How Can Strategy Games Help You Sharpen Your Mind?

by Max Fragar
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A brief history of strategy games

From the old game of Senet to modern-day strategy games like Starborne, Wealth Words, etc., strategy games have played an essential function in human society.

They have been effective in sharpening our minds, passing boring, long nights, and strengthening our friendships. To better comprehend how we got to the contemporary hits of the day, let’s take a brief journey through the history of strategy games.

What is a strategy game?

Strategy games are classified as those that highlight long-lasting preparation, analytics, and competent thinking in order to accomplish success.

A gamer’s choices are very important in figuring out the game’s result, and gamers are needed to weigh the possible effect of several choices to win.

How have strategy games progressed with time to hone our mind?

Modern techniques utilized in today’s strategy games have permitted the gamers to visualize more properly how their choices affect the games through improved graphics when they play strategy games.

strategy games

Most significantly, we have developed the real-time strategy genre, which has included a layer of pressure to the play to enhance human cognitive abilities.

Strategy vs Tactics:

Many strategy video games now include a mix of both strategy and tactics. “Tactics” commonly refer to how troops are used in a particular battle, while strategy describes the mixture of troops, the battle location, and the commander’s broader goals or military doctrine.

However, there is also a fast-evolving subgenre of purely tactical games, known as turn-based tactics and real-time tactics. Game critics and scholars often discuss whether they utilize terms such as “strategy” or “tactics” properly.

The designer of Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander, Chris Taylor, has gone to the extent of proving that real-time strategy titles focus more on tactics and less on strategy.

Nevertheless, releases that are known to be pure tactical games generally equip the players with fixed quantities of the units and denigrate other strategic considerations like resource management and manufacturing.

Why a psychological addiction towards strategy games?

Individuals like to play strategy games since they allow them to participate in, practice, or develop their strategical thinking abilities in an environment where absolutely nothing is at stake. (Except for the delight of winning, which is essential to incentivize individuals to play their finest, however, not really associated with why people like strategy.)

 There are 3 essential characteristics at play when thinking about strategy: 

  1. The rules 
  2. The goal 
  3. Variables (all forms of chance, human behavior, or components we may not be aware of)

Being proficient at strategic thinking includes 2 things: 

  1. Having the ability to discover the optimal method as quickly as possible (with such a set of guidelines, how to reach the goal best) 
  2. The ability to modify the optimal strategy offered varies the variables imposed on the state of the game (or truth).

Google specifies strategy as a plan of action or policy inclined to attain a major or an overall goal. As evident, in today’s technological era, a substantial crowd would view most life choices as strategic decisions.

The fun thing about strategy games is that they are much easier than life. With the predefined guidelines and goals, there are actually a small set of variables that the gamers have to account for to encompass all the dynamics associated with such games in their brains. 

This game environment consequently allows the players to resolve the issue of “winning the game,” requiring them to apply their strategic thinking abilities (which frequently include imagination).

Each game needs a unique type of strategic thinking to master an understanding of its characteristics.

Henceforth, the engagement in the game, and mastery of it teach the gamers a new method to analyze and face the world and be better equipped to strategically and creatively solve real-world problems.

10 reasons why playing strategy games is good for the brain

From action-packed shooter games to challenging strategy games online, we all enjoy a great game. As technology continues to evolve rapidly and game developers keep introducing fresh content, there appears to be a brand-new game to experience daily.

Fortunately for active players, there are numerous advantages to play strategy games that will motivate them to keep playing — as if they just required another reason.

The favorable results of engaging in strategy games online are countless, from improved memory and problem-solving to an enhanced state of mind and social abilities.

While those who do not play online strategy games might argue that they make an individual lazy, damage the brain, or destroy one’s social life, such games really have numerous physical, cognitive, and social advantages. 

The next time somebody taunts you that you play a lot of online strategy games, you can rely on this list of 10 reasons strategy games benefit your brain. 

