Video games to be sure are one of many ways to engage in seemingly mindless activity and are almost guaranteed to drive parents nuts. How do I know this? I have two kids.

Still, what surprises me, a middle aged guy who at one point was a pinball wizard and who proudly has never played a single video game, is that there may actually be some therapeutic effect.

There are group of researchers who are developing and testing video games, which at least in one study have been shown to work as antidepressants. How can this be? I mean sitting in front of a small screen, blotting out the entire world (including your parents) and not moving for hours-how can this help depression?

Depressed people have trouble making decisions and worry about lots of things at once. Playing a video game forces you to make quick decisions and gives your mind a break from the outside real world. Whether you are saving the human race by killing aliens or jumping over buildings, you are not thinking about your finances, your spouse, your job or whatever other issues you might have.

If video games can be shown to work for depression, it might help reduce the number of medications needed. Video games might also work for early dementia, anxiety and other mental illnesses. You can be sure that video makers are well aware of this potential and the huge amount of potential clients. However, until more quality studies come out, I would hold off trying to defeat the alien King in favor of just talking with your friends and family.