What is it that draws us to games like Brain Age and Big Brain Academy? Much the same can be said for “thinking puzzles” like Sudoku games. They are designed to make us think, which for many of us is a challenge in itself.
Our rusty brains
We’re not stupid, mind you, but we’re “out of practice.” These games are a thrill for some adults to play because it challenges them in ways they’ve not been challenged in years. Most of us have managed to graduate from the third grade and excel up to the twelfth-grade years and beyond. How often do we do basic multiplication or sort through coins to see how fast we can make fifty cents with small change?
Habits that keep our brain smart
Day to day, we develop habits and focus on a particular area of mental challenges, according to myneuroworld.com. Some of us may use small pieces of our algebra pastor geometry for software development, graphic arts or construction. Others may use advanced trig to build 18th century furniture or mechanical tool design. And, there are those select few that found a niche in their basic English classes to set up a blog and go to town.
Few of us, however, have found a complete use for the deep learning we did in our younger years.
This doesn’t discount the importance of learning in our youth! We’ve come to specialize in the years and things we don’t use fade away into the depths of our memory. They’re still back there someplace; we just have to concentrate to recall them. At the core, this method of recollection and retraining is a very fun activity.
The proof is in the success (or creation) of such shows as “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” Where Jeff Foxworthy shows many contestants that they are, in fact, not as smart as a fifth grader. It’s a trick really; common sense tells you things they’ve learned in the last six months are going to be easier to recall than things we learned fifteen or more years ago!
Training the brain to RECALL
We’re not “training” our brain to do anything new; we’re teaching ourselves to recall information we once relied on in our everyday grade school life. Memorizing our “times tables” was a priority back in the day and was a chore, to say the least. Now, recalling those lessons in a game like Brain Age becomes fun and meaningful adult brain training! Perhaps it’s fun because it remembers the innocents of our youth or maybe, as humans, we’re just looking for a challenge… an easy challenge.
It’s like riding a bike! Well, not really. Unless you consider picking up a bike after fifteen years and smashing your face on the pavement a few dozen times before you remember. Very few folks will have a brain age score of 20 the very first time they pick up Brain Age.
We use these magic powers in our brain each day to some degree, but we hardly consider them of entertainment value. It’s the entertainment value that we’ve found so appealing. Why else would Nintendo release Brain Age 2 for the Nintendo DS? Can you imagine what you would have said if, fifteen years ago, you were sitting in fifth grade and someone said: “you’ll be playing this in a video game someday.”
Have you ever said to yourself or a friend, “I wish I paid more attention in school”? Sure you have! It seems a lot of us have matured since then and feel we’d devote more attention now than we did as a kid. Odd how things work.