This is a screenshot from Max Payne 3. It was filled with slow motion ultra-violence within a ballet of bullets and death. If you played it, it made you a better person…. so says science. Smart people doing research published in Scientific Reports recently released a study entitled, “Enhanced functional connectivity and increased gray matter volume of insula related to action video game playing” In short… gamers who played action games showed a marked improvement in cognitive functions, motor control and overall perception. And while that is all and good, if any of you have played online recently, what this amounts to is a world full of little shits with reflexes way faster than you had at that age, before you spent years dulling them with alcohol and drugs, ready to teabag you into oblivion while insulting you on levels you didn’t even know existed. They came to these conclusions by scanning the insular cortex of ‘expert’ and ‘amateur’ gamers and comparing the two. Expert gamers show a marked increase of grey matter and increased functional connectivity between the attentional and sensorimotor networks. There are many variables of course… specifically the kind of game being used to develop these skills. Action games, with high amounts of reflex skill, seem to be the leading genre for this type of brain development. You don’t have to be a scientist to understand… learning and developing through something that is ‘fun’, is going to be infinitely more desirable by humans than any process that is perceived to be boring or dull. The obvious goal here would be to find that sweet spot between sheer mindless destruction, and ‘educational’ games that are about as fun as playing with a calculator. This was ‘hacking’ in 3rd grade. Want to get your old school game on? The Internet Arcade Archive has all the classics. Sometimes, the controls can be hard to figure out, but the nostalgia experience is worth the trip.