BRAIN GAMES

lumosity picThere was quite a bit of interest in the small research study “Video Games Make Adults Smarter” that we wrote about last week. Though the study group was small, it jibed with our own personal observation of more than 30 years, that playing video games seemed to make people sharper.  It worked across all ages. Though it’s generally thought that computer games are mostly played by children, several marketing studies over many years have found that the most frequent game players are in their mid 20s to mid 30s.

Today, the most oft-cited brain games are from Lumosity.com, probably because they’re heavy advertisers. They have 52 million users in 160 countries and after a few free starter games you pay $64 a year to continue and have your progress tracked. One of the things Bob noticed immediately – and it has often been one of the advantages of having covered this category for many years – is that old games keep cropping up. Quite a few of them came up in Lumosity.

They have old hunting games, which came out decades ago and you can probably still find for free; Cabela, the sporting goods company comes to mind as one of the sponsors, and there were others You try shooting grouse or ducks, fishing for Bass, etc. The games require reasonable reflexes and you have to pay close attention. Web searches should turn these up again from other sources. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL provide lots of free games that require paying attention to what’s happening and reacting to it. And after all, that’s what developing your brain is all about.

Where do you find them? Go to the “start” button in Windows 7 or XP and scroll through till you see “games.” In Windows 8, tap the Windows flag on your computer and type “games.” “Xbox Games” come up, but they can be played on your computer. Click “games” at Yahoo.com or go to Games.com, a site run by AOL. You will quickly find over a hundred games, all of them free.

If we go back to Lumosity for a moment, the sheer size of their data from game-playing adults is being looked at for possible medical and behavioral correlations. With 52 million players in 160 countries, that’s a big data vein to be mined.

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