Brain Training, or Brain Age as it’s known in the USA, has been around a very long time now, and is almost certainly growing dust in households worldwide. Released on the 9th of June over here in the UK, I only just managed to stir up the want for my own cartridge within myself recently, and it’s been rather hard to put down in recent days. I guess I have Todd and his Brain Age antics to blame for that.
Evaluating it as a game… There’s precious little content there, I have to say. There are a few tasks, some sudoku puzzles and the Brain Age testing, and that’s really it. However, the strong point of the game, as I see it, is the replay value, which only exists because the kind of people who buy this game want to improve themselves. Playing the game again and again to raise your score is the reason why classics such as Galaga, Pac-Man and Breakout exist, and in so many forms, and to me it appears that Brain Training is already going in that direction.
Currently, Big Brain Acadamy is already released in the United Kingdom, and Brain Training 2 has been out in Japan since the end of last year. Sega has jumped on the bandwagon with a competitor that already has multiple iterations, plus there are numourous other “Self-Improvement” games for the Nintendo DS and to a lesser extent, the PSP. In all honesty, I doubt how much Brain Training actually helps the player to advance their brain power, no matter how much Dr Kawashimas grimacing face tells me that I’m boosting my pre-Cortex number-crunching capabilties, or whatever medical jargon has been dragged out and given a good flogging. I suspect the real reason he’s always smiling in the game is because he’s found the holy grail; a veritable vein of money just waiting to be exploited.
Combine the debatable self-help capabilities of the game, the educational value (The ability of the game to advance a young child mentally isn’t as debatable as it is for older individuals) and the cheap price point and costs to develop means that it’s most likely another workhorse for Nintendo to exploit alongside their ever familar ranks of characters that all seem to be constantly grining like they’ve just taken six shots of botox to the face.
However, whilst I may get annoyed at Nintendo because of this, I do still like to play the game. It is enjoyable, well presented and has a very lengthy lifespan. I’m rather annoyed that it’s taken me so long to buy the game, but I would still recomend anyone interested in a game where you only have to spend five or ten minutes a day to get somewhere to buy it. It’s a brilliant Short Attention Gamer game, and I’m actually interested in buying Big Brain Acadamy over the likes of Metroid Prime Hunters…