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  11:12:07 pm, by Nimble   , 431 words  
Categories: Reviews, Toys


Link: http://www.brainage.com/launch/

I got to play with this oddball gem of a program for the Nintendo DS the other day.

The idea of this program is to help you keep up your prefrontal cortex activity. Dr. Ryuta Kawashima designed it, and I'm guessing it is he that is embodied in the Kryten-like excessively jolly floating head on screen.

Unlike other Nintendo DS games that I've seen, this one is meant to be used left/right, and takes advantage of some rudimentary speech recognition and handprinting recognition as well.

The game leads you through a number of different activities (they emphasize doing different activities), such as having calculations scroll up the left hand side, like 3x0, 15-7, 4+19, and you write in your answers on the right hand side as fast as you can. There's a variation on the old 'actual colour is different from what's printed' game, where you have to speak the colour the word is printed in (so they'll have "Red" in black letters, and you must say "black").

There's a low-to-high game, where you get to see an amount of numbers in varying shapes for two seconds, they disappear and you tick off the boxes in order from what the lowest to highest numbers are (the number of numbers increase as you get things right and decrease as you don't, which can make you crazy :) ). There's also a game in which various numbers of varying colours which may be spinning or pulsing or sliding appear, and the questions vary: "How many red #s are there?", "How many 4s are there?", "How many pulsing numbers are there?" There's a word memorization game in which you're given two minutes to memorize 30 words, and three minutes to write down as many as you can remember.

It's quite an intense brain workout, really :)

One thing I noticed is that they stick entirely to primary colours: there's black, red, blue and yellow. There is no green. I wonder whether this makes it usable by those who are red/green colour-blind?

The best "Brain Age" score you can get is 20 years old. (Everyone starts at 75 at the very beginning; don't be alarmed)

I'm just tickled 'cos I got 21 (and no, that's not easy to get). Booyah! At least my prefrontal cortex is in decent working order; if only the rest of me was :)

This has got to be good for keeping your brain sharp, though. There's a fair bit more depth to it than I got to experience in a single session. If you're retiring, and crossword puzzles aren't your thing, this might do you very well.


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