Video games are such a popular hobby for many people of all ages but opinions on them can vary. Over the last few years, there has been more research into video games and their effects. Many scientists are now arguing that gaming is beneficial for us.
Reasons Why Gaming is Good for You
In moderation, as a part of a balanced life, there are many reasons gaming can be good for you and your mental health.
Video games act as a form of play for many, when the brain is in a state of flow, fully engaged in its task. Research has shown gaming can help people learn quicker, develop their concentration, increase spatial awareness, reasoning skills, memory, problem-solving, ability to multitask and creativity.
Gaming as a hobby is a great way to help you relax and release the stressors of the day. It can be a great way to connect with others as you play together and work towards a shared goal. You feel a sense of achievement and success as you play. It can build your resilience and determination as you try to achieve the win. Passion and enthusiasm for the game brings joy and all those feel-good emotions.
How to Get Started with Gaming When You’re a Beginner
Never before have video games been so accessible. They can be played on so many devices including phones, tablets, laptops and of course game consoles. The range of games available is phenomenal and many are free. It is now so easy to have a go. There is just about anything and everything you can think of to play.
Playing on a laptop or PC works well for us because it is a large screen with easy controls on the keyboard and mouse. The idea of a separate device from the TV also appeals as it stops us from sitting on the sofa for too long as we flick between TV and games (moderation is key).
A quick search will bring up a wide choice of games and easily lets you find the type of games you’re interested in. Many games can be played without the need to sign up too. Playing the games is as simple as reading the instructions for how to play, checking the control buttons and clicking on play.
We’ve found that there is a wide range of games online, with something for everyone in the family. Our kids certainly have their favourite games that they like to come back to. This has turned into a useful lesson for sharing and turn-taking with the tablet or laptop in our house!
What Kind of Games Should I be Playing?
The answer to this is simple, there is no right or wrong answer, whichever game you fancy! What are you interested in? Try out some different games and see what appeals to you and what you enjoy. Is it puzzles? Multiplayer games? Platform games? All of these different types of games can give you a boost. The beauty of free games means you can try something new so easily without having to pay out.
Online Games We Love to Play
Our list of favourite games changes all the time, but we’ve found that there are some strong recurring themes.
First off we love a puzzle or problem-solving style game. Coding games satisfy this urge and we feel like we’re stretching those brains of ours. For our kids, it also helps develop their coding skills which is a big part of the computing curriculum in England. They can help to build logic, resilience, direction, organisational skills, problem-solving and so on. Fun and educational, what could be better?
One of the coding games we like to play is Code Panda. You are challenged to complete each level by moving across the board in a set number of moves. Collect the gold coins and reach the bamboo. Choose the instructions you want the panda to follow, place them in order, and press play to see if it gets to where you want it to go.
It starts easy and gets increasingly more difficult with each level. At the end of each level, you feel like you’ve achieved something and maybe learned a little bit more about how to write your own code. The levels are short and you can quickly level up. Get a star rating for each level, with the option to redo it, if you want to improve your score.
Some of the games we like to play are quite silly and just for the fun of it. We like to take turns playing and see who can get the best score. Hidden Food is one of these games. It’s a simple game where you need to find the hidden food or kitchen appliance before the timer runs out. On the earlier levels, you will get a little clue with the item moving slightly if you don’t get it quickly. As you progress through each level, the screen becomes more densely packed and the items get smaller making it more of a challenge. If you do run out of time on any level you can get as many replays as you like.
We also love the different types of solitaire games and Mahjong Solitaire is worth a mention as another good one-player puzzle game. We also play it as a two-player collaborative game sometimes (where we work as a team to complete the board). It’s a matching game, match the picture tiles to clear them from the board. However, only free tiles can be matched and not tiles that are in between tiles to the right and left. Tiles are stacked on top of each other too, so it can be worth checking by clicking on them to see if they are free or not. The menu at the right also lets you know how many pairs you need to find and when there are no more, you can shuffle the tiles but you get added time. The time acts as your score, so try and clear the board as quickly as you can.
Conclusion: Gaming is Fun and Can Be Good For Your Health
The games I’ve mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many free games available online. So why not give it a go and see what you think? Slot them into a five-minute work break or while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil. Find some games you like and mix them up with new ones to keep it fun. You get to enjoy yourself and it can be good for you too.