“What can change the nature of a man?” is the central question in Planescape: Torment, Black Isle’s philosophical 1999 RPG. Well, among other things, playing video games. Studies indicate that video games can be good for players, reports a WSJ article:
A growing body of university research suggests that gaming improves creativity, decision-making and perception. The specific benefits are wide ranging, from improved hand-eye coordination in surgeons to vision changes that boost night driving ability.
Interesting. The research also finds that there are negative effects to playing violent games, as well. That doesn’t surprise me, but you have to weigh the pros and cons, which I think ultimately is something only the individual players can do.
However, I’m kind of disappointed at the kind of benefits they’re looking for in games. It’s well and good that they find they support better hand/eye coordination and such, but my contention has always been that the best games carry intellectual benefits; similar to great literature, there can be a very sophisticated emotional response to games that improves the player’s mind.
Still, it’s a bit of good news.