With the proliferation of realistic racing games like the Gran Turismo and Forza franchises, there are more opportunities for anyone to get a virtual taste of what it would be like behind the wheel of their favorite performance cars.
Plenty of racing video game enthusiasts will probably tell you that not only do racing games make you a better driver, but they often rate themselves as being better drivers than those who don’t play racing video games. A couple of important studies take a look at whether racing video games truly make one a better driver.
Pros of Being a Racing Gamer
One study from the University of Rochester found that playing action games in general can help those players make quick, accurate decisions and answer questions up to 25 percent faster than those who play slower-paced strategy games. Researchers learned that after a brief training period, the thought processes of gamers conformed to their fast-paced gaming environment, allowing them to make decisions that have major repercussions on overall gameplay in a faster amount of time.
Several dozen test subjects from ages 18 to 25 were divided into two groups. One group played the fast-paced action games “Unreal Tournament” and “Call of Duty 2″ while the other group played the slower-paced “Sims 2″ strategy game. When given a test to measure this quick decision-making process, gamers were found to be just as accurate with their answers as strategy gamers. This research could mean that those who play racing video games, which share many characteristics with other action games, are able to make important decisions much faster than non-gamer. If you are a beginner then you can start with flash games we wrote about how you can download and play flash games offline. There is no such a hard and fast rule that you have to start with a complex one.
Virtual Skills vs. the Real World
On the other hand, a study conducted by Continental Tires discovered that while racing video gamers considered themselves better drivers, the actual evidence doesn’t come out in their favor. Over 2000 motorists between the ages of 17 and 39 were surveyed on their driving skills, with half of those being avid racing gamers. While the racing gamers cited a better understanding of racing mechanics, touted quicker responses and rated themselves higher than their non-gaming counterparts on a one-to-ten score, the results of the study weren’t what they expected.
According to the study, racing video gamers filed twice the number of insurance claims following an accident than non-gamers. The results also showed that racing video gamers ran twice as many red lights over a 12-month period and they were twice as likely to engage in risky and aggressive driving behavior, including road rage and passing slower vehicles too aggressively. Non-gamers were less likely to engage in such risky behavior and more likely to follow the rules of the road.
While racing video gamers regard themselves as savvy drivers, actually being one, in this case, means knowing and respecting the ordinary rules of the road while looking out for other drivers. On the other hand, racing video gamers are more likely to have quicker reflexes and decision-making skills that can prevent them from getting into an accident, although some might say that taking driving lessons might have the same type of effect.
Out on the Race Track
You’re probably wondering if the experiences of racing video gamers can translate on an actual track. If you want to see someone attempt to answer this question, you should look no further than controversial British television presenter Jeremy Clarkson. On the British motoring program “Top Gear,” Clarkson tackled Polyphony Digital’s faithful virtual rendition of the famous Laguna Seca racecourse in Gran Turismo 4 with a virtual Acura NSX and later attempted to achieve the same lap time in real life as he earned in the game using a real NSX. Needless to say, he came nowhere close to the 1:41.48 lap time he achieved in the video game.
As it turned out, there were too many unforeseen variables that not even Polyphony Digital could incorporate into the game. Racing video games won’t necessarily make you a better driver, but they definitely aren’t a substitute for years of practice and training on the track.
We have already discussed that a person can gain a lot from playing video games, including his child’s happiness. But, do they really make you a better driver? I guess, now this article has clarified all your doubts.
This guest post was provided by PassSmart.com; the UK-based company matching learner drivers with instructors in their area.