What do games make you smarter in?
Intelligence is a summation of various parts that make up what perceive as intelligence. The best way to go about this is by improving the constituent parts, or perhaps you have a particular area that you wish to be better in. For those wishing to create game-like situations in your workplace to improve any of the aspects in yourself or your colleagues, then study what each game offers its players and how those could be of use to you. Later we’ll discuss the inherent areas associated with them and how you can connect them in the real world.
If you wish to improve your memory or what is measured when testing for IQ’s or get better at problem-solving then playing puzzle and/or platform games is the best choice for you. Examples of such games are Angry Birds or mobile devices, Mario games on consoles or Portal or Fez on the PC. All these games have puzzle elements in them and require lateral thinking to achieve the goals. The added benefit is that many of these games also serve as relaxing and anti-anxiety experiences.
If you’re more into the region wanting to develop long-term strategic thinking, logic, reasoning and also work on your EQ then the RPG (role-playing game) genre is a good choice. These include solo games such as the Elder Scrolls series, the Final Fantasy series, but also the online multiplayer games such as World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy online (a two for one in this case) and EVE Online.
Leading from strategic thinking, you may want to improve planning, multitasking, and prioritization for both and long and short term. The RTS (real-time strategy) genre is the best option here. This includes games such as StarCraft 1,2, Age of Empires, Warcraft 3, Total War franchise, and so on.
For those keener on physical improvements such as hand-eye coordination, reflexes, accuracy and split-second decision making, then FPS’s (first-person shooters) are the ones for you. The games of note in these are Doom, Battlefield franchise, Overwatch and Counter-Strike.
The majority of games are played online and they all do have an aspect of working as a team. To do this effectively you need to practice communication and planning. Co-op games are great for this. Games such as Dungeon Defenders 1,2, Don’t Starve Together and any MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) such as Heroes of the Storm or League Legends, offer opportunities to practice those skills. And these don’t necessarily need to be online either, co-op board games such as Pandemic or Eldritch Horror are good examples of this.
Other specific traits such as focus, concentration, creativity and improving happiness or well-being are actually achieved by the majority of good well-designed games. For focus and concentration try listening to Game soundtracks, as they’ve been specifically designed to keep people engaged for long periods of time. Even as I’m writing this, I’m listening to a game soundtracks playlist on Spotify, and I can attest to the fact that it works. Creativity can be improved through sandbox games like Minecraft, any survival game, even EVE Online (another two for one, creativity and strategic thinking naturally go hand in hand). And improving happiness and wellbeing is all about increasing your resilience, especially a resilience to failure. Games allow you to fail and learn from it. Which something very useful in the real world.
Interdisciplinary skills from Games to the Real
Naturally, with all of those great examples, you will need some context as to how to apply them outside of games. Many are base level skills that everyone should really improve, and through that practice become smarter. If you’re inclined to creating game-based or game-like environments to harness and continue practicing those skills, then the following of types of intelligence should hopefully offer than needed context.
Games help improve Spatial Intelligence, as the name suggests it’s about being able to think and work in three dimensions. A neuroscientist from Harvard, known as Howard Gardner, categorized this and many other forms of intelligence. Gamers, such as those playing an FPS require spatial reasoning, mental image manipulation and have active imaginations to deduce future events.
Next in Howard Gardner’s list is Logical Intelligence. This is the area of reasoning, deductive, inductive thinking and out-of-the-box thinking. All things required in the professional business world. Gamers will have all of these if they are dealing with strategic problems in games like StarCraft or required to come up with new methods when dealing with boss fights or larger game world issues such as EVE Online deep economic market.
Interpersonal Intelligence is also developed in games, as people need to learn how to deal with strangers quickly and efficiently, often requiring quick team-ups to deal with quest objectives, like in World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy.
And finally, Kinaesthetic Intelligence is improved with simulation games, which require players to actively and physically practice certain skills. These are of note for certain professions like Doctors, Dentists, Surgeons, Soldiers, and so on. As it’s easier for them to improve that intelligence in simulation before trying it out in the real world. And as many of the above listed, it’s far more successful to have a fully trained individual from the virtual world come into a real-world situation.