Games Make You Smart, Part 75, Starring Will Wright, Tetris and more
OMG! Games are good for the gray matter! I'm not exactly sure when the first scientific study about the benificient qualities of game playing came about. But it probably occurred some time during the Atari era. Since the advent of the Nintendo Brain Games on Wii and especially DS, these studies have become ubiquitous. PopCap seems to put one out every few months.
And yet, they're always somehow compelling to hear about, even if the company making the game sponsors a scientist or a doctor for the research.
Yesterday, there was a news of new MRI study about Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov's landmark game, which still is popular 25 years after it was released. According to the work of Dr. Richard Haier and the Mind Research Network, Tetris "can create positive changes in our brains--most notably in the areas believed to be those that play a role in critical thinking, language processing, and the planning of coordinated movements." And everyone knows, gamers need more coordination. I certainly do.
Along those lines, you might want to check out Will Wright's NPR interview with biologist E. O. Wilson. Not only was Wright's SimAnt inspired by Wilson's work with the social insects, the admiration from the good doctor was mutual. Paulson feels that games are the future of education. In other words, games make you smart: gaming is art.