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Video Games with Shooting May Improve Eyesight

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the then-why-do-we-all-need-contacts dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 47

anthemaniac writes "Playing video games that involve firing guns (Gears of War, Halo, take your pick) can improve eyesight, according to a new study. From the article: 'People who started out as non-gamers and then received 30 hours of training on first-person action video games showed a substantial increase in their ability to see objects accurately in a cluttered space, compared to non-gamers given the same test.' The games push the brain to the limit, the thinking goes, and it adapts by developing better spatial resolution. The effect was not duplicated in more sedate games like Tetris."

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47 comments

yes, but ... (5, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18373743)

masturbation causes blindness so it all equals out I guess.

Re:yes, but ... (2, Funny)

rayde (738949) | more than 7 years ago | (#18373969)

you owe me a braille keyboard

Re:yes, but ... (1)

Jakhel (808204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374105)

I'm pwning with one hand..

I am in (1)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18373781)

OK even if i accept this as this looks like having some truth, perhaps the researchers of the article forgot to mention that radiation from the monitors can affect your eyes and therefore your eyesight.

Anyway i am in ... i better go search for my Quake III for the darker side of computing :)

Re:I am in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18374023)

so use a high quality LCD.

Re:I am in (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374081)

the researchers of the article forgot to mention that radiation from the monitors can affect your eyes and therefore your eyesight.

I presume you are referring to stray radiation in bands such as X-Ray, Microwave, RF, and Ultraviolet rather than visible light radiation? (Obviously, visible light is what you want.) To which I can only point out that LCDs do not leak stray radiation like CRTs do. In fact, they're about as radioactively quiet as you can make a display device. So you can go ahead and play Red Steel on your 50 inch HDTV without any worry or concern. The bad radiation boogeyman isn't going to hurt you.

Re:I am in (1)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374715)

OK, myth 1: Watching TV hurts your eyes. Where this may have been true to an extremely minor extent in the early days of TV but not enough evidence was presented to support it. It was only associated with children who sat extremely close to the TV (2-3 feet). It was actually due to the poor phosphor quality in older TVs and the flickering effect, not the radiation.

Myth 2: Using a computer can hurt your eyes. This one is more true, but again, not related to the radiation. If you read the ergonomics guide that comes with your screen you will note it says "may" cause long term eye damage. This is because there is no conclusive evidence. However, placing your monitor closer than 18" from your face at too high a brightness can reduce your vision quality, or effect night vision, due to the extreme light over time just like listening to music too loud will damage your ears. Also, cheap screens flicker can be extremely damaging. The most associated damage caused to eyes is that when watching TV, you typically watch the center of the screen and your brain processes the whole image. When working on a PC screen, your eyes are in constant motion, and focus directly on characters. Poor screen resolution (less than 640x480 @ 14") or poor quality (especially in green screen systems and other older technology) can be damaging. LCDs do not flicker and typically have very high resolution, and should not be an issue. If you read text all day on a screen, it is recommended that you change the background color from white to a more muted color to avoid "white blind" and to turn your brightness to a comfortable level. You should never have to squint at your screen.

Back to the article itself: They are not saying playing games actually improves your OPTICAL vision characteristics. Watching TV or playing games has little or no impact on your vision prescription, unless you sit too close to the screen for extended periods (years) which can lead to nearsightedness. What they're saying is playing these games allows your brain to better process the information it sees. This process is similar to the training that police and military receive to better be able to identify objects in stressful situations, or to be able to identify objects quickly when entering a room. This has little to do with the eyes and mostly to do with the brain.

Re:I am in (1)

genrader (563784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18376599)

I have sat in front of a CRT for 12 years and my eyesight has, if anything, gotten better. I use an LCD now, but I have never had "eye strain" from sitting at a computer for 12+ hours in a day or anything.

Jeez (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18373783)

I've already read this before, and the same comments apply: Eyesight != visual ability

Sure, they can pick things out better... But they can't actually SEE better. It's not like they needed glasses before and now they don't. This is merely human pattern-recognition training.

Re:Jeez (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18373885)

I think of it as a software upgrade to your optical processing subsystem.

Besides, exercise tends to help biological systems in general, and FPS games most certainly lead to one exercising that chunk of gray matter.

Re:Jeez (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374025)

Visual ability = muscle control, fed by muscle strength. The interesting thing is that by using muscles, and nerves to control muscles, you increase the strength of the muscles, and reinforce the nerve pathways for that control. Yes, it doesn't change the lens like a laser shattering/reshaping of the lens would do, but it is an improvement in eyesight. So, yeah eyesight != visual ability, but there still seems to be a strong relation, in terms of use improving function in certain circumstances.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Jeez (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381143)

Which is IMO why a lot of people end up needing stronger and stronger prescriptions. The Ciliari muscles atrophy because they are no longer required to do as much work.