1. Memory

Many video games need some critical playing strategy and attention. If you have ever fought for your life in Fortnight or developed your own civilization in Minecraft, you very well know how crucial it is to remember where you need to go next or where you can track specific resources.

With immersive audio alongside 3D graphics, strategy game environments are very affluent in stimuli. So much so that navigating the virtual world of strategy games will be very identical to navigating the real world. We can improve our memory a lot by discovering the universe of online strategy games.

This is the part of the brain accountable for transforming short-term memory to long-lasting memory and managing spatial memory. If you are vulnerable to getting lost on your way to a shop, video games might assist in enhancing your memory for instructions.

In a 2015 research study from the University of California, Irvine supplied proof of the cognitive advantages of playing computer games online when they evaluated a group of players and non-gamers in-memory jobs.

Those who often played complicated 3D strategy games fared much better at memory jobs connected to the hippocampus than those who did not play strategy games or played just basic 2D video games.

The research study likewise revealed that when non-gamers played an intricate 3D video game every day for 30 minutes, their memory was enhanced in a short time span.

As individuals age, their memory naturally decreases. Routine online strategic gameplay might be a terrific method to keep the mind sharp even with age, so you will constantly have the ability to discover your car in the car park or keep in mind how to reach your friend’s home.

2. Spatial Visualization

On top of enhancing your spatial memory, playing strategy games online likewise assists in analyzing space better. This improved spatial visualization has practical advantages, like understanding whether the gamer will have the ability to parallel park in a tight area or arranging the closet so everything fits. Excellent spatial visualization is likewise essential for success in many STEM professions.

3. Understanding and Vision

When faced with a complicated environment with contending stimuli, the brain develops an affective template that assists in identifying what is crucial and what is not.

According to a 2014 research study released in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, playing action-based strategy games can improve an individual’s capability to produce perceptual templates.

High-action computer games can likewise enhance the players’ capability to identify patterns and different shades of gray. Researchers used to consider the capability to identify contrast as something that could not improve.

Nevertheless, a study from the University of Rochester revealed that players who played about 5.5 hours of action-packed strategy video games weekly for 9 weeks noticed a 43 percent enhancement in their contrast sensitivity.

The player’s brains could process visual stimuli more effectively, and this enhancement in understanding lasted for months after the experiment ended.

This improved perception has important real-life advantages, such as keeping an eye on their friends effectively in a crowd or discovering something they have dropped in the grass.

4. Decision Making

Fast-paced strategy games online require the players to remain on their toes and make decisions instantly. Such energizing action-packed strategy games can improve the power to make game-time decisions in real-world scenarios.

A 2010 study from the University of Rochester revealed that the players who enjoy action games online might make precise decisions faster than the non-gamers or those who play slow-paced games.

The study tested participants in different audio and video decision-making tasks. While all groups performed almost similarly, the action gamer group finished the activities up to 25 percent faster. 

Faster decision-making is useful in daily life, as individuals can achieve more while quickly making trivial decisions. However, making decisions quickly can likewise have more severe ramifications.

By facing a real challenge in strategy games, fast choices are essential when dealing with a dangerous situation in real life, such as encountering a sudden accident on the road.

Strategy games can likewise enhance decision-making as these relate to long-term planning. When playing these games, the gamers have to prepare ahead and make decisions that will benefit them soon.

Thus, strategy games provide an ideal pathway for people to train their minds to comprehend potential outcomes and the implications of their decisions to make the ideal choices for the desired result.

Only when a person practices these skills in the virtual world and masters those there will be better equipped to apply those practices in the real world.

5. Problem Solving

Strategic and role-playing video games also challenge individuals to solve tedious tasks. Then, this virtual problem-solving attitude serves a great purpose in real-life hurdles.

A 2013 study by The American Psychological Association showed that teenagers who played strategy games online enhanced their analytical capabilities and got much better grades in school.

The research study revealed a connection between how regularly the individuals were playing strategy games and how much improvement they saw — the more strategy games they played, the more their problem-solving abilities and school grades improved.

