Failure is essential for success.

Ask almost everybody who has ever achieved any level of success if they have ever failed. Because everyone has failed at something, you will almost always hear a resounding “Yes!” Most people are familiar with Thomas Edison and his astounding failure rate (or, if you’re a glass-half-full type, his successful ruling out of hundreds of alternative solutions), but here are a few other examples:

In many video games, you begin with multiple ‘lives.’ This immediately implies that failure is acceptable. The failure to reach a goal makes up a large part of the game. This promotes grit, or the capacity to continue with a problem and see it through without becoming discouraged and giving up. This is an extremely valuable life skill.

Computer games can help you improve your problem-solving abilities.

Consider the suggestion of Jane McGonigal (an alternate reality game creator with a Ph.D. in performance studies): she recommends playing three times a week for 20 minutes each time if you want to have fun and stimulate your mind.

Problem-solving and/or critical thinking are required in almost all of the most popular video games. This encourages cognitive flexibility and adaptation. These are critical talents to have in every problem-solving situation.

Playing video games keeps your mind engaged.

It’s unpleasant, but it’s unavoidable: as we age, we experience both physical and mental decline. Physical losses can be prevented (or at least slowed) by going to the gym or having frequent intercourse. It is necessary to keep one’s brain engaged in order to avoid mental degeneration. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, brain games, and video games (as long as they’re not completely mindless) can all help with memory loss.

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