Can a Video Game Make Better Athletes?

Athletes who want to improve their performance may want to spend more time sitting in front of computers instead of only hitting the gym. IntelliGym – a software platform made by Applied Cognitive Engineering that got its start training Air Force pilots – has branched out to give hockey, basketball and soccer players a new way to train without taxing their bodies.

Video Games Can Train Athletes to Play Smarter
Practicing a sport in real life is an obvious requirement for athletes who want to excel. In recent years though, scientists have found that playing certain types of video games can train athletes to play smarter on the field or court.

Somewhat surprisingly, the most effective video games don’t attempt to replicate the experience of playing sports. Instead, athletes get the most benefits from playing games that encourage them to think about sports in abstract ways. This approach to training forces players to react quickly to challenging scenarios that they can apply to real-world sports.

IntelliGym offers low-fidelity games that force players to make quick decisions without getting distracted by the high-fidelity simulations. Making the sports more realistic wouldn’t have the same effect. By separating decision-making from the sports environment, athletes have a chance to train their brains in a way that enhances their skills during competition.

Athletes See Notable Improvements After Using IntelliGym
Research shows that IntelliGym improves athletic performance by 35 percent. It takes about five weeks before players can expect to see on-the-field improvements. During those five weeks, athletes sit down to play games for 30 minutes twice a week. Since the video games don’t require any physical exertion, athletes can easily incorporate them into their typical training schedules.

The company claims practically any type of athlete can see notable improvements after playing IntelliGym games for five weeks. The software has already become popular among professional, college and amateur players. Parents can even purchase games for young athletes. Coaches can introduce it to college players. Professional athletes can choose to play the games to help them develop better skills.

A Proven Record of Success
Applied Cognitive Engineering has been making IntelliGym games since 2005. It has gained significant popularity among athletes over the last decade. In fact, some people believe that IntelliGym is responsible for improving the overall abilities of athletes.

In 2013, the New York Times reported that USA Hockey had been using IntelliGym for five seasons. The game seems to have had a positive impact on young hockey players who use it.

IntelliGym may even explain why young American hockey players have become so competitive in recent years. While the senior men’s hockey team hasn’t won a championship since 1996, the American junior and youth teams have excelled. The future of American hockey, therefore, may have more to do with video games than spending extra time on the ice.

Where Do People Play Mobile Games?

Our smartphones are our constant companions. If you’re in line at the grocery store, chances are the people in front of you are looking at their phones.

What are those people doing? They might be reading the news or an e-book, or texting someone. But they’re just as likely to be playing a game. According to Forrester Research, Americans spend about 6 percent of their smartphone time playing video games. In fact, more people are playing mobile games than ever. 70 percent of U.S. mobile phone owners—or 60 percent of Americans—will play a mobile game in 2017, a number that’s gone up every year this century.

So where are people playing mobile games?

On the Couch
Game to play: Cooking Craze (iOS, Android)

Just because you can take a game with you doesn’t mean that you have to; sometimes the couch is the best place to plan what’s for dinner and Cooking Craze can definitely help gamers find food inspiration. As with every other gaming platform, most mobile gamers—60 percent—play on the couch at least part of the time.

On an Airplane
Game to play: Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders (iOS, Android)

Air travel always means down time, so it makes sense that 50 percent of phone owners play games during their flight. With this air combat simulator, you can imagine that you’re flying a fighter in World War II, instead of sitting in coach between O’Hare and Atlanta.

In Bed
Game to play: Bedroom Planner (iOS, Android)

We use smartphones as alarm clocks, or we’re gaming on them right before bed. 45 percent of smartphone owners play games before bed. If you ever look around your bedroom and find that it comes up short, play with some new flourishes in this bedroom design game.

On the Train
Game to play: SteamPower1830 (iOS, Android)

The morning commute is the perfect place to game—we speak from experience on this one, as do 34 percent of smartphone owners. If you take a train to work, you might enjoy building train lines.

At Work
Game to play: Mini Metro (iOS, Android)

You really shouldn’t play games at work, even if 24 percent of smartphone owners do it. But on your lunch break, try Mini Metro, which you can play without sound.

At the Dentist
Game to play: Pet Dentist Office (iOS, Android)

This seems difficult to do on laughing gas, but 20 percent of smartphone owners play games at the dentist.

At the Gym
Game to play: NBA 2K17 (iOS, Android)

What better way to pass the time on an exercise bike than with a mobile game? 11 percent of smartphone owners play at the gym. Pretend you’re training for the NBA Finals while you hit the elliptical.

Big Fish Weekly Update – August 7

1. Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe’s Lenore Collector’s Edition

Join your trusty partner C. Auguste Dupin on another harrowing adventure! Travel to the city of Goldstown, a small city that’s been plagued by multiple kidnappings and a secret gang of murderers calling themselves the Crows League.

Device: PC & Mac

2. Maze – Nightmare Realm Collector’s Edition

Your nephew has a secret, one that’s keeping him trapped in a nightmarish world. Follow him into the dark reaches of his mind to save him from a monstrous fate!

Device: PC & Mac

3. Witches’ Legacy: The City That Isn’t There Collector’s Edition

Your mother has mysteriously disappeared while researching a city that has vanished from all maps. Things quickly turn dark as you trace her footsteps into a city filled with mysterious creatures. Can you save your mother before it’s too late?

Device: iOS

4. Midnight Calling: Valeria Collector’s Edition

Your world is rapidly cooling down, and you’ve been called in for help! You quickly find magic at work in the icy landscape. Can you uncover the cause in time?

Device: iOS