Is chess better than video games? (Researched!)

Video games have been in the discussion of many talks since it is a popular medium used by the younger generation, I have now decided to create an article about it.

Since this is a website about chess, I want it to be relevant to the game in some form, this is the topic that I have settled on. Some say that chess is better than video games, this is my take about it:

Videogames are better in terms of entertainment since there are more genres to choose from and it doesn’t usually need a lot of training. Chess is better for competitiveness since the rating system forces players to seek improvement. Some video games are better than chess and some are not.

Due to the many followers who love chess the comparison is inevitable, I seek to provide all the facts and get involved in this discussion. Video games or chess? I think this needs a deeper analysis.

With all of that in mind, let’s get started. 

Chess is better depending on the type of video game

The answer to this question obviously depends on what kind of video games we are talking about. There are definitely some out there that are better than chess and some that are not even comparable.

When we say the term “video games” we are only describing a medium, there are many different types of video games that it is not justified to classify all of them in this one umbrella term.

This is to avoid comparing apples to oranges, if we are comparing chess to a shooting video game for example, it will of course be subjective and not objective.

Board games are in a completely different genre “shooting” and “strategy” in this case which appeals to a different kind of demographic. But if we are comparing chess to a strategic-based video game then it will be fair.

There are of course many other things about chess that make it better than a lot of video games in general, however, some video games are just better because it appeals to different kinds of people.

Chess is better than most video games that involve critical thinking

If we are talking about video games that involve critical thinking, I believe that chess is better than most video games in such a genre. It is hard to find something that is on par with chess.

Chess is too complicated, it is not something that you can learn from day 1 when you just decided to master it on some random day. It is so complicated that it is a lifetime pursuit.

Many chess players who have been studying for years still receive a lot of learning from reviewing their resources. Video games centered around strategy rarely have the same quality.

In fact most strategy-based video games that I have played over the years are too shallow when compared to something like chess, it can be mastered in a couple of weeks or months.

It is not only about the difficulty though, the actual gameplay requires a lot of introspection that it is almost an art. It is something that cannot be replicated easily.

I am sure that there might be some strategy-based video games out there that are better than chess, but I am also sure that there are not a lot of them.

Just from the surface level, chess as a strategy game is definitively better than most other video games in the same category. There are exceptions, but this is the case most of the time.

Chess is better than video games since it is more balanced

In most video games there is such a thing as a meta, a specific character/feature about a game that allows players to gain an edge. Chess on the other hand is probably one of the most balanced games ever.

I have seen many video game communities stressed out about how unfair a particular patch is, or a particular bug that can be taken advantage of. I think this ruins the game experience the most.

In chess you definitely don’t have to worry about anything like that, there is no secret sauce that can easily push one ahead compared to everyone else. It is equal for the most part.

Some argue that having the white pieces can definitely convert to a win or at least a draw, but we have seen from elite chess games that this is not true. 

Elite super-grandmasters can win with the black pieces against other super grandmasters, if it is so simple then the result would be obvious before they start the game.

The fact that black can still win a game in the top level (which is the ultimate form of chess) means that conclusively, we cannot say that white has a lot of advantage over black.

In some cases, players actually prefer playing with the black pieces over white, this tells a lot about how balanced chess actually is. It is hard to find a video game that has the same balanced mechanic.

I think that chess is way better in this aspect since you rarely see a video game that is held to the same balanced standard.

Chess is better than video games since winning is based on skill

There are many video games that are based around the element of luck, something that doesn’t take the player’s skill into consideration. Chess doesn’t have a lot of luck involved and if there is, it is miniscule.

You get what you work for, if you have spent a lot of time studying and training yourself, you will get the desired result. Luck is almost a non-factor in chess.

In a lot of video games you could be at the top of the rankings and do your due diligence, yet still lose to some random luck that is included in the mechanic of the video game.

In chess a lower-rated opponent can of course still win against a higher-rated one, however, it will depend on performance and not luck. Many video games do not conform to such regard.

If you are looking to have fun and not really dedicate yourself to something though, video games are definitely better. You can still win with luck against skilled opponents and just have fun.

Chess is better than video games when it comes to long-term thinking

Chess incentivizes players who can wait for longer periods of time before doing anything critical, competitors need to be patient when playing. This is different from video games which favors short-term gratification.

In our world filled with dopamine-inducing stimulants from social media to the internet, it is hard to develop a kind of thinking that looks for the long term. Our environment promotes short-term gratification.

This is the same with many video games out there, they make some things come so easy that it gives the short-term rush. It is the complete opposite of chess, something that requires a lot of patience in order to do well. 

If you want to train your mind and be away from any short-term gratification stimulant while still having fun, then chess is for you.

If you don’t like a lot of waiting and just prefer to get something easily then video games are more suitable for your needs. Though too much short-term gratification is dangerous.

Chess is better than video games when it comes to eyesight retention

Chess is generally better for your eyesight since it doesn’t necessarily require you to look at the screen when playing. Video games on the other hand require you to engage an electronic device.

This has been a major problem in this era of electronic devices, the eyesight of an average individual is getting blurry over the years. Video games in particular have contributed to that.

Younger people who have yet to fully develop their eyes are exposed to a lot of flashing video games that definitely damage their eyesight. 

Chess is better in this regard since it doesn’t necessarily hurt your eyesight given the fact that you can play it over the board. 

If you have a chessboard and the appropriate pieces, you can start playing without necessarily looking at a flashing screen. It may be just as good or even better than that video game that you are playing.

Now you may argue that online chess also requires you to look at a flashing screen just as much as a video game, however, I don’t agree with this.

Yes you do need to look at a screen to play chess online, however, it cannot be compared to the switching picture motion of a video game.

Video games are more flashy and the environment of the screen changes all the time, chess that is played online has dull colors and will only change one piece per turn.

It is not the same since video games are more provocative visually than chess that is played online.

Video games are better for entertainment, chess is better for competitiveness

I would say that if you are looking for entertainment, video games are probably better for you since there are more things to choose from. If you are looking for competitiveness, chess is definitely the game you should participate in.

Video games range to a lot of categories that may appeal to you individually but not to others, chess is just a singular game that is only strategy-based. For variety, video games are better.

Also, a lot of video games have many easter eggs and updates that keep the community interested for a long time. It is usually something innovative that will spawn a new experience to the video game.

Chess is definitely not the one to update, the game has stayed the same way for hundreds of years. There are many variants that surfaced but it cannot be compared to the amount of new things that can be seen in a video game.

But if you are looking for a competitive environment, chess is definitely a big ocean to tackle since almost everybody is there to play competitively.

Due to the rating system, even chess players who only intended to play casually are forced to be critical of themselves since they don’t want to lose their rating.

In chess there is always a lot of room to improve, you never really feel that there is nothing to learn anymore (or there are only a few things to learn left). It is a big pool of skilled players.

Don’t get me wrong, video games can become competitive too, but I believe that most video games are not as competitive as chess is.

Final thoughts

I am happy that chess has become popular enough that it can already be compared to something as huge as the video game industry. This certainly was not possible years ago.

Not a lot of people compare the two since nobody really cares about the game at that point, the fact that some people talk about this makes me happy.

A lot of streamers that play video games on their live streams are also taking notice of chess, the comparison is being made today. This article seeks to answer this question from my own perspective.

I am sure that there are still more to discuss here but this is just my own contribution. I have enjoyed writing this article, that is all, sleep well and play chess.