Today, whether in our academic or professional lives, we are constantly challenged to be innovative and creative and to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills in order to achieve success. However, honing these qualities is not an easy undertaking, and having an efficient brain takes a lot of effort and hard work. But it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun while doing it; there are dozens of games that can assist us in developing our cognitive abilities and creative thinking.

Honing brain skills with video games

Several video games, ranging from building games to open-world survival adventures, have been released in recent years that stimulate players’ creativity while also delivering hours of fun and entertainment. Today, video games are finally being recognized as a great educational tool, thanks to new research that indicates that playing video games can improve our cognitive skills.

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Building games, by the way, are a great way to stimulate our brain. That’s why Minecraft is the perfect choice for those looking for video games to hone brain skills. The game’s main goal is to build and create virtual worlds, and gamers’ imagination and creativity play a huge role in this. Widely regarded as one of the most successful video games of all time, Minecraft gave us a platform to put our brain skills to work and create detailed virtual worlds in a procedurally-generated gaming environment, all while dealing with resource management, weather, and terrain transformations. The game was acclaimed for its ability to test players’ creativity and was even dubbed the “virtual Lego” for its graphics that resemble Lego blocks.

However, stimulating challenges aren’t limited to building games. Players must be able to think critically and make rapid decisions in battle royale games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG, two of the most popular games today. Combining action-adventure and survival elements, these games pit up to 100 players competing to be the last man standing on a large map. They must forage supplies and gear, as well as construct fortifications and traps to protect themselves from the other players.

The skills behind the cards

Card games aren’t just about luck, and while some are regarded as games of chance, there’s a lot of skill involved as well.

Poker has already established itself as a mind sport, with numerous countries recognizing it as such. Furthermore, many experts and players claim that blackjack is also a skill game since it involves rapid decision-making, good math skills, and a thorough comprehension of its strategies.

With hundreds, if not thousands, of online rooms and websites available today, playing online poker is as simple as shopping for groceries. Players may select from a wide range of variants, including Texas hold ‘em and Omaha hold ’em, as well as varying wager limits, and even practice at free-to-play tables. There are also various tournaments and online events, and even the World Series of Poker, the world’s most renowned poker tournament series, hosts some of its events online.

Blackjack and its variants are also available online, with most iGaming platforms offering them various betting limits, as well as novelty games such as speed blackjack and progressive blackjack. One of the most popular trends in the iGaming industry in recent years, live dealer games also include blackjack. These games are managed by professional croupiers and streamed live, giving bettors an authentic, realistic gaming experience in the comfort and safety of their own homes.

The emergence of gamified learning

Gamified learning is an educational technique that engages and encourages students by incorporating video game design and gameplay elements into learning environments. The ultimate goal is to improve enjoyment and engagement among learners by captivating their attention and inspiring them to study more.

A perfect example of that is Duolingo, a gamified platform for language learning. Through game-like exercises, skill trees, and leaderboards, Duolingo offers an entertaining approach to language learning with 103 different courses in 40 languages and over 500 million registered users worldwide.

With social distancing measures and lockdowns keeping students away from classrooms over the last two years, gamified learning has played a critical part in learning processes throughout the pandemic. And as technology improves and pervades many aspects of our daily lives, altering how we work and socialize, educators and pedagogy researchers have begun to explore the possible benefits of integrating technology in classrooms.

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