Growing up, I bet many of us were Nintendo addicts. I know I personally owned a wii with every Mario game from Mario Party to Mario Kart. However, what I didn't know was that by playing these games, I was training skills that I would need in adult life.

According to The Huffington Post, a new study revealed that games such as Mario Kart actually give you skills you will need when driving in the real world. The study was published by the Journal of Psychological Science and discovered that those who frequently played action video games had significantly better visual motor skills.

Eighty students and faculty members from the University of Hong Kong participated in the study. In the first experiment, those participating had no prior experience playing action based video games, such as Mario Kart or first person shooter games. After playing the game for ten hours, each participant showed huge improvements in their visual motor skills. Then they had the same people play a non-action video game for the same amount of time and no improvement was recorded. 

For the second experiment, they had participants play action based video games for at least five hours a week. After this, they saw significant improvement with their driving skills compared to those that did not play the game. 

This study shows that games like Mario Kart really do improve real life driving skills and even first person shooter games help a person become a more defensive driver. It's time to break out the wii for some epic Mario Kart at your next group hangout!

Lead Image Credit: Mario Kart photo via Flickr Creative Commons