Neat. Video Game Play and Addiction was mentioned on Ars Technica by their gaming guru Ben Kuchera. He specifically mentions and looks at the section about how gamers are different.
A lot can be said about this topic and some very good literature has been coming out like Beck and Wade’s The Kids are Alright. Similar to the concept of art, “gaming” itself can mean so many different things to different people. There is no way to do full justice to describing such an eclectic group.
Having said that, one often common characteristic of games is that it they are playgrounds in which problems are solved. This simple aspect of games can lead one towards an improved ability to solve problems within a particular game, within other games, and within other aspects of life with which a game may have overlap.
Real Time Strategy (RTS) games, my personal favorite, involve a heavy amount of focused attention and resource management. Learning the capacity to focus and deal with finances can readily be translated to the real world.
Games are more than a “distraction” as such a connotation seems to float around the media ether. Games, when played well, offer a capacity towards a type of learning.
One comment in the posting on Ars Technica suggested that gamers choose to game and this may make a person different than others. Of course, there is some truth to this, however, I believe anyone can have the ability to solve problems, and there are several arenas in which problem-solving abilities can be improved besides gaming, but some games can and do provide a particularly strong setting to improve some of those skills.