Can Video Games Also be Applied in Real life?

Posted: December 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

How many hours of spare time do you spend playing video games?

According to a 2014 study on statista.com, 32% of all video game players in the U.S. range from ages 18 to 35, with 39% of players ages 36 and older. As video games become more available, people can accumulate a large number of hours of their time into the games that they play. To some, this may seem like a huge waste, but that same amount of time and effort in gaming can actually be put to good use.

Solving Complex Problems:

The challenges that video games provide, which requires creativity and quick decision making skills can be a great tool in solving complex problems in the real-world. For example, one particular game has helped in solving one of the most pressing issues of molecular biology, more specifically, the way in which proteins fold. In 2008, a team from Washington University released “Foldit,” a free online scientific puzzle game where players can manipulate the structure of proteins – long chains of amino acids – that fold and bend in certain ways. The objective of the game is for players to find the most efficient way of compacting these proteins and as a protein’s function is determined by its shape, a badly-folded protein could either not work properly or worse, result in forms of cancer or disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. The team then collects the player’s results and recreates them in an actual laboratory where they can be used as potential cures for those diseases.

Encouraging Collaboration:

In the world of video games, multiple players are encouraged to work in groups so as to efficiently accomplish a given task with lesser time and effort. This is show in the popular online game Minecraft. Unlike most video games, Minecraft has no main objective, and one of its most unique features is the games “creative mode,” where players can freely build whatever object or structure they want.

Building massive scale projects in Minecraft would take an unbelievable amount of time and effort to complete by just one person, and that cooperation is not just in building, but also in survival because as the game enters its “night-cycle” or if you are playing in “survival mode,” monsters will spawn continuously, and that multiple players will be much safer protecting each other as a group.

Real World Simulations:

In the military, soldiers are trained to tackle harsh conditions and to be ready for any situation during a mission. However, for important or dangerous missions there is still unknown factor that may occur and that soldiers have only one attempt at success. Should the result end in failure, one or more of the squad members may end up injured, captured, or worse killed. What video game technology provides is that it would allow soldiers to safely train within a simulated environment in order to reduce the team’s margin for error. Using satellite imagery and geographical data of the target location, the army is able to create digital replicas of real-world places which they can use to run practice sessions of the actual mission. And because the computer records everything that the soldiers are doing, the mission data can be analyzed afterwards.

As technology continues to develop more and more each day, we are seeing video games with higher realism in graphics, smarter game programs that are closer mimicking human behavior, and virtual reality, where the immersive nature of video games literally take on a whole new perspective. Maybe those kinds of video games would be sitting in your living room sometime in the future, and if they are, how would those help us? only time will tell.

 

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