What is porridge?
Healthy, hearty, starchy, milky, warm, boring. A staple of bulking, weight loss, and healthy diets, but something many would rather not consume in lieu of things that actually taste nice.
What is knowledge?
Important, possibly challenging, sometimes unengaging
What are videogames?
Unimportant, possibly easy, sometimes engaging
Conundrum: I want to eat healthily, but get distracted by glossier, less healthy alternatives. Equally, I want to study, but I get distracted by entertainment.
Question: Can the pursuit of actually useful knowledge be combined with largely mindless videogames as a study tactic?
Answer: Yes, and here's how.
Snooker is a game where two players take turns to ponderously amble around a large wooden table covered in a thin, but never quite right, cloth in order to hit a ball into some other balls and hopefully get them into holes. It's as exciting as it sounds, and yet it's that precise monotony which makes it such a fantastic bit of tv to have on in the background while studying. Just engaging enough for one to glance up occasionally from a dusty book to watch without ever being so interesting as to seriously detract from reading or writing.
But videogames are an active process which traditionally demand constant attention, so how could one ever listen to a language CD, a lecture or webinar without being wholly distracted to the point where no information is sinking in? Typically that'll be the case, but here are 5 completely non-educational Videogames that require snooker like levels of user focus and simultaneously provide enough enjoyment to inoculate a weary student from boredom.
1. Viscera Cleanup Detail (PC)
A janitor simulator, Viscera Cleanup Detail enlists players to work alone or in a group in order to clean up various facilities in the wake of various trope outbreaks, from aliens to zombies. There's a good selection of stock levels, but stages from other games can also be imported. Ever made a mess in Shadow Warrior? Well, now you can import that mess and clean it all up! Sounds fun right, an opening round match at the Crucible level of fun.
No mandatory time limits - you can stop to take study notes whenever you want
Curiously satisfying to finish a messy job
You could just do actual cleaning while listening to audio
Your in game boss is a dick
2. Egg Inc. (ios/Android)
An absurdly mesmorising mobile app of a similar mold to most tycoon or clicker games, Egg Inc. is a relaxing experience that involves a lot of clicking with the instantaneously satisfying visual feedback of hundreds of chickens strutting out of a little hut and moving towards their new homes in a quasi-orderly manner. Requiring no more thought than tapping the screen and occasionally upgrading things, Egg Inc is something that can be idly played while your attention at large is elsewhere.
Portable, take it to real lectures
Write with one hand, make chickens with the other
You'll look like a tit if you play this in a lecture
3. American Truck Simulator (PC)
The less wiggly and larger sequel to the worlds greatest simulator franchise, American Truck Simulator's wide, long and straight roads are absolutely ideal for keeping one's entertainment cravings satisfied while leaving the brain with enough capacity to deal with the absorption of knowledge. Why not take things a step further and nab an idea from the talented fellows at Cool Ghosts and try giving your own lecture on a subject you've learned as part of a Lets Play, with the challenge of stopping the lecture as soon as you hit something?
It's actually a really good game
Ideal company for audio learning
You could just stick a CD on during your commute
Might make you more American
4. Dynasty Warriors (Last Gen, Current Gen, Whatever Mate)
Perennially criticised for its repetitive combat, it's that precise effortless combat system combined with the visual feedback of entire armies being swatted away like flies which makes any Dynasty Warriors game, save the original PSX 2-D fighting game release, an ideal mindless videogame to accompany study. Less a complex combo game, and more a "where do I put my dude next" light RTS game, Dynasty Warriors grants the lazy, or hungover, their power fantasy while leaving plenty of room for thought. Hell, stick the game on its lowest difficulty and your character will have so much health that you will have plenty of time to jot a webinar note down while playing it.
Makes you feel like a God amongst men
You are still lazy
5. Pokémon Go (Mobile, obviously)
Pokémon Go is a lovely phenomenon that has made pokemon and walking cool again. What's more, there are studies which show that walking can actually amplify ones own creativity, making the app perfect for those wishing for some light entertainment and exercise, while having a good old think. Just don't walk into traffic or go wander anywhere unsafe
You might walk into things
So there you have, 5 games you can play while studying.
Although lets be honest, I've just been lying to myself in an effort to forgive my shameful lack of self discipline.
Shame on Muss.
RESEARCH REPORT: Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking, by Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz