My gun-toting Doom geek is smarter than your cow-eyed Bible-thumper

Or at least that’s what my friends across the pond seem to think. Specifically:

Children who become addicted to computer games may actually be more intelligent than the average and go on to university and higher-ranking jobs, according to a Home Office research review published yesterday.

Well, okay, this is one of those issues that makes some sort of implicit sense on the surface (hand-eye coordination, pattern recognition, reaction time, etc.), but as Cecil teaches us in his lessons about second-hand smoke, believing something and proving it are two different things. This reeks of a “meta-study,” something I still inherently distrust.

Anyone care to take a crack at this?

I, for one, feel that I am much smarter than your average “Bible-thumper” from my playing of Doom.

For example, I know not to stand to close when the rocket explodes, I know to strafe strafe strafe all the time, I know to keep my eye out for strange markings that mark a secret door…


You also learn teamwork and how to clear a room in tandem
from Doom.
Doom gets my vote any day:)

Uh huh. The link made no mention of first person shooter games but pointed out that the completely non-violent puzzle and logic game Myst was the most popular in the world.

As for your own conclusion I’ll admit that lots of folks take misguided and erronious lessons from the bible. Still, it’s entirely possible to learn that we should love our neighbors as ourselves from Christ’s teachings. The only lesson I was able to get from the empathy sucking Doom was to kill everything you see. [FLAME BAIT]Dylan and Eric learned that lesson well.[/FLAME BAIT]

Ouch, Padeye! You burned my fingers, man!

The article seems a little disingenuous to me because it is structured in such a way that it encourages the reader to conclude that video games make kids smarter, but I think what the observation really is is that smart kids are more likely to become game addicts.

I guess that’s what I’m really asking, hyperbole aside. Do you think that computer games have the potential to make kids smarter?

I feel like I’m stepping far out on the branch even pointing out that computer games might improve kids’ reaction times, which in turn is important in many intelligence tests. My high-school basketball team had great reaction times, too, but there wasn’t an Einstein among the lot of 'em.

I’d say it depends on the number of different games played. Some FPS require a decent level of tactics and thought, others really don’t. Puzzle games are pretty obvious, I think. Some adventure and RPGs also really make the player think.

Just don’t buy the strategy guides and for Eris’s sake, don’t buy a GameShark!! :stuck_out_tongue:

But somehow I doubt that it is any substitute for a decent education.

No harm meant Sofa. Actually we’re probably closer in opinion to what is the cause and what is the effect. As to my inflammatory statement I don’t think Doom caused it, but may have been an enabling factor for kids who were predisposed to do such things.

Doom was okay but it probably made my blood pressure go up when I played it. The only reason I might pick up a copy of Quake III is because they have a tookit or whatever you call it for a competetive action shooting enviroment, shooting at stationary targets not people. I tried Oddworld and found I liked it better, possibly because Abe is a bit of an underdog. Myst is okay but…

I hate Quake III. All the puzzle solving stuff in Doom, Quake, and Quake II (e.g. solving the level, finding secrets, finding whole secret levels, etc.) is GONE from Quake III. It’s just one big Deathmatch now. Bleah.

Although sometimes I’m in the mood for thoughtless games, I love games that require lots of thinking and strategy. RPG’s are very good, and RTS games as well. Some of my favorite games of all time include:

Zelda games
Ultima games (Those had intense puzzles!)

And these are just of some of them.

Padeye: Don’t knock my heroes, man.

I seem to remember that the U.S. Army actually used DOOM to help train their soldiers in tactics and hand-eye coordination. Wish I had a cite for this.

Didn’t read the link, but if he’s talking about puzzle/RPG games then the idea definitely has merit, as far as intelligence is concerned. FPS, on the other hand…

SPOOFE: Ever strafe-run? :wink:


Jeremy, my friend, I am a MASTER (bater? Yeah, that too) of the strafe-run. I can do circles, cartwheels, triple axles, and whirls around ANYONE. 'Cept Thresh.

I saw something about that on Headline News a while ago (read: 1990s, maybe around five years). I can see the value in those kind of games for training soldiers to be cautious, tactically-minded killers on the battlefield, especially if their enemies are brown and throw fireballs. :smiley:

I seem to remember anti-fun groups pointing to that kind of thing as ‘desensitization training’, but I can’t think if that was part of the HNN coverage or something I happened upon elsewhere. I can’t imagine anyone being desensitized to anything by watching those horribly pixellated beasties getting blasted by some well-placed rockets. Oh well, I’ll never fully understand the minds of the ‘ban everything’ crowd.

