Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!
Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? is also known as Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! [a] is an educational puzzle video game that is available in territories using the PAL format. Nintendo is responsible for both its creation and its publication on the Nintendo DS platform. According to statements made by Nintendo, the product in question is a kind of entertainment that was influenced by the research conducted in the field of neurology by Ryuta Kawashima, a professor at Tohoku University.
It was originally made available in Japan, and then it was made available in other countries such the United States of America, Europe, Australia, and South Korea. It was then followed by two redesigns and Brain Age Express for the Nintendo DSi’s DSiWare service, which combines popular problems from earlier titles as well as numerous new puzzles, and Brain Age: Concentration Training for the Nintendo 3DS. The most recent installment in the series, titled Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch, was initially made available for purchase in Japan on December 27, 2019, for the Nintendo Switch console.
Problems such as Stroop tests, mathematics questions, and Sudoku puzzles are all included in Brain Age. These puzzles are all intended to assist keep particular portions of the brain active by providing a mental challenge. It was featured in the Touch! Generations series of video games, which is a collection of games aimed at a gaming audience that is less dedicated to competitive play. In Brain Age, you solve many of the riddles by using the touch screen and the microphone. It has been a financial and critical success, having sold 19.01 million copies throughout the world (as of the 30th of September, 2015), and it has won several accolades for its quality and inventiveness.
In a manner analogous to that of the Nintendogs games and Animal Crossing: Wild World, Brain Age is intended to be played just briefly on a daily basis. The Nintendo DS is held on its side, with the touch screen facing either right (for right-handed people) or left (for left-handed people) depending on the user’s dominant hand. The player has the option of either writing the solution to the problem on the touch screen or speaking it into the microphone in order to progress through the game, which is handled solely by touch and speech. The participant is required to provide some details before they may start a Brain Age session. The first thing that the participants have to do is verify the current date and choose which hand they will write with. After that, the player enters their name and the date they were born.
At the end of each Brain Age Check puzzle, Training puzzle, Quick Play puzzle, and Sudoku puzzle, the player is shown how quickly they completed the puzzle, their speed (according to metaphors such as “bicycle speed” and “jet speed,” with “rocket speed” being the highest), and a tip for either improving the player’s brain or for improving their performance in the game. If the player’s time or score in the Brain Age Check or Training is high enough, it will appear on one of the Top Three lists for either the Brain Age Check or Training. The user’s personal best three solutions to a problem are displayed under “Top Three,” and the player has the option to compare their own best three solutions to those of other stored players. Only the player’s very first try at each day’s puzzle contributes to their overall score for that day.
In addition, the player receives stamps for each day that they successfully finish the riddles. When sufficient points are acquired, the game enables the player to access more features, such as additional problems in the Training mode, more challenging versions of the existing riddles, and the option to personalize their own stamps.
Professor Kawashima makes an appearance while the user navigates the options outside of the problems and gives them advice and motivation. Players in Brain Age can interact with one another in a variety of different ways, and the game allows for as many as four individual player profiles to be saved on a single DS game card. There are five different game modes, and they are as follows: Brain Age Check, Training, Quick Play, Download, and Sudoku.
It is possible that Kawashima will start a session by challenging the player to take part in a Picture-Drawing Quiz. This type of quiz challenges the player to sketch a person, location, or item from memory using the touch screen. After the player has completed all three steps, the game will evaluate his or her artwork by comparing it to an example that was designed by the makers of the game. Below the example’s picture, the player will be given guidance regarding what aspects of the drawing should be emphasized. If more than one player profile is preserved on the game card, then players will be able to compare their photographs from the day with those of other players.
Kawashima may also ask the player to take part in a Memory Quiz. This type of quiz demands the player to recollect a recent occurrence, such as what the player ate or the most intriguing item seen on television the day before. Kawashima may ask the player to take part in the Memory Quiz. A few days later, it will ask for the answer that was first provided, and then it will compare the answer that was given several days ago with the response that was given on the current day to test the player’s ability to recall information. The score does not take into account the player’s memory skills in any way. These challenges are designed to assist the gamer in developing their memory skills and become more knowledgeable overall. [source: missing citation]
“Check Your Brain’s Age”
There are four different gameplay modes available in this game: Brain Age Check, Training, Quick Play, and Sudoku. The player will have to complete three different puzzles in order to pass the Brain Age Check. The first one is often a Stroop test, although the player has the option to bypass it if they are not in a calm place or are unable to talk into the microphone for any other reason. At the conclusion of the Brain Age Check, the game provides the player with a report on their “brain age,” which is a theoretical evaluation of the age of their brain. The greater the player’s brain age, the lower their performance on the game was. According to Kawashima’s belief that the brain finishes developing at the age of 20, the highest possible score is 20, and the lowest conceivable score is 80. The Brain Age Check can be retaken by the player, however the player’s average brain age will only be recorded once each day.
