If you grew up during the 80s you’ll no doubt remember The Karate Kid’s infamous “wax on, wax off!” line spawning a movement of seemingly simple, everyday tasks that could turn you into a black belt. While it’s no black belt, a few hours of playing video games every week is all you need to become smarter. Playing video games, such as the vast minigames in Little Space Heroes can actually increase the abstract, critical thinking part of your brain that isn’t exercised in schools or at work.
These benefits span all age brackets. It all starts from an early age, according to Kenneth Ginsburg, a psychologist on the Committee on Communications and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, who says games, “allow children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers. As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges. Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.”[i]
Ginsburg, speaking for the American Academy of Pediatrics, believes these skills can be developed across a range of platforms. Anything from the point-and-shoot arcade style mini-games scattered across our virtual universe, to the puzzles in Glow Rescue, Professor Q’s Bubble Konfabulator and Worm Farm Mania, will get a player’s brain involved in following instructions, solving problems, applying logic and reasoning, and fine-tuning hand-eye coordination and spatial skills.
Our award-winning virtual universe Little Space Heroes can help kids develop thinking in resource management and logistics, because our young heroes are saving up to buy the next trick starjet, multitasking and tracking variables and managing multiple objectives – solving tricky space puzzles is no easy feat! – and quick thinking, training young minds to make fast decisions, like in Starstruck Theatre where their motor skills are teamed with musical ability in the band game.
Video games are designed to help your brain think ahead, analyse situations, and develop strategies, easily calculate and quickly read instructions. There’s a whole other set of great things your brain does in the background while you have fun playing: recognising patterns, estimating, reasoning inductively, and mapping. It simulates real world skills and helps create reasoned judgments.
Little Space Heroes, while designed primarily as a fun online adventure, simulates real life skills like teamwork, effortlessly arming young heroes with skills that will be critical in the future. Most of all, our game provides an endless source of entertainment because you can go dancing, start a band, explore the far reaches of the galaxy or dive deep underwater. Grab your son, daughter, younger brother or sister and give your brain the workout it deserves with all the fun it wants. Oh, and have fun!
[i] Kenneth Ginsburg, “The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds”, Pediatrics Vol. 119, No. 1, pp. 182 – 191 available online at http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;119/1/182