Playing Video Games vs Reading Books. What’s Better?

Playing Video Games vs Reading Books

The pace of our daily lives seems to get faster and faster with each passing year. That leaves us with less free time, less energy to do things for ourselves, and generally with a couple of really tough choices to make. How should we juggle having a full-time job, raising our children, taking care of the house, and still finding time for ourselves? 

Entertainment options are more varied today than ever before, but we have less time to enjoy them. So, what should you do with your free time today? How to make the choice between playing video games vs reading books?

Sadly, more often than not, the only real option we have is to make compromises. Most days, we consider ourselves lucky if we find time for one activity that relaxes us. While the decision is certainly going to be 100% yours, our job here at Basmo is to provide you with the hard data you need to make an informed decision.

So, what should you choose between books and video games?

What are the Reasons Video Games Might Just Be Better for You Than Books?

The one thing we should get out of the way right from the start is that despite what you may have heard and the bad rep video games tend to have especially among parents, they are not all bad. We always believed that the video games vs books debate should be a completely impartial one, so let’s try to forget about the negative aspects of gaming for a while and focus on the things you can benefit from if you choose to play games instead of reading.

Games require your full attention

There are not a lot of things that are more engaging than playing games. If you play a game you love, you are likely going to be completely unable to think of anything else while playing. Even though reading does have a similar effect to a certain extent, there is no denying that gaming is a lot more effective in disconnecting you from reality. 

Being fully emersed in an alternative reality, required to take action constantly, and having a clear mission to complete is going to be an amazing way of forgetting about your daily chores, your worries, and day-to-day life. While that does come with a certain risk (if you overdo it), when used in moderation, games can be a great way to disconnect from whatever is making you feel stressed, anxious, or tense. 

Games teach you discipline, resiliency, and optimism

Games come with a clear set of rules, limited options in terms of actions, and a predetermined journey and mission. This is going to force you to follow the rules in order to achieve the goals you need in order to progress through the story and will teach you a little something about discipline and determination. Especially in the story mode of shooters, RPG, or strategy games, you will have very clear missions to complete in order to make your way farther in the game. 

And more often than not, you are not going to be able to complete these missions on your first try. Instead, you are going to have to repeat stages of the game several times until you figure out the right moves or course of action that will make you successful. There’s a certain level of determination, patience, and optimism that will be required from you in order to progress, and this is going to be great practice for situations in your real life when these same things are going to be required.

Games help you socialize to a certain extent

Online games can either be played in teams or against other players from all around the world. Especially when playing as a team, you are going to be forced to chat with the other players in order to find the right strategies to defeat your opponents. Whether the game allows you to do this via chat or voice messaging, your communication skills are going to benefit from it. This is certainly no viable replacement for live socializing, but it’s still a good way to stay in touch with other people.

Gaming helps you control your memory

Having a good memory is not always a great thing. There are some things we would rather forget, especially when we’re talking about traumatic events that left a mark on our identity from a psychological point of view. Studies have shown that color or shape matching puzzle games like Tetris or Candy Crush may improve symptoms of PTSD. Keeping the part of the brain responsible for visual processing busy may decrease the number of flashbacks a PTSD patient experiences, which significantly improves his condition.

Gaming helps you get rid of bad habits

While gaming can become an addiction itself, it can also help you lose some of the bad habits you’re struggling with. Since your success in games and the satisfaction of feeding your cravings (whether it’s your nicotine addiction, food cravings, or gambling needs) generate the same response in the reward center in the brain, a 2014 study done on smokers has shown that playing games can decrease nicotine cravings significantly

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What are the reasons reading books is better than playing games?

Here at Basmo, we are dedicated to promoting reading as the ultimate pass-time activity, helping you become the best reader you can be, and providing you with all the relevant information you need to stay motivated in your reading habits. That being said, while the benefits of gaming are undeniably relevant and important, your gaming habits certainly shouldn’t leave you with no time for reading. That’s because reading can provide you with certain unique benefits

Here’s where reading comes on top in the video games vs books battle.

The risk of addiction is much lower

While any activity you do obsessively can turn into an addiction, there is no denying the fact that getting addicted to gambling is a lot more likely than taking walks in the park. Yes, reading addiction is a real thing and it can happen to anyone, but the chances are quite low. When it comes to gaming, things are quite different. 

