Now, why is playing video games good for you? They provide a unique learning environment. They provide something which for most of human history was not available, namely, an interactive complex entity that is accessible at low cost and zero risk.
However, there is one kind of video game that users typically find rather boring, namely the self-proclaimed educational games:
Of the three games in the math title, “DigiHog Drop” is easily the most challenging. Players must make complete equations using little creatures marked with numbers. “Asteroid Smash” is a moderately mindless arcade game where players shoot asteroids that are labeled with solutions to various equations. In “Galactic Pinball,” players use the arrow keys to roll a ball into a hole that corresponds with the answer to a math question.
The salient feature of these games is that the task you are expected to perform has nothing to do with the logic of the situation in the world portrayed in the game. If you were actually going through an asteroid field your priority would not be to hit the asteroid with a certain number on it. The criterion for what you have to hit next has not been designed for the purpose of making the game enjoyable but with a predetermined ulterior motive. Thus the game has no integrity; this not only impedes the creative designer but, more importantly, limits the amount of creativity that the player can put into the game. Which makes it more boring and less educational. That some students may prefer these games to a standard lesson is a sad reflection on the nature of lessons: it does not alter the fact that “educational” games are a bad way to learn arithmetic, or English or history or whatever. Solving the interesting problem in the computer game has no bearing on what 8+8 is, or how to conjugate a verb, or how to spell “cat”, or why Churchill decided not to appease Hitler. If someone is interested in these problems they won't be interested reproducing some list of facts, whether written on asteroids or not, but in the explanations behind these facts and that is the one thing these games do not address.