Plenty of us will remember our mothers shouting at us to stop playing those video games or ‘our eyes will go square’ and ‘our brain will turn to mush’. Whilst there’s something to be said for not wasting an entire life playing games, there’s a growing school of thought that gaming might actually do quite the opposite of turning brains to mush; it might, in fact, make us smarter. Whether you believe in it or not, there are certainly some games that have more intellectual credentials than others and these are the best of them.
There are many card games that are really enjoyable, but the one which always has something new to learn about it is poker. There are lots of ways to play free poker online, which means it’s the perfect game for those individuals who want to be able to practice at any time of day.
If you’ve never played before then you’ll need to memorise your hand rankings before you can ‘level up’ in your play. For the first few games it definitely isn’t cheating to have them written down in case you need to refer to them, but by the time you’re playing proper games you’ll want all of that information in your head. This is the first reason why poker might be a brain boosting game, because it relies heavily on memory. Not only do you need to remember your hand rankings, you also need to remember the reactions of players when hole cards are dealt, as well as who’s been raising the stakes. It’s a game of wiliness and skill, perfect for those who want to learn to perform under pressure and maybe even improve their memory too.
Minecraft is one of the most popular games at the moment and this is largely down to its unrivalled open world format. The worlds that you can explore in Minecraft are huge and this means that there is endless room for creativity. One of the forms of intelligence that is the most often overlooked is creative intelligence, but it’s also one of the most important. Without creativity, we’d struggle to think laterally about things and this way of thinking is almost always what leads to the greatest inventions.
Games like Minecraft encourage creativity and give players total freedom to build the world that they desire. This unbridled creativity is useful for winning Minecraft tournaments and creating structures that will impress friends, but it’s more than that. Freedom for creativity fosters exactly the kind of thinking that we need in the next generation of inventors and problem solvers.
Chess mastery has long been an indicator of high intelligence and that still stands true to this day. Becoming a grandmaster is an enormous challenge, requiring you to achieve an ELO rating of 2500 or more, or to achieve two favourable results in a tournament. Chess is such a good indicator of intelligence because it is what is known as a game of complete information. This means that both players can see all of the pieces on the board, meaning that from this knowledge they can know any of the possible moves which can be played. The only guesswork in chess is anticipating what your opponent might do next.
You need immense logic to win, as well as an infallible knowledge of the capabilities of each piece. People spend hours and hours poring over texts on chess strategy and still there are some people that outshine everyone with relative ease. If you want to really flex your chess skills then researching some opening moves is a great place to start. A solid opener is a really important part of a game and there are endless books and YouTube videos that you can watch and read to help with your studies.