The Positive Effects of Mobile Gaming
By Jessica Oaks
It’s easy to write off mobile gaming as a waste of time. After all, people do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on their mobile devices these days. And yet, mobile gaming can’t be easily summed up or so quickly rejected out of hand – it is many things to many people.
Where one may see nothing but frivolous gameplay, someone else may see an educational resource, healthy living supplement, or physical fitness aid. It’s important to realize that not all mobile games are created equal; that some mobile games do in fact provide real benefits. Believe it or not, the positive effects of mobile gaming are many. Mobile games can do quite a lot, including…
Promote Mental Development
If you have a mother or father who plays Sudoku on their smartphone, or are one of those puzzle game players yourself, then you already know that there are a number of mobile games that promote mental development. And the people who can benefit from such games cover the gamut. From mobile games designed with infants and toddlers in mind, to games intended to help the elderly maintain visual and mental acuity in their advanced age, mobile devices have proven to be an effective platform for education and mental development (so much so that they are even used in the classroom). The next time you find yourself criticizing someone for spending too much time on his or her phone, consider the possibility that they could simply be keeping their mind sharp.
Encourage Physical Activity
It isn’t just Fitbits and pedometers that help people track their physical activity. Mobile gaming is a natural fit for active individuals. Video games can help individuals stay motivated and encourage them to continue pushing themselves by incentivizing the workout routine. Look no further than Pokémon Go – it has encouraged literally millions of people of all age groups to leave the house and get outside. True, it’s likely you’ve seen the odd adult or two hunting Pokémon from their car, but for many young children and teenagers, the mobile game has spurred a new revolution in physical activity. And that’s certainly something that everyone can get behind.
Supplement Traditional Educational Resources
Today’s mobile processors are incredibly powerful. Your mobile phone has as much computing power as some desktop computers did just a decade ago. This has resulted in phones that are faster and more capable than ever; advanced graphics and lightning quick multitasking are no longer the exclusive domain of the laptop.
This capability has transformed smartphones from simple media devices into full fledged portable computers. And this makes smartphones incredibly potent educational tools. There are a multitude of apps and mobile games that educate children (and adults alike) through gameplay. Anyone who learned about the Oregon Trail by playing the eponymous computer game will tell you the value of education through gaming. Mobile gaming can engage children in learning materials and promote more active participation.
Help Individuals Maintain Healthy Lifestyles
Mobile games and apps can certainly prompt you to get up and move. But they can do more than that – they can help you live a healthier overall life as well. A number of mobile games aid people with dieting and exercise by encouraging good habits and healthy practices. Employing the tried-and-true method of gamification (that is, making “work” fun by rewarding participation), these games allow people to take control over their lives and commit to something they might otherwise quit (or never start in the first place). If you’ve ever challenged a friend to a fitness challenge (be it a weight loss challenge or a bench press competition), then you know just how effective gamification can be when it comes to encouraging good lifestyle habits.
Don’t Scoff. Gaming Can Be Good for You!
Perhaps we should be spending less time on our phones. Or perhaps it isn’t an issue after all. That’s a debate for another article. What is true is that mobile gaming can and does provide real, tangible benefits. People all over the world live healthier lives, eat healthier diets, stay physically fit, explore their surroundings, learn about new ideas and subjects, and stay mentally sharp because of mobile games. And if that isn’t evidence enough of the value of mobile gaming, what is?