Video Games and Obesity

It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that video games and obesity are linked. I have to admit that I am a little jealous and grateful at the same time that the technology of today was not around when I was a child. Video games can be fun and are definitely addictive. Overweight children generally live more sedentary lifestyles and are socially less active. They have more idle time and since video games can be so addictive they find themselves playing games for entertainment. The implications of this is that playing video games could cause obesity rather than obesity being a cause of playing video games.

Comparing video games and obesity to television viewing it would seem fairly obvious that television viewing is the worse of the two evils. Most traditional video games require the use of two hands to operate the game controller. One could theorize that while playing video games children are snacking less and are not exposed to advertisements promoting unhealthy foods. Of course, the downside to this theory is the “pause” button. Additionally studies have shown that heavier children spend more time in sedentary activities than thinner kids do. Children with lower body mass indexes are more likely to use computers for non-game purposes, and their video game usage varies.

Because of video games and obesity the manufacturers of electronic games have had a bad reputation over the years. But just like any good business they have come up with a solution that may very well be an answer to childhood obesity. Integrated game consoles such as Nintendo Wii have opened up a whole new perspective on physical activity. “Children burn more than four times as many calories per minute playing an active video game than playing a seated game, and their heart rate is also significantly higher with the active game”, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The Nintendo Wii game is user friendly and entertaining for everyone including spectators. It comes with 5 sports games: bowling, golf, boxing, tennis, and baseball along with other features such as a body mass index calculator and a tracking system for up to 8 users. The game is played by using the controller in a similar fashion as you would a bowling ball or golf club. Another popular game is the XaviX gaming system. Quite similar to the Nintendo Wii system except it also sports games that involve more physical activity such as jogging by use of a gaming mat called the XaviX-J-Mat.

It is refreshing to know that video games and obesity have hope. Video games do come with a price tag but when it comes to your childs health it is worth the investment. Extertainment games could pay for themselves when you consider the savings from medical bills, emergency room visits, and other costs associated with obesity treatment. If you find yourself in a no win situation with the kids and video games this may be a positive solution for the whole family to enjoy. Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, “the power of technological progress can be converted from foe to friend with regard to the health of children” by being tapped to provide a meaningful source of physical activity (Reinberg, HealthDay, 9/1/08; Mellecker/McManus, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, September 2008]). While these may prove to be beneficial, parents should encourage outdoor activity to further help prevent obesity.

Train Your Brain With Action Games and Fighting Games

Maybe you’ve heard that playing video games will rot your brain or lead to other negative consequences. While sitting in front of the screen for hours a day may take time away from other positive activities, the mental stimulation of game playing has proven benefits. Action games, fighting games and other fast-paced adventures can actually help your brain.

Studies have shown that playing action games can improve sharpness of vision, accuracy, alertness and response times. One study showed that gamers made accurate decisions 25% more quickly than those who don’t play. Oddly enough, fighting games and shooters have demonstrated more positive effects than strategy based games. The fast action provides a high level of stimulation that keeps the brain active and engaged. The ability to focus on a task at hand while ignoring distractions is enhanced by playing these types of games.

It has long been known that puzzles and games are good for aging individuals, with the benefits of improving mental fitness and reducing the cognitive decline of old age. Contrary to popular opinion, research suggests that video action games may be more effective than the old-fashioned crossword puzzle or card game. Maybe it’s time to pit Grandma and Grandpa against each other in a fighting game!

Gamers will be happy to hear that these effects increase with the amount of gaming. That is, the more time you spend playing video games, the more of these benefits you will see. Of course, it is still important to act with moderation. Too much time in the virtual world can result in neglecting things like work, school, family or physical activity.

So, do you need to drop hundreds of dollars on expensive game consoles or computer software? That is certainly an option. However, as the old saying goes, sometimes the best things are free. Gamers today have more options than ever before, and many of them won’t cost you a penny. From apps on your mobile phone to social networks and browser based Flash, HTML5 or JavaScript games, there are plenty of free options.

Remember, to realize the most benefits of brain boosting gaming, you’ll want to opt for fast-paced adventure and fighting games. Now that online games are sophisticated enough to rival traditional console, arcade and PC software games, it’s easy to find websites that let you play directly from a web browser. In fact, there are dozens of great free games available to you right now.

Get gaming and boost your brain power!

Play Video Games and Get Paid!

Most people don’t know that playing games can be a really good source for income. Game companies are testing their games before they release them to the market. This industry, with $60 billion in sales per year, is looking for gamers who detect bugs and other programming flaws in their games. Therefore those who are spending most of their time playing video games can consider to get a job as a game quality tester.

Testing their products before release is very important to companies, as customers can be dissatisfied if their newly bought games are full of errors. A game that has not been thoroughly tested can bring important losses at the scale of millions of dollars, and beyond this, the company’s reputation is at stake.

Senior game testers are paid about $30 per hour, but even a novice can start with $10. This type of work is flexible, so testers can choose to work part-time and they also can decide on their work schedules. Those interested must know hat this kind of job doesn’t require any formal preparation or work experience. The only requirement is the passion for playing computer games. Game testers are required to record the exact details of how they ran into bugs. This can be boring sometimes, as they are required to play one certain part again and again to discover and fix the bug.

If you want to become a game tester, you must first decide for whom would you like to work? Gaming platform and gaming experience is the key to this question: are you good in strategy, role playing or sports games? Answering this will narrow down your search options. The biggest companies in the gaming field are Sony (PlayStation), Microsoft (Xbox), Nintendo (Wii), and Electronic Arts for the PC. There are also lots of small or medium-sized companies that also hire game testers.

It is not very easy to say who can become a game tester. Over 90% of those who want to have a career in this field fail. A lot of things are required: first of all, you need a well-written resume, some programming experience and a contact in the game industry can be also helpful: this way you will know when a game testing position opens up. You will also need to be patient, as there is very little chance that you will be picked at first.

Above all, you will need a lot of passion for playing video games, and as you decide to apply for such a job, you must know that there are hundreds of applicants who had all of the above, but never succeeded to get their dream-job.