Visual ability = muscle control, fed by muscle strength. The interesting thing is that by using muscles, and nerves to control muscles, you increase the strength of the muscles, and reinforce the nerve pathways for that control. Yes, it doesn't change the lens like a laser shattering/reshaping of the lens would do, but it is an improvement in eyesight.

Re:Jeez (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374555)

I protest. All those years of playing Doom gave me superhuman abilities. I can instantly tell the difference between my boss and a monster in a dark room. Wait... no I can't.

Re:Jeez (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374903)

While you can argue about technical differences until your face turns blue, the distinction isn't all that important when you consider the end result. Our eyes aren't any good without the visual processing that occurs in our brain, and all the visual processing in the world is pointless without some sort of input(our eyes).

Regardless of which one you're improving, at the end of the day, your vision is working better and is more useful to you. So yeah, you are seeing better. The lenses of your eye might not be focusing light more precisely, and you might not be growing extra cones on your retina, but you're still making better use of your eyes.

Re:Jeez (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18375647)

Well, your post definitely helped my eyesight by training my brain to filter out junk strings...

Re:Jeez (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381107)

(eq eyesight visual-ability). "Visual ability" happens to be pretty much the definition of the word, encompassing both ability to detect light and ability to interpret it.

RPGs too (3, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18373877)

In studies, playing a steady amount of MMORPGSs daily also improved the following conditions:

Depression (urge to kick passing cats and gain exp points)
Management skills (Can't afford +2 plat armor on a beer budget)
Nacrolepsy (no explanation needed)

However, it only worsened the symptoms of kleptomania sufferers.

Hey video games do much more (2, Interesting)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374005)

About 4 years ago I was driving in my Jeep down one of thoes 1 lane roads. (Where traffic goes one way and another) It was around midnight and a drunk driver was coming the other way. Just as I was passing him he swirved into my lane. Instantly I turned right as hard as I could to miss him. My Jeep spun around and he hit the back side of my Jeep. It ripped off the back half and I spun out into the ditch. My Jeep was demolished except for the driver side. I was a bit banged up but if not for my quick reaction I would have been dead.

In short I believe video games also can help increase reaction time. In racing games or First Person Shooters. It seems people who play faster pace games are quicker to think. Video games saved my life :-D

Re:Hey video games do much more (4, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374139)

Insane stunt bonus, $320

Re:Hey video games do much more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18374595)

thanks, gave me a good laugh

Re:Hey video games do much more (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18378425)

Don't you mean,
"Cunning Stunt bonus"!?

Re:Hey video games do much more (1)

Xentor (600436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18377509)

I've got a similar experience... When I was still new to driving (I was only 16 at the time), and had my mother in the car, I took a low-visibility left turn out of an office complex.

Now, the road curved out of sight on both sides, and maybe I didn't look fast enough, because as I got into the lane, I realized I was about to get hit from behind by a red convertible doing about 60. I quickly swerved across the double-line into the left lane, only to see three cars coming from straight ahead. Another instant reaction, and I swerved back into the original lane, since the convertible had managed to slow down just enough that he didn't hit me. No collisions, and my mother didn't quite keel over from the shock.

Maybe it was luck... Maybe it was Quake TF...

Re:Hey video games do much more (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18378229)

HAH hell yeah Quake Mega Team Fortress. Me and my friends just got an old server going of that and have been having a blast.

Re:Hey video games do much more (1)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18378489)

Another similar experience here.

Was getting on the 405 in L.A. on one of those 270-degree-wide-turn-to-the-right onramps. When you hit the straightaway, there's not much visibility and not much time to accelerate to match the speed of traffic. I'd gotten up to 50 to match a mergeable opening when, out of nowhere, no more than 20 feet in front of me, there are two cars in my lane. Stopped. For no particular reason at all. Without thinking, my hours of Need for Speed and Super Mario Kart had me involuntarily swerving to the left, missing the car in front of me by what couldn't possibly be more than a foot (I put it at a few inches). I thought I might have even nicked the guy, so I slowed off and waited for him to catch up. Both cars just up and drove off, though, as if nothing had happened. They hadn't hit each other or anything. The guy in front just had determined that the right lane of the 405 was a perfectly reasonable place to come to a complete stop for a while.

Welcome to May 28, 2003 (4, Informative)

Stalin (13415) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374209)

Re:Welcome to May 28, 2003 (1)

sr. taquito (996805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374495)

it appears that reading slashdot for years on end is beneficial for your memory...

