Nintendo Lets You Beat your Children
"Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day" for the Nintendo DS is a clever collection of puzzles and tests that "is designed to keep people's minds active with fun mental workouts that incorporate the user-friendly voice-command and touch-screen capabilities of Nintendo DS." It's difficult enough for me to get a physical workout. A mental workout seems even less likely.
But, actually, I've had the chance to play "Brain Age" several times now, and I must say that it's pretty addictive. It includes challenges such as memorizing words, counting and tracking people as they enter and exit a house, drawing lines to connect letters and numbers in alphabetical and numeric order, rapid-fire simple math, sudoku, and a cool test that makes you say the color of the letters making up a word for a different color. When all is said and done, the system gives you a "brain age" that's not meant to humiliate you (although it did in my case) but assist in your quest for better brain functioning.
The game is the U.S. version (simplified, no doubt, for us stupid Americans) of brain-training software that's already sold more than 2 million copies in Japan.
Quite frankly, blinded by Sony's glitzy PSP, I had ignored Nintendo's DS as a mere toy. "Brain Age", though, has opened my mind as to how sophisticated the little dual-screen device is. Voice and handwriting recognition? Touchscreen capability? Amazing. If it didn't have that funky kid's-only cosmetic design, I'd say even aging baby boomers (who Nintendo claims began turning 60 in January of this year) would want one. With "Brain Age" available, they're going to have to buy one "for the grand kids" - but keep it at their house so "it's always here when you come to visit."
Nintendo says the game cartridge will sell for "as low as $20".
Go ahead. Get it. Play it. Feel those little grey cells burn...