Professor Kawashima will explain the first puzzle when the player has determined whether or not they are able to use the microphone. If the player indicated that they are able to communicate verbally, the game will start with a Stroop task. On the other hand, if the player is unable to use the microphone, the game will select a random challenge from the following options: Calculations X 20, Word Memory, Connect Maze, and Number Cruncher.
The game will randomly show one of the following words and colors at some point throughout the Stroop Test: blue, black, yellow, or red. The screen will display one of these words in a color that is completely at random, which may or may not correspond to the color that the word connotes. The player is given the instruction to not utter the actual word, but rather the color associated with it (e.g., if the word Yellow appears in blue letters, the correct answer is “blue” according to the Stroop effect for details).
The objective of Speed Counting, a game that requires players to talk but does not make use of a microphone, is for players to count from one to 120 as quickly as they can while maintaining clear articulation of the numbers.
The participant in Word Memory is provided with a list of thirty four-letter words. The game gives the participant two minutes to go over the list and commit as many of the words as they can to memory. When the timer goes off, the player is given three minutes to jot down as many words as they can in that span of time. If a player attempts to spell terms that were not on the list, they will not lose any points for doing so; nonetheless, the system will not recognize the words they have spelled. On the other hand, correctly spelling a word that is on the list will count as memorization, and the exam will even indicate to the players whether or not they have already written this word in case they choose to rewrite it.
In Connect Maze, players are presented with a series of circles that have been generated at random and contain both letters and numbers. The player is required to go according to the pattern A-1-B-2 till they reach M-13 as rapidly as they can.
The player is given 20 straightforward calculation problems to solve, some of which use addition, some of which involve subtraction, and some of which include multiplication. The issues are displayed on the top screen and scroll up as they are answered, regardless of whether the answer is correct or incorrect; the touch screen is used to type out the solution. This exam can also be found in the training part of the website.
The Number Cruncher game is a mental agility game that displays several numbers that differ in their appearance and how they behave on the screen. Above each number is a question that the player needs to answer as quickly as they can, such as “how many numbers are blue?” or “how many numbers are moving?” The game is called “Number Cruncher.”
The Training mode offers the player the opportunity to participate in a number of different training regimens, all but one of which are exclusive to the Training mode. After the player has finished at least one of Kawashima’s programs, he or she will receive a stamp from Kawashima, which Kawashima will then place on the current date. The size of the stamp will increase if the player successfully completes at least three different programs. After the player has accumulated a predetermined amount of stamps, Kawashima will present them with an extra program, difficulty setting, or feature under the Options menu. Although the user can play each program an unlimited number of times, only their very first attempt at each problem each day will be factored into the graph that tracks their progress through the day.
Within the Training mode, there are nine different training programs:
The result of your calculations is less than 20, which is the same as the result of the Brain Age Check. Exercise for mental agility consisting of a total of 20 problems in the form of simple calculations, such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication.
Calculations x 100 is equivalent to Calculations x 20, despite the fact that there are 100 questions this time around rather than 20. There is a challenging mode that includes carrying out division operations.
Reading Aloud is a minigame in which the player is presented with a passage from a well-known work of fiction, such as “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” or “Little Women,” and asked to determine how quickly they can read the passage either out loud or with their voice muted. Pressing the Next button allows the player to make their way through the extract all the way up until the point when it ends. If the player presses Next too rapidly, the software will consider this to be cheating, and it will count the action as though it had not been completed.
Starting at the bottom, the game tells you to memorize various numbers that are displayed in boxes. At first, the boxes display no numbers, but once you count to three, the numbers start to appear one at a time. After the timer runs out, the players need to recall the numbers in the order of lowest to highest and click the appropriate box. A mistake will be recorded if the players are unable to recall the numbers in the proper order. The number of boxes will either rise or decrease depending on whether the player gets the question right or wrong. This means that the game has an adjustable difficulty ranging from a minimum of 4 boxes to a maximum of 16 boxes.
The top screen of Syllable Count displays a series of sentences in rapid succession, and the player is tasked with tapping the appropriate number of syllables on the touch screen when each phrase is displayed.
The top screen of Head Count always displays an unpredictable amount of persons (e.g. 4). After a brief pause during which the player is given the opportunity to determine how many individuals are present, a house will eventually collapse on top of them. The player needs to keep a close eye on the screen since the individuals who are currently inside the home will eventually depart and be replaced by other ones. This will stop happening at some point, and then the game will ask the player to record the current population of the house on a piece of paper. As the player advances farther into the game, the difficulty of the problem will increase. In addition, there is a more difficult option that includes the addition of individuals going into and out of the chimney.
