Gaming shapes minds for the better

by | Jan 30, 2020 | Biz/Tech

Nicholas Rahmon, Biz/Tech Reporter

While playing video games, the mind directs its focus beyond normal activities, and in its place, a passion to compete online comes into play.

E-gaming is a form of competition where players go head-to-head online.

With rewards in place, it’s risen in popularity from local cafes hosting tournaments and has entered the conversation on whether it should be considered a physical sport or an activity.

Humber game programming student Eric Mazza described entering this new reality as “a form of interactive media that allows us to experience things as we’ve never been able to before.”

Mazza said video games can change the perception of the world where “a video game can take you to any time, any place, even places completely fabricated.

“You’re able to interact with your environment, allowing you to be more immersed in the material,” he said. “Almost every game has a lesson to it at its core and looking for that can help change your world view if it’s presented strongly enough.”

Although video games provide a lesson in history — or a lesson of what will be — it continues to be criticized for guiding the youth in the wrong direction and not scientifically aiding cognitive development.

Senior Research Scientist and co-founder at Applied Brain Research Travis DeWolf disagrees.

“I read this article a couple of years ago saying that first-person shooter games helped people’s reaction time and ability to quickly switch between subtasks and that they can be a tool to aid cognitive decline in older adults,” said DeWolf, who studies the brain’s control system.

Humber’s program coordinator of game programming Umer Noor said he sees playing video games as a way to de-stress.

“Like all things, it has its pros and cons,” he said. “Personally speaking, I didn’t like playing video games to come down from the day and think about other things, the same kind of way as reading a book or watching a movie.

“Playing games that challenge your mind such as Tetris can be logical where it’s good to have spatial awareness,” Noor said.

He said video games provide a chance for a player to enter “someone else’s shoes.”

Through gaming, Noor sees Humber students who are excited to join leagues of their own and are proud of attending tournaments.

“I see it as people playing the same game trying to be the best they can be, either as a team or one on one situation, but there are so many different games where it could be the shooter game, a strategy game,” Noor said.

“There’s so much diversity.”