Games are generally designed and developed in a way that keeps you entertained and engaged for as long as possible. It’s easy to understand why, game developers learned quite a long time ago that the longer the users are playing, the more they earn. This led them to create the games with a clear intention to abuse the reward centers in your brain. When done excessively and when other conditions are present in the background, gaming (and especially online gaming) can turn into a serious addiction

It’s less expensive

The financial aspect of the comparison shouldn’t be ignored. Reading is a lot cheaper than playing video games. Of course, books can be expensive too, but video games require additional equipment on top of the actual games you buy. You will need a PC, console, or gaming laptop that are constantly going to need to be upgraded or exchanged with more performant ones. 

Some online games also require you to pay subscription fees or come with an annoying pay-to-win approach that forces you to spend money in order to be successful. When it comes to reading, all you actually need is the book and your eyes. 

There are no risks of injury

When you think about gaming, injury is generally one of the first things that come to mind. But there are some risks you should be aware of. If you play for extended periods of time, you can end up with quite annoying conditions like gamer’s thumb, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tennis elbow. Reading, even when done excessively, comes with no risk of injury whatsoever unless you are unlucky enough to drop a very heavy book on your foot. 

Books are educational and help build your vocabulary

Without a question, reading is a lot more educational than playing video games. Your intellect is going to benefit a lot more from reading a book than from playing a game. You will explore new worlds while developing your brain, learning new things, and new words. Reading is known as a great way to expand your vocabulary

While online gaming may do something similar to your vocabulary, you won’t be able to use most of the words you’ll learn in civilized conversations. Reading is, without a doubt, the superior choice when it comes to educational purposes and mental development.

Reading develops your empathy  

One thing reading is remarkably good at is helping you become a more empathetic and emotionally intelligent person. The way it forces you to put yourself in other people’s shoes, how it serves you the thoughts of different characters allowing you to understand how and why they act the way they do, the fact that you can see how different characters respond and react to the events the author is presenting, are all great ways of improving your empathy. 

The lessons you will learn from books are going to be easy to apply in real-life situations and your emotional intelligence is going to be massively improved through your reading habits. 

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What is better, playing video games or reading books?

Finding a clear winner in the reading vs video games battle is not going to be easy. They are two completely different activities, but they both come with a series of important benefits. Some of the things you will be able to enjoy while gaming cannot be achieved through reading and the same is true the other way around.

While reading is more educational and more efficient as a mental development tool, gaming can be more entertaining and can help you develop your dexterity. Finding solutions in different gaming scenarios is going to help you develop a more practical way of thinking, but reading books is going to make you more empathetic. Gaming teaches you discipline, to follow rules, and to focus on clear objectives. Reading encourages you to use your imagination and visualize the things you are reading about. 

As you can see, for each benefit of one activity, we find a complementary one in the other. That being said, the way we see it is that you have two choices: you can either choose which of the two activities provides you with the benefits you are interested in the most and stick with that, or you can do them both alternatively and get the best of both worlds.

And speaking of getting the best of both worlds, it’s perhaps time to find out how Basmo can help you gamify your reading habits. 

How Basmo can help you gamify your reading habits

Basmo is a reading tracking app that will take your reading to a completely different level. Here’s how it can help you turn reading into a game.

Basmo allows you to add structure to your reading habits

Remember how I was praising the fact that gaming teaches you discipline? Well, thanks to Basmo, reading can be a more structured activity now. 

The app allows you to set clear goals for your reading habits by selecting either the time you want to spend reading every day or the number of books you read throughout the year.

It kind of sounds like a nice gaming mission, right?  

On top of this, basmo can help you structure your reading habits into a more disciplined activity.

Setting a reading schedule is easy and effective from within the app and it allows you to select the days you want to read and even different times for your reading sessions.

Moreover, the app is going to remind you of any upcoming sessions.

It tracks your activity and provides you with interesting statistics 

Basmo times every reading session, measuring certain KPIs that describe your performance. You can now have a very clear idea in regards to your reading speed, the actual time you spend reading every day, and how close you are to meeting your reading goals at all times. 

Having all this data in comprehensive insight reports is going to help tremendously if you’re interested in improving your reading performance.

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Final thoughts

Now that you have all the relevant information about playing video games vs reading books, it is entirely up to you to decide which of the two you should be focusing on more. If you choose reading, you should always remember that Basmo is going to be the best tool you can use to make the best of your experience.

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