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Idea of playing games and having fun while still being productive in some way is very tempting. Did you ever manage to combine playing ganes with learning or gaining some other skills?

I know that it is theorethically possible but please provide some concrete examples that prove it. I am interested in concrete (measurable) benefits - an argument that FPS can improve your reaction is not very convincing for me.

For instance, I have heard that it is possible to learn something about economy while playing Capitalism or to learn English while playing some MMORP games.

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I learned world city names from playing the Civilization series ^^ –  Gaʀʀʏ Jul 5 '12 at 15:56
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I'm a word geek, and I love Scrabble(tm). I play both online and with a Nintendo DS, sometimes against people, sometimes against computer opponents of varying skill levels. Since I began playing computer Scrabble, my scores in real life games have gone from averaging 280-ish to 325-ish.

This isn't a very scientific study as much as it is a look back through the scoring scratchpad that I keep in my Scrabble box.

I would hesitate to say that it's because of the video game; I feel it's more a matter of practice, practice, practice.

I have no doubt that video games can help someone learn or develop a skill. If it's presented in a real-world context with accurate feedback (e.g., first-person shooters won't give you gun-handling skills until there can be accurate kickback messing with your aim and you can't learn how to play a guitar from Guitar Hero), it becomes practice. Driving simulators, cockpit simulators...these are all examples of technology that aid in learning.

I am not familiar with Capitalism, and while you'd be able to understand some generalities about economics, many of the nuances would be lost. The variables that drive nuances are too numerous to program in a consumer level game. Heck, economic forecasting models that run on supercomputers still miss the mark.

As to learning language from an MMORP, my sense is that yes, you could. But it would be the same context as an English immersion environment. One caveat is that MMORP language is very limited in its vocabulary, and user comments are often in less formal/slang. You'd learn a subset of English, but not necessarily the one you want.

Overall, I think that video games have a place in the milieu of learning. Some people learn better with audio-visual/experiential tools than with books and paper. I think that if the game provides a relevant simulation with accurate feedback, it can be a valuable part of a comprehensive lesson plan, serving as practice for the real thing. Unfortunately, programming something accurately enough to provide that level of reality just isn't practical for consumer-level gaming.

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While there are some educational games, in general the real value from computer games is in relaxing or disassociating your consciousness from stresses of work.

Dwwilson has some excellent points though, and in ten year's time there may be games which can fill this need.

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In the TED Book The demise of guys a couple of scientists explain how gaming and porn are screwing up an entire generation of men. Because of the instant gratification nature, both are very addictive, and cause men to prefer these above having a real life and connecting with real women. The best move would probably be to get the same enjoyment from your productive actions (measuring your progress and checking of your actions can help). That said, the whole gamification thing on sites like this one seems to work exceptionally well.

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well, when I was 15 years old, or something around that, playing games such Commandos, Tomb Raider, Red Alert provided me with fun plus improving Problem Solving skills,

well this is a personal experience,

you know you have to seek for solutions for every obstacle you face, you get stuck at some point, you have to search everyplace around you in the scene to find a way out, you have to remember what have you done in the first of the stage or the previous stages to link it to what you are facing now, another point is you have to take care of using resources wisely, I am asking myself did playing computer have bad effects on me ? such as poor performance at school? or socializing? nope I studied well, I loved reading, I loved learning,

so for me and my brothers I believe that playing Computer Games was productive and useful

well all of this works may work well for young guys, but later I don't know if this is productive anymore,

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