I must admit when I first looked at [i]Brain Age[/i] I was thinking to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” After playing I can’t help but think of the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.” [i]Brain Age[/i] may seem silly and even perhaps a little dorky at first glance. Give it a chance; you might be surprised what you find inside.
To sum it up, [i]Brain Age[/i] is a video game developed by a real neuroscientist – Dr. Ryuta Kawashima of Japan- that helps you develop your “brain age.” The game consists of multiple mental exercises ranging from simple math calculations to reading aloud to help you train your brain to be tested in the [i]Brain Age[/i] Check.
When you first start the game you get to create a profile. The only noteworthy thing at this point is that you get to use the stylus to create your signature. You also input your birth date and what hand you use to write with. The nice thing is there are multiple profile spaces so that for instance Cone and myself both have our separate training space. And then I can gloat when I have a lower brain age. After your profile is set, you then get your first [i]Brain Age[/i] Check. Your brain age is a number that reflects how active your brain is. The best possible “age” is 20. I am currently at age 23. Your goal, obviously, is to train to get to age 20.
Once you are established as an old fart in the brain age world you then get to go to the Daily Training area of the game so that tomorrow you can improve that embarrassing brain age. You can only record scores for training and your brain age once a day, so it encourages you, nay forces you to play daily. In the training area there are multiple exercises to choose from and the more you play, the more you unlock. My personal favorite at this point it one called “Head Count.” It would be much too complicated to explain in full but it deals with keeping track of people as they enter and exit a house. It is definitely a challenge. The game keeps track of your scores via graphs and you can compare yourself to other player’s profiles and also hook up your DS to another to compare scores and other things.
Also included with the training and brain age testing is Sudoku. You have probably seen it before in the newspaper. It is a series of 3 x 3 squares with some numbers provided to you. You have to then fill in the blank squares with the numbers 1-9. That may sound simple, but there’s more. Each 3 x 3 square can only contain each number once, as can each column and row. It is addicting that is for sure. It is pretty sad that for the past few nights after our son goes to sleep Cone and I fight over who gets to play Sudoku first.
A bit cheesy at times, some of the things the doctor says to you are a bit corny. A bit weird, like when it asks you to draw a rhino, a giraffe, and then Africa from memory to be compared to the drawings the doctor did himself. I maintain that there is no way ANYONE could draw as well as he does with a stylus on a DS screen. Overall, [i]Brain Age[/i] is a fun way to spend a few minutes – or hours if you are Sudoku-ing it – everyday making yourself smarter. You really can’t complain about that. And if your mom tells you to put down the handheld for a while you can simply explain that you are trying to better yourself as a human being. Just don’t tell her I said that…