I’m not sure I see a mechanism here… any skills you might gain from a videogame are so specialized and specific that they wouldn’t transfer much to reality. Yeah, you did figure out the best way to ventilate the cyberdemons, but how is that going to help your math scores?

Claiming that the average videogame is a more intelligent choice is like claiming videogames can teach you how to kill. Firing full auto, weapon in each hand, dancing around like a loon is exactly the ticket for most FPS. Firing a gun in real life is significantly less fun: all of a sudden recoil, weight, and noise start to matter. My point is, skills for success in life and skills for success in videogames are so far apart, where are we going to connect them?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go play Counter-Strike until I can’t focus any more…

Well, something like Doom might teach you basics like how to clear a room, go around corners, etc. but that should be stuff the soldiers are already well trained in.

There ARE games that have a higher level of detail that I could see being very useful for some kinds of training. SWAT 3 is a good example. It’s possible to play the game going in like Rambo, but it’s a lot harder, and if you are trying to get good ratings it’s very important that you command your 4 man element effectively, be careful in your use of deadly force, issue the proper orders and reports at the proper time (your leadership rating goes down fast if you start reporting suspects neutralized when they are just down or vice-versa), even when I think I am being extra cautious and get through the scenarios without losing a man or causing an unnecessary death I get less than perfect ratings because I forgot to gather all the weapons on the premises before reporting it clear or I shot a suspect before he raised his weapon (you can get scores of 80 or so on ‘Proper use of Deadly Force’ if you always yell once for the suspect to drop their weapon before shooting them, but to get high 90s you have to take some risks).

You forget that most Weapons Of Mass Destruction are guided electronically these days. For the infantry, yes it’s different. For firing cruise missiles, all you need is a screen and a button. Lots and lots of hand-eye coordination is required to skillfully fly a jet fighter or drive a tank.


I’m waiting for the day some knucklehead tries a rocket jump with a LAW. “But I should have had 40 health points left!”

Trucido, I do competetive action shooting on a regular basis with SASS and an occasional submachinegun match. The challenge of shooting real weapons at steel and cardboard targets (I have no desire to shoot people) on the clock is a lot more fun than any video game.

There are more video games than Doom :wink: Your average shooter game has about as much intellectual benefit as, say, basketball (which is to say, not much :smiley: ) but puzzle games, simulations, strategic and/or tactical wargames and the like can all do a good job of nuturing logical thinking (a key ingredient of general intelligence) and occasionally video games can teach other useful concepts, like an RPG teaching applied money management. (If I buy this armor, can I afford a trip to the healer’s? Should I try to gamble and risk losing some of it for the chance to gain more? etc)

There’s even something to be gained from simple fluff like Quake, Starcraft, etc, mostly being able to judge and weigh risks with odds of success. Of course, the whole reason these games are popular is because they’re simple, and you can just as easily sit down and play them without ever bothering to think of things like that.

Which brings up another idea: maybe it’s not so much that video games foster intelligence, but that intelligence is attracted to video games. There’s not really a whole lot of ways that a kid can apply their intelligence in their life: school is usually excruciatingly boring & easy for these types. But good video games can present a variety of interesting and challenging problems to solve. It’s just a shame that these good games are so hard to find these days (don’t get me started on that :wink: )

Anyway, there’s my rambling two cents.

Mekhazzio said:

That’s sort of where I’m leaning, too. It squares with what I’ve seen personally.

On the other hand, I remember having a psychologist tell me that puzzle-solving actually changes the structure of the brain. It promotes dendrite connections or something (um, yeah). Obviously, I need to put a few of my own beer-soaked dendrites to work on researching that before I dare go any further.

Starcraft simple? I bet you would lose against any but the computer mekhazzio.:slight_smile:

I’ve always thought that intelligence is simply a matter of pratice. So since you don’t move anything except your brain and your hands you get lots of pratice.

What counterstrike would teach soldiers is a way to properly strafe-jump so you run super fast and fly through the air. And to use that rapid fire grenade script! Don’t forget hacking into your own brains speed clock and making you move 20x as fast.