If you’re here, you probably fall into one of two categories: someone attempting to justify their exorbitantly long gaming sessions, or a person whose loved one has used the following justifications on you. For the former, here’s a list of games that can serve as life improvers, not life destroyers. For the latter, you’re going to remain unconvinced. That’s OK. Let them pretend.
Image via Flickr by Never Wear Them
If you’re going to spend your day buried in your phone, you might as well do something that stimulates your brain. The social Scrabble game, Words With Friends, needs no grand introduction because, odds are, you or your friends have played it already.
The game is immensely popular; it’s a universally recognized name in even the least technologically current households. Flex your brain, stretch your vocabulary, and decimate your Facebook friends in an online game that adds lexical utility to your daily life. Try tossing the word “charqui” into conversation during a business meeting. The befuddled looks mean your coworkers are impressed. Absolutely. Probably.
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Let’s run through a classic 90s sitcom joke. A kid is cooped up in his room playing on his NES or Sega Genesis, mom walks in and insists the kid does their homework, and the kid responds, “But mooooooom, video games increase my coordination.” Did that happen? Maybe on Different Strokes? Probably not. But the point is playing video games legitimately increases reflexes, among other things, and what better game to test your reflexive might than Tetris.
The formula is familiar: your success is entirely contingent on your ability to stack tetromino blocks in a brisk, timely manner. The free-to-play online version of Tetris, Tetris Friends, ups the ante by introducing up to five other players into the competitive mix. This ensures that even if your reflexes aren’t pushed to the max, your ability to pack boxes may increase one-hundred fold.
Image via Flickr by John Seb Barber
Speaking of fold (sorry), consider virtually entering an online casino. Though the math of Blackjack and Poker may seem unsophisticated to the untrained eye, semi-strategic gambling requires a great deal of skill and deliberation of risk-versus-reward. And, as an added bonus, online gambling is slightly less seedy and tense than a real life casino. And doesn’t reek of booze. Unless you reek of booze. In which case, close the computer before you lose your savings.
While there are many sites that allow you to play with free, virtual currency and hone your skills for real-life poker games, you can also choose to gamble with real money and build a nest egg for future gambling endeavors. Or car payments, or a penthouse in Las Vegas. Just remember to play responsibly.
Not all of us have the time or attention span to, like, crack open Wittgenstein’s Tractatus or listen to the latest installment of All Things Considered, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t methods of self-improvement which require minimal effort. Keep on gaming and feel free to use this as your excuse sheet.