As a competitive Counter-Strike player (2, Insightful)

oskard (715652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374527)

I often notice many increased sensory abilities that others (family and friends) are just incapable of handling. For example, peripheral vision while driving. Reaction time in sports (frisbees, baseballs, tennis balls, etc). Sound and location of objects based on sound. Lastly is problem solving. Believe it or not, the tactical requirements and logical deductions in a high level of competition can be related to many different puzzles (just like in chess).

Re:As a competitive Counter-Strike player (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374693)

I got on a backhoe once for about an hour. I was productive after maybe five minutes. Turns out that video gaming on a dual shock (esp. playing Grand Theft Auto where you have to constantly be manipulating the view because the camera is shit) is great training for manipulating two joysticks to move around a hydraulic arm with a bucket on the end.

Re:As a competitive Counter-Strike player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18374721)

Agreed. I used to play in lower levels of competition (silly things like enemydown) but the ability to see the radar on a large screen without actually looking at it is a good parallel with seeing things in your rearview mirrors while driving that normally you would miss because you're not actually looking at them... Thinking ahead and pretty much *knowing* what other people are going to do pays dividends on the road too

Re:As a competitive Counter-Strike player (1)

oskard (715652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18375957)

Yes! Thank you for clarifying what I was trying to say :)

Re:As a competitive Counter-Strike player (1)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18376305)

Your friends and loved ones are likewise "incapable of handling" the grace, humility, and poise that gaming seems to have given you.

Not to mention all the other useful skills (3, Funny)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#18377907)

Not to mention all the other RL skill that CS taught me.

For example, before my CS days I never used to always strafe (side-step) in front of doors. CS taught me that. I don't have to tell you how useful that is, in case there's something camping with an AWP in the boss's office. My co-workers may look funny at me, but I know I'll have the last laugh when they get headshot for just walking in front of a door without looking.

Always stop and listen before going through any door. Sound is your friend. You can know whether someone's coming around a corner by their footsteps long before you actually have line of sight on them. So always, I repeat, always, stop and listen for 10 seconds or so before barging through any door or around any corner. Sure, the people behind you in the elevator or subway may get impatient, but you're really saving their non-gamer arses. Without you, they could walk right into an ambush.

Then there's crouching in dark corners. Invaluable skill that. When in doubt, you can't go wrong with crouching in some dark corner or on the roof. Sure, your neighbours and co-workers may look funny when they see you huddled between the dumpster and the hedge, but the laugh is on them if the terrorists ever decide to use your office or block as a map.

Spatial orientation. Only loser looking to be headshot use the front door. Surprise your boss today by climbing up the fire escape and through a vent. Then spend half the day jumping up and down in front of the vent, to see if some enemy's coming through it. It's a repetitive job, but someone has to do it. If noone does, the terrorists win.

Oh, and always explore and memorize all possible escape routes. Your life will depend on it later. Sometimes after the next paragraph.

Then there are the social skills. An online game is a perfect training ground for your polite interaction with fellow humans. Don't laugh, it's like a virtual party. You just mingle and call everyone a "camping faggot" or, as the case may be, a "cheater". Be sure to tell them how good their mother was in bed too. People are insecure about that kind of thing, and it's polite to put their doubts to rest about their relatives' sexual abilities. (Hey, one million CS players can't all be wrong.) And be sure to tell every woman that she's probably a 40 year old fat male wanker. Works like a charm as an ice breaker.

Creative use of hostages. Those guys aren't there just to get stuck in doors and behind fallen twigs. Did you know you can jump on a hostage's head to climb on a balcony? Erm... actually scratch that. I'm still trying to live down _that_ silly lawsuit.

Re:Not to mention all the other useful skills (1)

oskard (715652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388083)

I said competitive CS, not casual pubbing :)

Re:Not to mention all the other useful skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18421209)

"...You just mingle and call everyone a "camping faggot" or, as the case may be, a "cheater". Be sure to tell them how good their mother was in bed too. People are insecure about that kind of thing, and it's polite to put their doubts to rest about their relatives' sexual abilities...And be sure to tell every woman that she's probably a 40 year old fat male wanker. Works like a charm as an ice breaker."

So you're the guy I keep running into on Battlefield servers? ;)

BF1942 has taught me that if I ever need to take out a main battle tank all I need to do is drive a jeep into it at full speed.

