Work and play don’t often go together, especially when that play can sneakily take place during work, as is the case with video games. However, more and more research indicates that video games can actually improve crucial skills.

In several studies, researchers discovered that playing video games for a moderate amount of time each day (about 30 minutes to two hours) has a measurable impact on the brain, making a person smarter, healthier, more creative, less stressed, and more. If you want to do well at work and also enjoy your play time, here are the seven video games you need but not during office hours, of course.


Call of Duty:

War is rarely touted as a health-booster, but war video games – especially those in the “Call of Duty” franchise – have been found to be beneficial to players’ eyesight. A University of Rochester study divided gamers into two groups: One played “Call of Duty” (a first-person-shooter game) and another played “The Sims 2” (an everyday simulation game). At the end, those who played the war video game demonstrated higher contrast sensitivity, which means they could discern minute changes in brightness better.

Researchers believe this boon is due to the process of locating targets and aiming during battles. Contrast sensitivity is often the first sight ability to deteriorate with age, especially as more and more people spend their workdays starting at monotonous, bright screens. Your improved vision could help keep your eyes active and precise for years longer than your coworkers’.


When an alien enemy is bearing down on you with advanced laser technology, you have mere split-seconds to react. Thus, “Halo” (and other similar fast-paced shooting games) can help you develop quicker decision-making, which is incredibly useful in a business environment. In the digital age, companies must act quickly to engage audiences and earn profits, so the faster you can choose the right path, the better.


Cognitive training, known more popularly as brain training, is a fun new trend in brain development that aims to help players improve their cognitive skills. “Lumosity” is perhaps the foremost brain trainer out there; it offers dozens of games that reportedly increase retention, attention, flexibility, and other mental acrobatics. As yet, researchers have not been able to prove the efficacy of brain training, but plenty of users confess to gaining enhanced cognitive skills after a few weeks of playing.


It is hard to call “Minecraft” a game – by all accounts, it is an incredibly complex, free-form toy – but nevertheless, the 3D sandbox world offers unlimited fun for video game lovers who prefer to explore and build rather than kill and loot. Because “Minecraft” is so open-ended, it allows users to stretch their creativity to unknown heights. Because creativity is a muscle, playing “Minecraft” can make users faster and better at imagining unique projects and solutions at work. The game could even be a teamwork exercise if you find the right Minecraft servers for your needs.


“Starcraft,” a complex strategy game that positions players as commanders in their own intergalactic empires, may have the incredibly ability of increasing IQ scores. A Queen Mary University of London study found that gamers tasked with playing “Starcraft” over a number of months gained noteworthy boosts to their cognitive flexibility, which is a crucial intellectual ability that allows for fast task-switching and efficient multitasking — both of which are important in a business environment.

Super Mario 64:

It might be a good thing you spent so much of your youth on your Nintendo; it seems that even old, simple video games can enhance your brain in certain ways. A German study indicates that playing “Super Mario 64” gives you more gray matter in your right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex, and cerebellum, which are responsible for spatial awareness, memory formation, strategic planning, and fine motor skills.

Dance Dance Revolution:

The “DDR” craze might be long over, but the reported health benefits of active video games persist. “Dance Dance Revolution” – and newer dynamic games on the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect — have been shown to reduce anxiety and pain much the same way physical therapy does. When you spend long hours being sedentary in your office chair, you need some amount of activity to keep your body healthy, and video games provide that release.

Also see: What is Muscle Memory?