Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

It turns out playing Mario Kart can actually improve your driving skills

mariokart.jpg

"Go outside," your mum moaned. "Nothing good will ever come from days spent playing Mario Kart."

Au contraire, mother dearest. Research recently published in Psychological Science suggests that playing action video games such as Mario Kart will improve the visual motor skills that are key to driving a real-life car. 

Researchers of  New York University Shanghai and the University of Hong Kong performed two tests to establish if action video games had any impact on "visuomotor abilities": the first saw 'experienced' gamers take on those with no background in gaming in a simple driving simulator test, keeping a car driving on a central path through crosswinds, and tracking a dot with a joystick. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the experienced gamers performed much better at the test - but surely that could just be because they're used to playing driving games, right? 

To test the link further, a second test asked people with no gaming experience at all to perform the same dot-tracking test, but the groups were first giving ten one-hour 'training sessions': half the test group playing Mario Kart with a steering wheel controller, the other half playing Roller Coaster Tycoon III with a mouse and keyboard. We know - where was our invite to this kind of vital research, right?

The researchers found that the group playing Mario Kart performed much better in the visuomotor test, while those playing Roller Coaster Tycoon III received no such improvements. 

However - another test (we just think these researchers love finding excuses to play video games) suggested that experienced drivers might best improve their driving skills if they played first-person shooter games, such as Unreal Tournament.

"The differing effects of driving and FPS video games on the sensorimotor system suggest that for experienced drivers, who have stable control but need to improve their ability to predict input error signals, training with FPS rather than driving video games is more effective," explained Li Li of New York University Shanghai. "In contrast, for novice drivers, who are still struggling with obtaining stable control, training with driving rather than FPS video games is more helpful."

Here's hoping car insurance companies start taking into account time spent on Mario Kart to reduce rates in the near future, yeah?

[Via: Psychological Science]

Related

nes.gif

These retro NES games could earn you big money

bible.jpg

A bunch of weird Christian-themed NES games are coming back

duck.jpg

The retro games missing from Nintendo's mini NES

More

Leaked footage suggests FIFA 18 could resurrect a beloved classic game

Please be true

by Tom Victor
22 Aug 2017

A 'Rollercoaster Tycoon'-style 'Jurassic Park' game is coming

YES PLEASE

by Gary Ogden
21 Aug 2017

A real-life Mario Kart track is coming and yes, it looks amazing

It's BYOB (bring your own bananas)

by Tom Victor
17 Aug 2017

'The Sims' is not escapism, it's the saddest game ever made

Want an escape from real life? Do anything but reinstall The Sims

by Tristan Cross
29 Jul 2017

Man runs Football Manager for 1000 years and insane things happened

The future of football is a weird, wonderful place

by Dave Fawbert
18 Jul 2017

Mario Kart VR is a real thing and it looks ridiculously fun

Imagine Rainbow Road

by Matt Tate
14 Jul 2017

People are freaking out over this totally stupid Super Mario puzzle

Who invented this?!

by Alex Finnis
14 Jul 2017

I went in search of the last trainers still hooked on Pokémon Go

Can the app still draw mass crowds one year on, or is it all just Pokemon G(h)o-st towns now?

by Hussein Kesvani
06 Jul 2017

The Crash Bandicoot remaster is a time machine to your childhood

Was it always this hard?!

by Matt Tate
05 Jul 2017

This little easter egg about Mario's appearance is really satisfying

This can't be a coincidence

by Alex Finnis
27 Jun 2017