It has been long discussed about the harmful effects computer games have on individuals. It has been said that this type of games occupy a large period of the individual's time without offering any positive reward, or in other words, without having any good effects on human's life in its entity. Also, it has been argued that computer games have as main result restricting people's interaction with each other to the virtual world, thus leading to isolation.
Yet, one side of computer games which has not been given proper attention is the educational one. Computer games, and especially strategy computer games such as SimCity or Age of Empires are designed in such a way as to challenge human brain and make it find new ways to solve difficult problems. Gamers are put in front of real life situations or possible situations and are given the freedom to choose what they want to do. Without making the right moves and right decisions, the player can not move to the next level, can not evaluate. These games are meant to make the player think, find new solutions, evaluate them and choose the most suitable ones. Also, it forces the player to face the consequences of their acts and take it all over again if they fail to meet all the requirements or if they do not make the right decisions.
This means that more than one feature of the brain is exploited. The player must be capable of learning (the rules of the game, the situations and some of their answers, etc.), solve problems and mysteries, evaluating different possibilities, choosing between them and have enough patience to watch the evolution of the game and start it all over again when they have failed one or more tasks.
It is no doubt that strategy computer games really have the power to keep the brain working for more hours. And more intellectual activity means increased IQ, from which we can infer that they are really useful in improving one's intellectual capacities. So, if you want to increase your IQ in a pleasant way, these games are really good alternative to chess and riddles, but not enough.