My Brain Age

Just jumped on the Brain Age train so late in the game thanks to the great Nintendo DS Lite shortage. Brain Age is probably the only game I’m interested in playing on the DS right now aside from Tetris. Two things stand out with Brain Age: my brain is a aging wasteland and the disembodied head is a real nut case (seriously).

Brain Age takes you on a variety of adventures that concentrate on working your short-term memory. Prof. Kawashima, the model for the disembodied head, is famous in Japan for his research of the neo cortex and it’s importance in keeping our minds healthy. His basic finding was that simple arithmetic stimulates the brain in far reaching ways than previously thought. His original intent was to show that video games provide good mental stimulation as compared to boring, simple calculation tasks in order to extract funding from video game companies (to counter the negative press against video games). The surprise came when he examined the brain scans and found that simple calculations actually stimulate high order brain functions much more than video games and more complex calculation problems. This created a large sensation in Japan with their aging population and provided a catalyst for “brain drills” and books.

So now prof. Kawashima comes back full circle in a video game!

I’ve been playing it a lot these couple of days. My brain age was everything between 50 and 30 so far and gradually improving. The age of 20 is considered the peak of mental fitness but I certainly don’t recall being that smart. Wasted youth I suppose.

I wonder how long it’ll take to get to the promised land.