Games That Promote a Healthier, Smarter You

Games That Promote a Healthier, Smarter You

Jason Rodway
Oct 28, 2011

As children we were warned of excessive TV, loud music and video games rotting our brains. But in our defense every coin has its flip side. Some of the more intense games out there have been proven to improve hand eye coordination and leadership skills. Then there are those games that challenge our brains while offering entertainment value. Don't believe me? Take a look.

Logic Machines: Make the process of learning a rewarding game and training the brain often doesn't feel like a task, coming more naturally. That's the premise behind puzzle games like, Logic Machines. Comprised of cogs, wheels, pulleys, and cranks, players are challenged to solve 85 puzzles of varying difficulty. A great brain training device for those looking to improve in the category of logic and physics.

The oldie but goodie, gold standard of puzzle games. Tetris' charm and appeal stems from its simplicity, with the simple notion of organizing falling tetrominos that somehow taps into our desire for order and organization. On top of it being fun, research done by Dr. Richard Haier has found playing Tetris on a regular basis can increase fundamental learning skills, language and quick decision making. Sounds like half an hour of Tetris every day is the equivalent of a treadmill for the brain.

Rhythm Games
Guitar Hero and music games were all the rage just a few years ago and now is available in a variety of shapes and genres. The relationship between the brain and music is attested to a strong link to the left side of the brains, tapping into the same segments of the brain where language and communication is handled. So while you're tapping away on a plastic guitar, your brain is making connections in a fashion similar to memorizing letters as a child or learning how read music.

Brain Age / Brain ExerciseThe DS was (and still is) a revolutionary system which changed the face of portable gaming, opening up the market to casual gamers. Titles like Cooking Mama and Brain Age based many of their gaming models on the research of Dr. Kawashima, a proponent of using games for cognitive strengthening. Math, coherence, and memory are all put under the microscope to expose weakness and strengths and pushes each lightly to improve brain functionality.

And if you've ditched your portable gaming device days since "growing up", there's also Namco Bandai's iOS version, titled More Brain Exercise with Dr. Kawashima HD. It has the same effects with a different flavor and overall has the same spirit of its elder brother.

Although there are many games such as RPGs (Role Playing Games) or strategy games which makes use of numbers, statistics and planning, their positive effects are more involved and buried beneath a grand learning curve. The following are quick to get into and accessible from many platforms. An investment of time in those small pockets can be used towards brain work outs and keeping the mind fresh.

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