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Games Good For You? What About MMOs?

Posted by Dana Wednesday October 28 2009 at 1:14PM
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CNN has a little slide-show that shows a few ways video games have been proven to have positive health benefits for those using them.

It's a fascinating list. Obviously, the benefits of hand-eye coordination have always been something people pointed at, but actually using it to "warm up" surgeons who make less mistakes as a result is a wonderful fact to know. They also studied to show that video games can do more good for "lazy eye" than traditional medical treatments and can be used to treat Parkinson's.

The trick here is that most of these games are of a specific kind. It takes Wii-Fit to help Parkinson's, FPSs to help "lazy eye," etc.

So, today, I got to wondering what benefits there are to MMOs? They've become a kind of target for a lot of media outlets and obviously have their negative sides.

For me, MMOs have done a lot of great things. For one, they in part taught me how to write. Sometimes we forget that when we talk about "socialization" and the like, we're really talking about a very basic skill: typing.

Through MMOs, I learned that very basic skill. It taught me to type quickly, and properly. Later, it also inspired me to learn how to write and eventually led to a career writing about them. My parents might in some ways be secretly happy I ignored so many earnest pleas to go outside and stop playing on the Internet.

What other benefits do you think MMOs bring in general to people who play them? We spend so much time focused on the bad, it's easy to overlook the good.

Hardanger writes:

MMO's provide a possibility for friends and families to socialize when they otherwise couldn't because of the distance from each other.  Plus, there are some MMO's (Darkfall, Fallen Earth) that help hand-to-eye coordination.  Not to mention that all MMO's stimulate the imagination and can act as an escape from the real world - when needed. 

Wed Oct 28 2009 1:48PM Report
Ruyn writes:

MMO's are good for certain people but need to be broken down on a per game basis.  For instance, Mensa people should play EVE to enhance their creativity while people with brain damage should play WoW.

Wed Oct 28 2009 1:59PM Report
astrob0y writes:

"people with brain damage should play WoW." 

love that line., not becuse its true.

Wed Oct 28 2009 4:39PM Report
therez0 writes:

Most MMOs can be useful to learn economics and minor marketing skills.  Any game that has a crafting/harvesting system is an example of this.  Certain players learn to harvest the materials, then they have to learn to meter supply and demand, finally they have to market their materials better than other sellers.

Wed Oct 28 2009 6:46PM Report
pojung writes:

It's a question of the gamer's willingness to learn rather than be a passive zombie. Sitting in front of a computer for hours on end is hardly physically 'healthy' by any means, but an actively engaged individual might pull out ahead when it comes to brain development.

MMOs provide a great opportunity to learn about micro and macro-economics, economic trends and shifts that take place and why. The smaller marketplace in an MMO is a great launching pad toward understanding how money moves and why. The cherry being it's all fake money as well... so there's no real life risk involved when making risks in e-commerce gaming. This can build confidence and knowledge that is required of any broker, on a much smaller scale.

MMOs, as previously stated, provide a great window in which to study sociologic behavoir. Learn how the individual mind works and how a collective thinks. It's interesting and can be at times quite alarming!

Teamwork. How to build a team, lead a team, be a working member in a team, serving in a role that acts on a larger's behalf. Short of devolving into assinine teenage behavior, an MMO can be quite the tool for building groups and promoting a bigger than self sense. This hinges on gamers not abusing internet anonymity.

Wed Oct 28 2009 7:28PM Report
Blazz writes:

Sceduling, management, teamwork, team building, all good, all good.

I never used to be an "efficiency" person, but after playing MMOs for the last four years I have become an efficiency nazi. I get angry when my girlfriend takes a route that is notably longer than others, and it's sort of a problem.

At work, however, being an efficiency nazi (I currently still work at McDonald's, ugh) means that I hardly ever make mess, while getting burgers out at a good standard rate. When I start, the place is usually a bit of a mess and by the time I leave, it's clean.

When someone is making a burger and rushing it out, they might spill some sauce and lettuce. Sure, in the end they may have been one second faster than me in making their burger, but afterwards they will spend an extra five or six seconds cleaning up their mess, that could otherwise have been spent on further burger production.

Little things like this that I myself think of after playing MMOs and trying to level up in the most efficient way - along with boss fights and their "over a longer period of time, this is better" methodology.


I learned to type very fast mostly due to real time strategy games, like Starcraft or Age of Empires, because of cheats. I was a huge cheater when I was younger. Show me the money. Show me the money. Show me the money. Show me the money.

Or, alternatively.

bigdaddy bigdaddy bigdaddy

Things like this made me get ridiculously fast at typing, but I can't deny that MMOs didn't help further that speed, I suppose.

Thu Oct 29 2009 3:08AM Report
Necronamis writes:

For me, MMOs helped me stay out of trouble. During my "young'n dumb" phase, I had gotten into trouble with Johnny Law and landed myself on felony probation. I spent that entire time playing vanilla WoW as a raid leader. Since I spent all my time learning boss tactics and group dynamics, I successfully completed my probation and stayed on the right side of the law since. Also kicked a lot of boss asses!

Thu Oct 29 2009 5:52PM Report
daltanious writes:

Ruyn, welcome to wow, good to have another brain damaged on board.

Fri Oct 30 2009 1:15AM Report
Scot writes:

Must MMO’s have a benefit? Is this to catch some media interest, to make our entertainment seem worthy? Is there a list about the benefits of films or TV?

MMO’s are entertainment and why some posters here have pointed out benefits they need have none. Just enjoy yourselves.

Fri Oct 30 2009 3:41AM Report writes:
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