Calculations that are presented in a tier-based manner similar to Pascal’s triangle and must be solved by the player. Most of the time, these calculations involve addition or subtraction; however, they may on occasion incorporate sign rules such as -(-3)=3. In addition to the standard gameplay, there is also a difficult level with an additional tier.
Time Lapse presents the player with the challenge of determining the amount of time that has elapsed between two analog clocks (for example, one that reads 2:45 and one that reads 7:30), with the correct answer in this example being 4 hours and 45 minutes.
Voice Calculation is a game that is analogous to the problems found in Calculations. On the other hand, in order to solve this puzzle, the player will need to say the solution out loud, exactly like the Stroop Test.
Play it Quickly
Everyone, regardless of whether they have a saved file or not, has the ability to play Quick Play. Quick Play gives the user the opportunity to play three different game modes: Quick Brain Age Check, Quick Training, and Quick Sudoku. However, each of these game modes only gives the player the opportunity to attempt one of the easier problems in that mode. The player is only able to play the Stroop test if they choose to use Quick Brain Age Check. Within the Quick Training mode of the game, the player is only given the option to play Calculations 20. In Quick Sudoku, which is only offered to players in North America, Europe, and South Korea, the user is restricted to playing only the simplest Sudoku problem that is currently available. At the conclusion of each session, the participant’s brain age or time will be determined, and Kawashima will provide a sneak peek of the whole game.
By utilizing the DS Download Play function, a player who has a copy of Brain Age is able to transfer specific game data to other Nintendo DS systems. They have the option of downloading Quick Play mode on this player’s Nintendo DS or Calculations 30, a variant of the previous Calculation problems that supports participation from up to sixteen individuals. This mode is not supported in the version that is available on the Wii U Virtual Console.
Check out some related reading: Sudoku and Brain Age (series) § Sudoku
This game comes with a Sudoku mode in the North American, European, Australian, and Korean versions. Within this mode, there are more than one hundred puzzles that may be played in one of three distinct difficulty levels: beginner, intermediate, or advanced. A 9 by 9 grid with a number in each individual square is required to play the game of Sudoku. There are some of these numerals that can be seen, but there are others that cannot. The goal of the game is to determine the missing numbers by utilizing the numbers that are now available as clues. There are nine squares in each row, column, and 3×3 grid, and they all need to include every number from 1 to 9 properly.
Efficiency in scientific research
The game comes highly recommended by neurologists as a means of warding off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
 Due to the fact that they are in the entertainment industry, Nintendo of America has said that they would not accept any scientific claims that have been made on the advantages of the game.
One research included 600 students from Scotland, split into two groups: one group of students played “Brain Age” for twenty minutes before each class for nine weeks, while the other group of students served as a control and studied regularly. Both at the beginning and the end of the course, the pupils were given an exam. In the end, the group who participated in Brain Age saw a 50 percent improvement in their exam results. The amount of time needed to finish the tests decreased by five minutes in the Brain Age group, and this improvement was twice as large as that shown in the control group.
There is no evidence to support the claims that Brain Age enhances cognitive function more than other methods of exercising one’s brain, according to the findings of another study that involved 67 ten-year-olds.
[source: missing citation] However, the user must be at least twenty years old in order for the game to provide accurate readings of their brain age, as stated in the game. The following was stated by Alain Lieury, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Rennes in France: “The Nintendo DS is a crowning achievement in gaming technology. It works well enough as a game. But to assert that this is some kind of scientific investigation is just charlatanism “. The advantages of Brain Age were equaled or exceeded by activities such as reading, assisting youngsters with their homework, playing Scrabble or Sudoku, or watching documentaries. The kids were divided up into four different groups. The first two finished a seven-week memory course on a Nintendo DS, while the third worked on puzzles using pencils and paper, and the fourth attended school as they normally would. The results of memory tests on youngsters who played Brain Age did not demonstrate any substantial improvement, according to the researchers who conducted the tests. They did do 19 percent better in mathematics, but so did the group who used pencil and paper, and the fourth group performed 18 percent better than the first three. The group that used pencil and paper had a 33 percent improvement in their memorization, whereas the Brain Age group had a 17 percent decrease in their performance. Both the pencil-and-paper group and the Brain Age group had an improvement of ten percent in their reasoning test scores. The students who were not given any training made a 20% improvement.
It has also been suggested that one can attain the same results of “keeping the brain sharp” by engaging in activities such as playing Tetris, Sudoku, or conversing with friends.
The effect of playing a brain training game on older people was investigated in a research that took place in Sendai city, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, between March and August of 2010. The study utilized a blinding procedure on both participants and observers. The findings indicated that playing Brain Age for a period of four weeks might lead to improvements in cognitive abilities (executive functions and processing speed) in people of advanced age.
