My Answer - "Yes...most of the time...but they can still be fun."
OK they do have some useful aspects as well but most of us play computer games purely for entertainment and then wonder where all the time went.
“So what are the benefits?”
- They help stimulate the brain and improve reaction times. All computer games work on some sort of response versus reaction to some degree. The computer provides you, the player, with a stimulus to which you, the player, respond. The speed and accuracy of your response is then measured by your relative success in the game. When we start a new game our initial success with it will be limited but as we play we generally improve. Thus showing that our speed and accuracy is improving to the given stimuli.
- Computer games can also help with hand/eye coordination. Controlling a mouse or joy stick accurately takes practice. However, it could be argued that this form of hand/eye coordination is only useful for playing games. Maybe but it probably does help people who need to use a joystick in their work. Many surgeons, for example, these days use a joystick type control during keyhole surgery.
- PC games can help relieve boredom for people who are immobile for whatever reason.
- Some PC games include an educational element mainly for children to help them learn to spell or add up etc.
- Flight Simulator apparently can account for a small amount of your flight training time if you are studying for a private pilots licence in the States. Personally being both a private pilot and past user of Flight Sim I really can’t see the benefit. I always crash in Flight Sim. Some of the instrumentation is quite good as a training aid but there are far better computer based instrument training aids on the market that are not games.
“So, with all this long list of reasons upholding the usefulness of computer games why do I still believe they are a waste of time?”
Because 99% of computer games are played either purely to pass time or because the players are so addicted to playing them they would rather do that than do anything useful. I’ve been there, hooked on playing Doom. I know what it’s like and how quickly it eats up not just your spare time but the time you really should be spending on important stuff.
You could argue that playing a computer game is no more a waste of time than reading a novel. To some extent that is true but the difference is a novel has an end whereas computer games can go on indefinitely particularly if you keep re-playing them to try and improve on a previous score.
Am I a humbug? Probably but I will still admit such games are often fun and can give you quite an adrenalin rush at times.