities, video games are first and foremost mindless entertainment, or perhaps now better described as mostly mindless.

Even if they’re still played just for fun, the claim that video games are a complete waste of time loses some merit in light of the current research. Then again, if students trade studying or exercising for more hours spent shooting up digital Nazis, the benefit is outweighed.

As long as students keep those video game sessions from turning into marathons, we can enjoy some benefit while still having fun. In the end we’re probably better off reaching for a book than the controller, but sometimes we all need to veg out without feeling guilty for wasting time.