universal appeal of online games is astounding. Research shows that one in four
internet users visit online game websites, bringing the annual total to more than
217 million online game players worldwide. Online game communities are populated
by people from both sexes and all age groups. Everywhere, people are spending
time playing strategy, board and trivia games. But is all this game play healthy?
Yes probably in more ways than you think.
Memory and Develop Cognitive Skills
has long been known to improve brain function, but finding the right games or
a partner to play with has sometimes made it difficult to exercise these skills
on a regular basis. Today young and old alike are finding fun challenges and cognitive
boosters in online games targeting memory and responsiveness. Puzzle games such
as Mahjong or Sudoku, trivia games like Slingo MatchUms and strategy games like
Quiximity are easy to learn and start playing, yet offer an ongoing challenge
tend to use certain parts of their brains often, while other parts are less active.
By playing games that focus on reasoning, logic, speed and memory, you can work
out those lesser used parts of the brain. Studies have shown that memory,
puzzle, trivia and logic games can help stave off dementia and the forgetfulness
that sometimes comes with old age. Using all areas of the brain can have big benefits
for you now and as you grow older.
children, these same challenges can enhance the cognitive development they are
undergoing as they grow. Where speed and memory might not be as much of a challenge
to a 13-year-old, reasoning and logic probably are. Games have always been a part
of the childhood growth cycle. Alternating physical play with todays plethora
of online games offers a healthy balance and gives the brain the workout it needs.
challenges, cooperative play and rich story lines draw game players in, but part
of what makes online games highly popular is the social interaction. Through online
interactions, players build both casual and meaningful relationships.
time spent in multiplayer games and online game communities, players have the
opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and meet new people. Chatting
with partners or competitors during play adds a higher level of enjoyment to the
game and creates a sense of camaraderie. Players often find that partnering up
with someone to overcome a difficult challenge through personal experience and
know-how can be as satisfying online as it is in the real world.
online games and online game communities offer opportunities to promote social
interaction within existing relationships as well. When friends and family members
are miles apart, staying in contact can be challenging at best. But, today grandpa
and grandson can go head to head each night battling it out over chess, backgammon
and 8-ball, while old college buddies are playing checkers, bingo and sub-hunt
all the while talking about the day and staying involved in each others
is also the potential for online games to help families deal with chronic illness
and other health issues. In 2006, the not-for-profit Starlight Starbright Children's
Foundation released several online games designed to help children understand
and cope with serious illness. Games can be easier to understand than books and
pamphlets, especially when dealing with health. From battling cancer cells to
understanding bone morrow, from pain management to managing dyslexia, free online
games allow families to use imagination and creativity, while opening the door
to understanding and recovery.
BIG thanks to R.L. Fielding and Slingo for providing Good Deal Games with this
is a leading online destination for people who enjoy playing games, winning prizes
and having fun. Slingo offers free, original online games, free multiplayer tournaments,
downloadable games, and contests with cash prizes,
as well as a social-networking
community for game players. For more information, please visit http://www.slingo.com.
Fielding has been a freelance writer for 10 years, offering her expertise and
skills to a variety of major organizations in the education, pharmaceuticals and
healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing industries. She lives in New
Jersey with her dog and two cats and enjoys rock climbing and ornamental gardening.