How Strategy Games Can Improve Memory and Problem-Solving Skills

In most academic circles, games are looked at as a distraction.

It is believed that they divert attention away from necessary tasks or usurp valuable time that could be used for studying. The truth of the matter, though, is that games of all description can be very therapeutic and help aid in the learning process.

This is no more true than it is in the area of strategy games. Whether it be classic games like Othello and Chess, or strategy-based video games with less static problem-solving elements, there is much to be learned from engaging in them. Let’s take a look at several ways games that require strategising help students do better in class, as well as other areas of life.


#1: Greater Attention to Detail

Performing well in strategy games requires the ability to visually (and sometimes audibly) assess the state of the game and find creative ways out of problem situations. Players who get good at this tend to apply the same levels of attention paid to gameplay to school, work, and personal situations as well. They also remember patterns and formulas better than average.

#2: Better Situational Judgement

Strategy games require patience and a willingness to suss out ways to achieve the best possible outcomes. Learning this sitting at a chess board makes it easier to do when mapping out a semester’s worth of work or trying to organise difficult assignments.

Many students who find themselves stuck when trying to write good term papers, for example, might seek help from peers, professors, or even a professional essay writing service. Any of the above solutions can be part of a good time-management strategy that keeps responsible students’ coursework on schedule.

#3: Perseverance and Staying Power

Difficult games, particularly video games, can become almost a vendetta for the player trying to advance to the next level or to defeat an historically difficult opponent. Students who engage in strategy-based gaming develop perseverance that extends to other areas of life, particularly academics. The more competitive the games they play the more apt students are to fight for better grades or better understandings of difficult subjects.

#4: Better Decision-Making Skills

Strategy is all about making decisions. Indecisive players often find themselves out of the game quickly. On the other hand, those who learn to act quickly and confidently tend to make better decisions and have more confidence in them in all areas of life. Developing these skills while still in college can prove very beneficial in a competitive work environment later.

#5: Better Job-Related Skills at Entry-Level

Learning how to operate within a structured set of rules and procedures is a huge part of strategy games, but it is an equally big part of the game of life, too. Employees that get the most positive recognition are those who adapt quickly to those rules and procedures. They help keep workflow smooth and steady and are often lauded by employers as being “team players” who possess all of the above skills and more.

Top Strategy Game Categories for Students

As a final note, here are a few ideas for the types of games students can use to develop memory and problem-solving skills:

Puzzle Games – Games like Sudoku and Mahjong are great for memory, strategising, and problem-solving. Crossword puzzles and word searches also help students develop more organised thought processes.

Two-Player Board Games – Chess, Othello, Backgammon and more modern games like Battleship al require problem-solving skills and organised thought.

Simulation Video Games – Games like Civilization, The Sims, and Roller Coaster Tycoon all help develop strategising and problem-solving skills.

There is a clear connection between students who perform well in academic and those who engage in strategy-based gaming. We hope that you will take the time to explore how allocating a little time for gameplay can actually boost your grades as well as your confidence in your own academic abilities.