Updated 06/03/2011 08:10 AM
Your Health: Video games boost brains
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"Tennis for Two" was the first video game created, and served as a forerunner to the video games of this era.
The game was introduced at Brookhaven National Laboratory on October 15, 1958, and drew in hundreds of visitors for a chance to play the new electronic tennis game.
More than 50 years later, video games, particularly high-action, shoot-em-up games, have been shown to improve cognitive function. A game with a detailed environment, which closely resembles real life scenarios, causes the player to concentrate more on the game, and in turn, boosts cognitive functions.
According to Unitec, first-person shooter fantasy games have not shown the same cognitive improvements as first-person shooter games more aligned with reality.
Video games are now being used as learning tools for students, and professionals. Playing high-action games improved test takers skills by increasing their accuracy, multitasking skills, speed, and vision.
According to the Washington Post and NPR.org, American soldiers are complementing their military training by utilizing high-action, shoot-em-up games like Halo and Full Spectrum Warrior to increase their awareness, and to give them a sense of an actual war zone.
In doing this, soldiers will familiarize themselves with similar conditions they may have to deal with and will improve their cognitive functions on the battlefield.
Senior Science Writer
University of Rochester, Office of Communications
As for the original "Tennis for Two" game, it involved only two players at a time. The controllers for each player were connected to an analogue computer, and an oscilloscope was used for a screen. William Higinbotham, the creator of the game, was a nuclear physicist who had worked on the Manhattan Project and also lobbied for nuclear proliferation.
"Tennis for Two" was a two-dimensional game that utilized a digital dot, viewed on the oscilloscope, to serve as a tennis ball. The controllers, which contained buttons and dials, served as digital racquets to serve the ball.
This early invention paved the way for the future development of action-packed games that are popular in today's gaming society.