Practically, every kind of strategy game includes problem-solving, whether it’s figuring out a puzzle or discovering the fastest escape path.

These problems can include both analysis and memorization to solve them effectively, as well as some creativity. Challenges in strategy games are typically extremely open-ended without much instruction, meaning that the gamers should experiment with trial and error.

When one tries to resolve a problem in a strategy game and fails the first time and again and again in the first few attempts, a person also learns how to be persistent and resilient when facing challenges in real life.

6. Mood 

Strategy games online can be an excellent way to unwind and relax. Strategy games that are intricate and deeply immersive can likewise be therapeutic.

When players are fully engaged in a digital world, they do not have time to stress about bills or work. Henceforth, strategy games can stimulate cognitive health by escaping from common world problems like anxiety, stress and depression.

7. Social Skills

The social advantages of video games have been extensively discussed, as some individuals argue video games lead to bad social abilities or seclusion.

While extreme video gameplay might have unfavorable social effects, moderate video gameplay can enhance social skills and decrease stress and anxiety.

More than 70 percent of individuals who play video games play with a good friend. Plus, the video game neighborhood is enormous, and with modern-day innovation, players can play with millions of other individuals worldwide at any time.

8. Physical conditioning

While this favorable impact of strategy games is not technically about your brain, it is still a considerable advantage to discuss. With the development of lots of fitness strategy games, it is simple to get a workout while playing an amazing action-packed strategy game.

The best part of these exercise mind games might be that they can alter the way an individual thinks about being active. These fitness video games make working out enjoyable and offer an easy path to get in shape.

9. Youthfulness

With an aging brain, memory, focus, and multitasking skill all start to deteriorate. While the youth can handle numerous psychological needs simultaneously, older individuals might find it challenging to remain focused even on a single job.

There are many methods to keep your brain young, such as doing puzzles, eating healthy, working out, and even playing strategy games.

In a research study by the University of California, San Francisco, researchers developed an easy driving strategy game where gamers needed to determine road signs while driving around obstacles.

When needed to multitask, gamers of all ages performed worse than when just finishing one task. Nevertheless, those between 60 and 80 years old showed a decline in performance of 64 percent, while younger participants between 20 and 30 years old experienced just a 26 percent efficiency drop.

However, as the older gamers continued to train with the game, they experienced better multitasking abilities, short-term memory, and long-lasting focus.

The advantages of playing computer game were so severe that the older qualified players outperformed inexperienced gamers in their 20s. 

Therefore, playing strategy computer games involving multitasking and focus may be a terrific option to keep your brain young.

10. Curiosity and Learning

On a fundamental level, when gamers play strategy games, the brain is functioning and growing. After figuring out how a video game works and completing puzzles to master a level, individuals develop brand-new connections in their minds.

Lots of strategy games online are likewise set up in different ages or historical settings. Such games don’t just offer fun and entertainment, but also a learning platform to know about historical facts.

When a gamer takes a keen interest in the story or the setting of these strategy games, they might be inspired to continue discovering more about these by themselves.

The next time somebody asks you why you engage in strategy games online, feel free to show this list of 10 reasons strategy games are excellent for your brain. 


When you think of learning, you think of sitting in a class, listening to an instructor’s lecture. While this is the most common method of learning, yet it is far from the finest method to learn new things due to the unignorable fact that it has actually become outdated with time.

As we say, “everything has an expiry date”, so do traditional systems as well. Monotonous repetition, never-ending lectures, and repetitive testing are not the best ways to learn anymore.

Indeed, the best manner to learn is to escape the “boring” and get some excitement in the learning process. Here is where strategy games come in.

The supreme function of these strategy games is to enhance memory, thinking, response time, and cognitive ability. These games are specifically crucial at a later stage in life to keep these abilities strong.

While it seems hard to believe, just playing certain strategy games online can help in preventing degeneration and memory loss by continuing to regenerate your brain cells and keeping your mind sharp.

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