been playing brain age for quite a while now, and brain age 2 since it came out (buying games as soon as they come out?? what is this world coming to??). i suppose i got the first game as much to see what all the fuss was about as the allure of self-improvement, but i was pleasantly surprised to find that despite its simple presentation and simple tasks the original game is thoroughly addictive and entertaining. whether or not it actually staves off alzheimer’s is one thing, but i enjoyed pretty much every section of the game, had virtually no problems with either the voice or the handwriting recognition (unless i was being sloppy), and found myself fitting at least a quick session into every day for more than a couple of months without getting sick of it.
unfortunately, the same cannot be said of its sequel. a lot of people seem to like the difference in the activities with less emphasis on math overall. it took me a while to pinpoint what i preferred about the original. what it boils down to is the fact that the activities in the sequel are much less intense, much less about racing against the clock. instead, a lot of the games, like player piano, word scramble, and word blend, take a significant amount of time to complete. one of the things i like about the original is that even if i wanted to go through all of the exercises in one sitting it wouldn’t take me that long, but going through all the exercises in brain age 2 always seems like a dragged-out affair to me.
despite my less than ecstatic reaction to brain age 2 i’ve still found myself playing both games every day. having gone through all 60 of the reading aloud selections in brain age (complete list here), i’ll prob. stick with brain age 2 for a while before switching back to brain age. it’ll be interesting to see how long i’ll still be playing these two games and whether i’ll still be playing them when the inevitable release of the third installment comes around. i’ll def. still be keeping them on hand to finish working my way through all the sudoku puzzles. once you do a sudoku with the brain age interface you’ll never be able to go back to pen and paper. i don’t know why people complain that there’s only a finite number of sudoku puzzles. after you’ve gone through them all, what are the chances that you’ll remember anything about the first one you did? anyway, here are some brainy links:
– interesting interview with the localization team (which includes an easter egg i’d missed even after having played it for ages)
– recap at gamespot.com of a media briefing more than a year ago in which they include a graph showing brain age’s startling longevity. amazingly enough the game still continues to be a best-seller.
– review at IGN
– brain age entry at wikipedia
– brain age 2 entry at wikipedia
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