"If I had to recommend a type of video game to someone, it would be a 3-D platform or logic puzzle game. The evidence is clear at this point that these games can be beneficial for the brain," West says.
People who played action video games that involve first-person shooters, such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, experienced shrinkage in a brain region called the hippocampus, according to a study published Tuesday in Molecular Psychiatry. That part of the brain is associated with spatial navigation, stress regulation and memory. Playing Super Mario games, in which the noble plumber strives to rescue a princess, had the opposite effect on the hippocampus, causing growth in it.
Scientists have done dozens of studies looking to see if playing video games affects people's health and behavior. There's some evidence they may improve people's visual short-term memory and eye-hand coordination. But researchers keep looking for negative consequences, too.