My mother-in-law, as she approached 70, became fond of Sudoku. I wondered at her sudden interest in that form of online gaming, until she told me that she had learned that games like Sudoku help to keep aging brains active and nimble. I teased her by telling her that she is now an online gamer, but she was unfazed. It seems that her brain is flexible enough to accept changing times.
The truth is, according to Jane McGonigal in the Huffington Post, that taking a break from your daily routine to play games such as Sudoku, free online jigsaw puzzles, and word games actually increases your productivity.
This is due to the fact that you tend to select games that give you a sense of satisfaction when you complete them. That sense of satisfaction and accomplishment carries over into other activities. According to McGonigal, this is a very real human need that is being satisfied through online games.
One of my kids is in the workforce, now, and the other is in college. Now, I grew up on a farm with horses, cows, and tractors. My sisters and I have very little to talk about, because they wanted to be city kids.
But, my kids played Pokémon together. Now, they play Magic together. Red Dead Redemption, GTA, and other video games linked them together throughout their teen years far more than farm chores ever linked my sisters and me.
That is something that McGonigal’s studies have shown – people join in gaming communities and become linked in ways that have never before been possible. My son is still close friends with guys that moved 10 years ago, because they play video games together.
A sense of community is a human need. Online games provide a wide variety of opportunities to be a part of various communities and groups, and to stay in touch.
This is even possible with online puzzles, such as free online jigsaw puzzles and word games. I met a “friend” online who randomly joined my online invitation to work a jigsaw puzzle, and we now email and correspond regularly.
Developing broadened societal links and a sense of accomplishment fulfills a deep need within people. And, believe it or not, online jigsaw puzzles can do just that.