It depends on what you mean by helping...
I've found (and I was the same way for the same reason...) that my students are much better at flying with the instruments than they are visually. Now this would be a great thing if they were getting their instrument rating, but not for student pilots. I constantly have to cover up the instruments to force them to look outside. Where does this come from? Yeah, you guessed it...flight sim. When you're limited to a 2D
/limited 3D cockpit (especially when most don't have a TrackIR, which changes things a little bit...), you get really good at flying precision instruments. Problem is, you get used to that and when you try to apply that to the real thing, you end up doing the exact same thing you did in the game...not looking outside.
So as far as reaction times and in our case, instrument flying skills and procedures, yes, video games are great. If you're trying to teach a primary student how to scan for traffic and fly using visual references only, video games are horrible beause they teach bad habit patterns.
That said...I still recommend all of my sudents get FS2004 and fool around. It may not be the real thing, but it costs a heck of a lot less and there is a lot of stuff you can learn from it...for example, how to spin AND
recover a Lear 45
Seriously though...I did show my student what a spin was and how it happens using a Bellanca Scout in FS2004...he has the recovery procedures down pat now