Arguing that shoot-em-up video games have an educational value seems something only a child would do. Not so. A recent paper published in the scientific journal Current Biology says that those who play video games that feature shooting characters are 25 per cent better at making snap decisions than their peers. We don't want to cast aspersions on the quality of the research at the University of Rochester in New York where this study was performed. And it is probably our own bias that leads us to question whether scientists have a stake in justifying an activity that some would say is anti-social.
But surely, there must be far better ways to hone one's judgment than playing a video game, even for the technically inclined. Participating in the Robotics Olympiad, for instance, to begin in Abu Dhabi this weekend, could provide a far more constructive way of developing problem-solving skills, and without the violence that may attract many youths to shooter games. But as many wives and girlfriends can attest, dragging loved ones out into the daylight and away from a video game is no small task. Perhaps there's a robot at the Olympiad that might be able to help.