I snagged Nintendo's Brain Age tonight and I have to say it's still amazes me what they've done with the Nintendo DS. It's not so much as a gaming system now as it is an "interactivity platform". Within two minutes of starting up the game, I holding the DS like a book (comfortably!) and was being tested with color/name combinations and *speaking* the answer. Then two minutes later, I was being given quick math problems and scribbling the answer, which it understood. Really impressive. I mean, the concept of the games are simple, but the way they've made everything work is just intuitive and fun. Check out their mini site for videos and demos to see what I'm talking about - it just sucks you in right away.
Everything about Brain Age is "casual game" genius, with an added benefit of making you think, not making you mindlessly stack blocks or something. It's one of those games that anyone can pick up and start playing with - I can't wait to try the multi-player sometime. And the flash-card aspect of it is great. After a few tries I could feel my brain starting to pull up all my old math tables again out of their dusty corners and my times improved accordingly... It's amazing how something as simple as 8x7 could stump me as I was trying to write down the answer as quickly as possible. The Low To High section especially was pretty fun, it'll flash a series of numbers on the left and you have to duplicate the order on the right - it's amazing how fast your brain can both absorb and then forget info like that!
Keeping your brain active as a way of reducing senility is pretty common knowledge, so I won't go into the whole premise of the game. It's fun, and it makes you think in ways that video games normally don't have you, so I think it's great. But I have to say, Nintendo has *really* been pushing the game on the Science Channel non-stop in these odd commercials that look like infomercials for some sort of new wonder-drug - very strange. (I'm going to have a massive post at some point about How It's Made. I *love* that show!!). I actually wondered whether Brain Age would take off here in the U.S. - it seems to be doing well though, which is great. I was afraid of the ever-increasing American culture of ignorance and stupidity (think "red states") might hinder the game, but it looks like Nintendo as found the right place to advertise this stuff - I doubt they're spending many ad dollars on this product on the Fox network stations... ;-)
Such a neat game though. Man I wish Nintendo made software for mobile phones! :-)