Other things it has taught me...
- I can still run unimpeeded after taking multiple hits from an AK-47/M-16.
- A small bump in the road will send even a Humvee flipping over wildly.
- If someone has infiltrated your main, always check your vehicle/plane for c4 or mines.
- If you get killed more than once while going past spot A then it'll probably happen again.
- When sniping, don't hide in the one tower in the base like a Monty Python skit.
- If you are hidden and you see someone running towards you, resist the urge to open fire. Instead wait for them to run past then shoot them in the back. Gentlemanly sporting be damned!

Re:As a competitive Counter-Strike player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18378345)

As a competitive ultimate player (and infrequent video gamer), I've noticed it going the other way.

Perhaps the conclusion to be drawn isn't that there's something special about video games, but rather that if one takes such things as "reaction time" and "sound location" and "problem solving" seriously, one gets better at them.

Re:As a competitive Counter-Strike player (1)

David_Shultz (750615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393007)

Believe it or not, the tactical requirements and logical deductions in a high level of competition can be related to many different puzzles (just like in chess).

I choose not to believe it -unless of course you have some evidence? Right -didn't think so. This oft repeated "chess skills are widely applicable" line is pure bullocks, and I imagine the same goes for "tactical requirements and logical deductions in a high level of competition". While I have not come across any studies indicating that chess skills are transferable to other domains, I have in fact come across those that demonstrate the opposite. In fact, my brother worked on one such study. Turns out that experienced chess players are significantly better than inexperienced players at remembering the locations of board positions. So they have better memory? nope -as soon as you ask them to do a memory related task with anything other than chess pieces, their ability drops to that of an inexperienced player.

Tetris? Sedate? (2, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374697)

These people are obviously not the masters of our russian past-time.

Tetris benefits (3, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374879)

Improvements from playing Tetris include the ability to jockey for the best position at the next red light.

Old NP Story (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 7 years ago | (#18375019)

This particular bit reminded me of a letter I read in the old Nintendo Power magazine where the writer told his story about being legally blind. His grandmother bought him an NES for Christmas one year and he decided to try playing it. At first he saw mostly rough shapes, but as time passed, he was able to see a little more, and a little more. After a year or so of exercising his eyes he had gotten them into good enough shape where he was no longer legally blind while wearing (very strong) glasses.

wtf (2, Funny)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18375579)

That's cool, and obviously the end result was pretty great for him. But what kind of bitch grandma gives her BLIND grandson a video game system for Christmas? What did he get for his birthday, a telescope?

I say BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18375205)

Yeah, but unfortunately that "improvement" is meaningless unless you want to become a fighter pilot. I hate articles which make the bogus "video games make you a better person" claim. Everyone knows that for whatever improvements the eyesight receives there is a decrease in sociability or an increase in weight or something else. No matter what you do you will be affected both mentally and physically, and a redundant reaction speed test which requires one to sit still for extended periods of time isn't overall beneficial to one's wellbeing.

I like playing video games, but I'm not going to lie to myself and believe that they make me a better person in real life. If anything, articles like these only reinforce Jack Thompson's claim that they're nothing more than murder simulators. Anyway, I usually don't play shooters because they're all too similar. Games like Brain Age or old Lucas Art adventure games which are truly mentally stimulating, that's what I enjoy. And interestingly enough you don't need to conduct a study to conclude that these games are mentally beneficial - common sense tells one so, just as common sense tells one that Halo/Unreal/Farcry/Whatever are just mindless entertainment - the video game form of a Steven Segal film. That doesn't make them bad, I just don't think it's appropriate to pretend like they're more redeeming than they are.

Re:I say BS (0, Offtopic)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 7 years ago | (#18377189)

Exactly why I want to make a MMORPG FPS combo. I think MMOGS need to have guns, and I think they need to break down the physics a bit more. I want to cast Pyroblast 27 and get a headshot!

Re:I say BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18377827)

Why fantasy? Go sci-fi, then carrying around all those guns makes sense. I'd love to see something like PlanetSide, but with more of an MMOG element, including skill levels, loot, crafting, and all the other good stuff MMOs have that it doesn't.

Re:I say BS (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381091)

Either way I call it fun!

I imagine in the future, combat on an RPG will include objects actually touching each-other. I imagine casting fireballs at someones feet will make them jump. I imagine like SWG where you can eventually order armies to do your bidding (bonus if you get player armies to do this, and can reward them.)

There is plenty of room for ideas to grow in the gaming market. We are just into the beggining of a new design era.

or I hope at least

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18378529)

What does this mean about games with sex?

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (1)

EvilSporkMan (648878) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379445)

EYESIGHT IMPROVES YOU!

Re:IN SOVIET RUSSIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18383537)

Do you really have to post this in every fucking topic?
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