I’d like to feel your lumps. I know you may think that’s a little forward of me, but I promise you can feel mine in return. I think they’re going to match.Before anyone gets carried away and takes their socks off, let’s be clear. The lumps are in your head.There’s a journal called Nature, and it did a little bit of research into people’s brains and what happens to them when they juggle.
OK, not so much when they juggle, but when they learn to juggle.
They grow. They swell. They get nubbins and bumpules and bulgoes and lumps.
More precisely, and less made-uply, there is a 3% growth in grey matter in certain areas of the brain.
And it makes their brains denser. Denser, for once, being good. And the reason, it seems, is pretty clear.
The challenge in spatial awareness and in anticipating where things are going to be forces the brain to grow.
Problem is that juggling is for people who think nubuk is a suitable material for underpants. People who think pumpkin seeds are food.
So isn’t there another way to fatten your brain? Something which needs spatial awareness and the ability to anticipate where things are?
Bingo! Well, not Bingo, obviously, since that only requires fat bottoms and the ability to squeal. But bingo as in yes. Yes there is. Videogames.
Virtual On’s twin sticks, Pilotwing’s 3D delicacy, Prince of Persia’s wall jumps. Soul Calibur’s blocks and dodges. Robotron. Monkey Ball. Halo. Burnout. Tetris. Pro Evo.
Brains grow fat on learning the kinds of things that games demand of us.
But this isn’t about mounting yet another kind of defence for Why Videogames Aren’t Bad For You, Really They Aren’t. This is about your lumps.
You love games. You play them lots. Some, at least. And that means you have the lump. We all have the lump.
Everyone reading this has brains that are different in the same way. If you sliced us all open, you’d see the same tell-tale 3%. The same bigger brain.
We ought to be able to recognize each other because of it. It’s the ultimate secret handshake, the best member’s badge in the world.
There’s a catch, though. The lump is temporary. Stop juggling, stop playing, and your brain shrinks back to puny, human normality.
So don’t stop. Keep letting games stretch and fatten your brains. Please. Don’t lose the lump.