Games can be a fun and engaging way to spend time with your family, or an excellent way to improve skills in specific fields. In addition, games are an effective tool for helping people with special needs to learn, says Neema Banerjee, professor of learning disabilities and instructional design at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County.
In general, the definition of a game is a set of rules and tools that a player uses to take actions that have real-world consequences. Games are different from other types of media, such as books or movies, which have no rules at all and involve passive consumption.
Some of the best-known games in history — such as Risk, Checkers and Chess — have taught generations of students important skills like strategy and deception. For those interested in the past, they can also help shape their ideas and images about human agency, decision-making and wartime dynamics within complex systems and real-world contexts.
There are many benefits to playing games, from boosting memory and concentration to increasing resilience. In fact, one study found that playing video games can help reduce gender differences in memory and improve the ability to make split-second decisions.
Playing video games can also increase your self-esteem and improve your mood. This is because games require a lot of effort to win, and they are rewarded with emotional rewards that can make you feel good about yourself.
A good game has a combination of core activities and scaffolding to support and amplify those activities, says Clark. Pleasurable activities are the beating heart of a good game, he says, and progress scaffolding, such as points, levels, badges and power-ups, is used to support and amplify those core activities.
The best games are a blend of these two types of scaffolding, he says, and they should have both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. This is because extrinsic rewards are a great way to boost short-term engagement, but they are not the driving force of long-term engagement.
Another way to build engagement is to use rewards that are relevant to the game’s content, or to the game’s audience. For example, a game with a science theme could use rewards that reflect the topic being studied.
Alternatively, a game that requires the use of social media can use rewards that are connected to how many followers it has. These can be used to increase the level of social interaction and the number of players, which in turn can increase engagement.
Gaming can also teach people about a variety of subjects, from history to science. Some games, such as field-specific training games, can help teach people about these topics by using realistic scenarios and real-world situations.
When it comes to playing video games, there are many different types and genres. For example, there are action adventure games that take place in a fantasy realm or modern city, or role-playing games that allow players to choose their own characters and play as them.
The advancement of technology has presented a range of opportunities to help people with special needs in various aspects of life. Among them, video and computer games have proven particularly effective in helping people with special needs meet some of their physical, social and cognitive needs.
Research has shown that gaming can be used to help people with special needs work on challenging tasks with tangible rewards. Video games or apps designed for this purpose can help improve problem-solving, communication, motor and organisational skills. It can also be used to teach necessary life skills that can benefit children and adults with disabilities.
In addition to offering therapeutic benefits, computer and video games also provide a safe and accessible environment for those with special needs. Games can help reduce anxiety and stress, allowing people to get familiarised with a safe and nurturing environment that can help them improve their confidence. Through gaming, people with disabilities can also develop friendships and build social skills with other gamers.
Some popular video games include virtual worlds and digital simulation-based games. These games allow players to learn how to perform tasks such as feeding animals and taking care of a garden. Such games can help improve hand-eye coordination, motor skills and basic skills on working with technology.
Ultimately, playing games can be a mutually beneficial activity. Not only can games help people with special needs, they can also increase their enjoyment and provide an outlet to alleviate stress. Many developers are increasingly building games tailored to individual needs, ensuring that those with physical, mental, emotional and emotional disabilities are better able to meet their needs in a secure and stimulating environment.