By Will Eells 

For many students, summer means one thing: more time to play video games. And with many areas still under stay-at-home mandates, children and adults alike may find themselves reaching for the controller more frequently. But despite the worries of many parents, recent studies show that playing video games might provide several psychological and cognitive benefits—often in areas closely related to aptitudes studied here at the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation. 

Our research shows that using our natural abilities makes for more satisfying experiences. Consider the classic puzzle game Tetris. For those who score high in Structural Visualization, positioning those blocks in just the right places, as they fall faster and faster with every cleared line, can be not only satisfying but downright exhilarating. 

More video games are being made now than ever before, offering new kinds of experiences and new ways of using your aptitudes. Listed below are some recent video games, spanning a wide variety of genres, that could provide unexpected outlets for your natural abilities.

Two Point Hospital

Two Point Hospital is a light-hearted take on the popular “management simulator” genre of games. Here, the goal is to design and manage a profitable hospital whose patients are suffering from the likes of “Denim Genes” and “Premature Mummification.” But like most management sims, success comes from efficient planning and a careful budget—great for those with high scores in Analytical Reasoning and Number Facility. 

Beat Saber

If you score high in Grip, sitting on the couch to play a video game might be the last thing you want to do. But it’s easy to work up a sweat in the VR rhythm game Beat Saber, as you swing your controllers like lightsabers, slicing blocks in time to upbeat music. Rhythm Memory can help you “feel” the music and nail the timing of your swings, and Memory for Design can help you memorize the sequence and placement of the flying blocks. 

Crypt of the NecroDancer

If you don’t have a VR set-up but are interested in a music-oriented game, Crypt of the NecroDancer might be another game to check out. Part dungeon crawler and part rhythm game, you’ll attack monsters and gain treasure, but only if you can move to the beat. While Rhythm Memory can help you move around the dungeon and successfully attack your enemies, Memory For Design can help you defend yourself as you learn to anticipate your enemies’ movements. If you play on the computer, you can even use your own MP3s as the soundtrack.

Return of the Obra Dinn

Are you a forensics fanatic? In this puzzle game, you play a 19th-century insurance adjuster investigating the tragic fates of the lost passengers and crew of the merchant ship Obra Dinn, after it mysteriously returns to port after months lost at sea. Inductive Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, and Observation will serve you well in correctly identifying each passenger, what happened to them, and the strange sequence of events that led to the ship’s ultimate demise.

Super Mario Maker 2

Don’t just play a Mario game—make one! Super Mario Maker 2 gives you all the tools you need to make Mario-style courses of your very own. Super Mario Maker 2 is a great way to use both Structural Visualization and Ideaphoria to design wildly creative—or fiendishly tricky—levels for other players worldwide to enjoy. 


In this twist on the action-adventure game, you play a shopkeeper moonlighting as an adventurer. At night, you explore dungeons in search of treasure and other valuable resources to plunder. During the day, you run your shop, deciding which goods to sell and at what price, while simultaneously keeping track of fluctuating market demands. Use Number Series and Number Facility effectively to keep your customers happy and maximize profit!

Jackbox Party Pack 2

Jackbox Games specializes in quick, comical party games for big groups. They have dozens of games to choose from, but two of Jackbox’s most popular and best-received games can be purchased together as part of their second “Party Pack.” In Fibbage 2, players submit plausible but incorrect answers to trivia questions in an attempt to trick their opponents. In Quiplash, players answer ridiculous prompts and vote on which responses they think are best. Both games reward quick thinking and creative answers, making Ideaphoria and Inductive Reasoning valuable assets if you want to come out on top. 

We Were Here

For those who score Objective, games may be more fun when you can work together. In this cooperative, escape room-inspired game, you and a friend are not only trapped in an abandoned castle but are locked in different rooms. Armed with only a walkie-talkie and no way to see what your partner is doing, you’ll have to collaborate and communicate effectively to solve each other’s puzzles and make your escape. 

Of course, this list is just a small sample of the unique and entertaining games available today. The world of video games is large and diverse, and chances are there’s a game out there that would be especially satisfying for your natural abilities. So if you find yourself in need of a new hobby or a new way of exercising your aptitudes, video games have a lot to offer.

***This post was created in response to a client request. JOCRF is in no way affiliated with these game companies, nor will we receive any type of compensation from this post.***

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