Is playing video games good for you?

Like most teenage boys, I spent plenty of time in front of the TV playing video games as a child. My parents would complain to me that staring at the screen for such lengthy periods of time would only be detrimental to my health; however, I could not believe how wrong they actually were. Over the years, violent video games have been criticized for their negative effects on young children, who tend to become more violent as a result.


In a recent study conducted by Daphne Maurer, from McMaster University in Canada, it was proven that playing certain video games could actually lead to improved vision. The study required six patients, who had lifelong cataract disorders, to play the “first-person shooter” video game “Medal of Honor” for exactly 40 hours over a one-month period. The “Medal of Honor” video game, like many other games available today, requires an enormous amount of concentration by the player due to the distractions taking place during gameplay. As part of the experiment, the patients were advised to play the game 5 times a day for a maximum of two hours a day.

The results from the study showed that the patients’ vision did in fact improve. The patients were now able to see direction of motion more easily, as well as smaller details and things in lower contrast. Maurer stated that about two-thirds of the things that were measured “improved simply from playing an action video game.”

The findings of the experiment were further investigated, such as how these changes in vision are even possible. They discovered that what could be occurring is that the video games could be altering the balance of excitation and inhibition neurons in the visual cortex. The games could actually lead to the rewiring of the brain, resulting in the formation of new connections. They may be revealing connections that have always were always there, but they were never quite powerful enough to be expressed.

This study did make me wonder if only “first-person shooter” video games enhance vision or if other video games are just as effective. It’s quite possible that the increase in adrenaline is what leads to the alteration of the brain’s state; therefore, many different types of video games can have the same impact. It would be interesting to see an experiment in which all kinds of video games were used to measure the change in an individual’s vision.

Works Cited

4 thoughts on “Is playing video games good for you?

  1. Kelli Nicole Ross

    I found this post to be really interesting. As a person who is fairly interested in video games, I always wondered if they were as bad for you as people say. I’ve played the GTA series to Need for Speed to things like little big planet, and I honestly can’t see how video games can do that much harm. Staring at a TV for hours may not be the best for you, but considering the skills you may learn, it seems worth it to me. I found an article that even discusses how video games help children build socially and cognitive skills

  2. Alyssa Marie Gregory

    When I read blogs I sometimes find a counterargument to add more scientific spice to the topic at hand; but in this case I must agree with you. While I must play devils advocate and address the point that just because this one study said that it enhances vision doesn’t necessary mean that it is true. Think about the subjects at hand, some might genetically already have good eye sight. In this instances there are a lot of variables. Moving over to your side I must say video games do have a lot of pros over cons. Growing up my brother would play video games , and I mean A LOT of video games. I would say he played about 5 hours a day. Now to some this is unhealthy but watching my brother grow up I’ve noticed it might’ve made him smart. Playing a lot of strategical and logical war games my brother has phenomenal analytical thinking skills and is a master at geography. He attributes this to his video games. My brother also had great motor skills as a child that shaped him into the eloquent person he is today. Incorporating the idea that there are always other variables I must admit it may depend on the type of video games being played to determine if video games are “good” for you. If you are playing the type of games my brother played you might be at an advantage (some games are educational). But if you are playing shooting games with lots of violence it may bring about a negative side in you. All in all, this topic is subjective in a way that it is hard to determine if video games are “good” for you. In a sense, you may want to further address what you mean by “good.” Good as in mental health, academically, socially, etc. Anyways here is a link showing pros and cons of video games

  3. Kevin Zheng

    This is interesting in that it’s something that most people, including myself, would have to disagree on. I did not know that it could possibly enhance your vision. Just because a study said it does not necessarily mean that correlation = causation. I really admire this post because it shows a different perspective on how people view video games with eyesight. However, I would still have to say that I disagree with it. I found an article that helps defend my point of view on it. This is a great article and very interesting, nonetheless!

  4. Ethan Asam

    It really is incredible the positive affects that people can gain simply by playing video games. They improve motor skills and reflexes and one of the most interesting things I’ve heard relating to video games is the Military is actually designing planes with X-box 360 like controllers to mock what people have been using in war games their whole lives. Here is an example of just that:

Leave a Reply