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Professor says gaming can help relieve stress

Johnny Nhan, an assistant professor of criminal justice and a part-time gamer, said that depending on the game being played, playing video games could be good.

Sophomores Conner Pulliam, Jacob Oatman and Kevin Case play video games in their Tom Brown/Pete Wright apartment on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. Photo by Lacey McKee.

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Video games do not always hinder studying. Sometimes they can help students relieve stress and learn class material.

Johnny Nhan, an assistant professor of criminal justice and a part-time gamer, said that depending on the game being played, playing video games could be good.
 
A game you can pick up and then stop playing anytime, such as "Call of Duty," can be a good tool to release stress from schoolwork, he said.  

Senior computer science majors Scott Grace and Greg Kolesar said they agreed that video gaming does affect study habits in a positive way.
 
Gaming has been especially important to them since the release of the new "Call of Duty" on Nov. 13, they said. Kolesar said he had received a large amount of homework lately, and playing games helped him to finish all of it and not feel stressed.

However, playing massive multiplayer online games such as "World of Warcraft" can have negative affects due to the amount of time players spend on the game. Nhan said what matters most is how the student balances their time playing the game and doing schoolwork.  

Some research points to how video games can be used to support teaching. In a Sage article, a group of researchers surveyed college students to test if video gaming can be used to help students learn material.  

The study proved successful, despite a few hiccups.  The researchers said these hiccups included technical issues with the game and unclear instructions. Despite these issues, students said they enjoyed the experience, and it was a good way to review class material.

Grace said he believed video games can help with schoolwork and class material. He attributes this to the entertainment value video games have, which would make the learning process more fun for the student.

In addition, Kolesar said he learned more about World War II from playing video games than he would in class lectures. Many games, like the older versions of "Call of Duty" and "Medal of Honor," are based on historical events. 

Despite the success of the study, Nhan said he still has issues with using video games as tools to help students learn.  

“Students could become dependent on the entertainment and stimulation of the game, which makes it harder to concentrate on certain aspects like lectures in the classroom,” he said.

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