Nintendo has released a new brain puzzle game called Brain Age for the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system. Containing numerous mentally challenging puzzles that require speaking, writing and mental calculation, Brain Age is meant to exercise the mind, much like going to a fitness club exercises your muscles.
The game is based on the research of neuroscientist Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, who found that certain mental exercises can liven up the dormant areas of the brain and keep you smart, Nintendo said. Players try the puzzles and are then given the approximate age of their brain. The sometimes shocking results are saved and charted, allowing people to compare with their friends.
Brain Age has been available in Japan for a few years. Back in March, Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata gave a keynote speech at the Game Developers Conference and handed out several thousand copies of the game for everyone in the audience. We managed to grab a copy and can say that Brain Age uses the handwriting and speech recognition capabilities of the Nintendo DS well.
The Stroop Test is one of the puzzles in Brain Age and requires players to say the color of the words that pop up on the screen. While it sounds easy, it’s actually quite hard because the text of the word is “BLUE,” while the color could be red. Players who quickly says the correct color are given a lower brain age. Ideally, players are aiming for an age that is lower than their chronological age.
In addition to the Stroop test, several other puzzles are included. One requires the player to read a story as quickly as possible without slurring the words. Another has the player solve multiplication, addition and subtraction problems quickly by writing the answer on the right side of the Nintendo DS. Usually the handwriting recognition gets the numbers correct, but there are some instances where the Nintendo DS will mix up a written 8 with a zero.
Brain Age for the Nintendo DS has been available in Japan for several years and has sold millions of copies. The game is currently selling in the U.S. for $20.