Nintendo was seeking for something fresh to produce that they could market toward both veteran players and newcomers to the gaming world. During one of the sessions, the Chief Financial Officer of Nintendo’s Japanese branch proposed that they do an analysis of a recently published book with the intriguing subtitle Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain. This book was very well received in Japan at the time. The meeting between Professor Ryuta Kawashima, the author of the book, and Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, was arranged by Satoru Iwata.
Iwata and Professor Kawashima were both too busy to meet one another under regular circumstances; nonetheless, they came to an agreement that they would meet for one hour during the introduction of the Nintendo DS. The initial gathering evolved into a brainstorming session that went on for a total of three hours, during which Professor Kawashima provided an overview of the fundamentals of his research. Iwata charged a group of nine game developers with the task of creating the game and ensuring that it was ready for demonstration within a period of ninety days.
The initial response from retailers was one of concern regarding the new title’s ability to sell, and this was the initial reaction. The game was played for fifteen minutes by the most influential merchants in Japan before being given back to them. In the end, Nintendo was successful in securing approximately 70,000 orders for the initial shipment, a number that was far more than most people had anticipated. In contrast, the sequel had more than 850 thousand pre-orders made before it ever went on sale.
The sales projections for Brain Age turned out to be optimistic. In its first month of release, May 2005, the game sold around 43,000 copies, which is a respectable amount for an instructional product. Although the majority of video game titles only remain in the weekly top ten list of games in Japan for a few of weeks at a time, Brain Age has managed to remain among the most sold games for a total of 34 weeks as of January 2006. (except three weeks). Only in Japan, as of the 11th of June in 2006, Brain Age has sold a total of 2,322,970 copies. In 2008, it was the 94th best-selling game in Japan, and it sold a total of 140,992 copies; during its career, it has sold a total of 3,750,890. Brain Age became the fifteenth most popular video game title in the United States during the month of May in terms of units sold during its first three weeks on sale in North America, where it had been released. The game sold a total of 120,000 copies. Brain Age was met with widespread praise in Europe, where it debuted at number one on the sales list for the Nintendo DS, at number four on the chart for all platforms,[ and where it moved more than 500,000 copies in a little more than two months. As of the 22nd of January, 2007, Brain Age has already sold more than 2 million copies in Europe. As of the 30th of October in 2007, more than one million copies of Brain Age have been sold in the United Kingdom. It was the tenth best-selling Nintendo DS game in the United States during the month of December in 2008. As of the 30th of September in 2015, Brain Age’s total sales around the globe amounted to 19.01 million.
The game was met with generally favorable reviews in the Western market, despite the fact that some reviewers criticized the game for having inconsistently weak voice and handwriting recognition.
Due to the innovative nature of the game’s design, it was awarded the EIEF06 Edge Award from Edge magazine.
[source: missing citation] The Interactive Achievement Awards presented Brain Age with the trophy for “handheld game of the year” in 2007. Additionally, the game has been covered by a variety of media outlets throughout the world, such as newspapers and television channels in a variety of nations, such as the United States (Time magazine and Discovery Channel, as well as Australia (featured in Seven News). The game was ranked fifth on Wired’s list of “The 15 Most Influential Games of the Decade” because it “bucked the dominant trends” and “ushered in the era of games that are (supposedly) good for you, like Wii Fit.” Wired came to this conclusion because the game “bucked the dominant trends” and “ushered in the era of games that are (supposedly) good for you.”
Publication on a global scale
As a result of Brain Age’s successful sales figures and favorable reception in Japan, the game was subsequently distributed in a number of other countries around the world. The title of the game in the North American market is Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day. It was published on April 17, 2006, and it had 108 puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty that were based on the popular Sudoku game. At the Game Developers Conference in 2006, Nintendo distributed copies of the North American edition of Brain Age to attendees. Additionally, they provided complimentary retail copies to select members of the Nintendo NSider Forums community. The copies were delivered to both parties in advance of the book’s official release date. Additionally, some retailers have been offering it as a free bonus item when customers buy a Nintendo DS Lite from them.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the video game was distributed under the title Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? This version, like the American version, also includes the puzzle known as Sudoku. One cartridge stores all three elements of the audio recording. Chris Tarrant appeared in the company’s earliest television commercials to air in the UK. Commercials for the Brain Age series that are now airing in Europe contain appearances from Nicole Kidman, Ronan Keating, and Patrick Stewart.
An advertising campaign was conducted by Nintendo Australia to coincide with the release of the game in Australia. Between the dates of June 15 and July 17, 2006, Nintendo Australia made a public announcement that the company will contribute one dollar to Alzheimer’s Australia for every copy of the Brain Age video game that was sold.
Along with English Training: Have Fun Improving Your Skills!, it was one of the launch titles for the DS Lite in South Korea. The game in question was one of the titles.