Video games have always gotten a bad rap. People consistently blame them for childhood obesity, young people’s violent behavior and their poor grades. But did you know that responsible video game playing can have a variety of health benefits?

In addition to the calorie-burning potential of games that require physical activity, such as Nintendo’s Wii Fit or Wii Sports, new research shows that video games in general can improve hand-eye coordination, help players hone their critical thinking skills and even promote teamwork through multiplayer games, such as Call of Duty 4 and World of Warcraft.

“Whatever we practice, that’s what we get better at, and games are natural teachers,” says Douglas Gentile, PhD, a psychologist at Iowa State University who has done extensive research on the benefits of video games. “The brain becomes what the brain does. If your game requires practicing certain types of problem-solving skills, you’re going to get better at them. If your game requires cooperation, you’ll get better at that.”