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Brain Games Mythology Compared to What Really Improves Cognitive Health

Many people have been asking us recently about whether we all have a "Brain Age" and how we can reduce our "brain ages". This concept is a myth, fueled by the (very fun) Nintendo game and a recent PBS campaign promoting a program produced by Posit Science.

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(nintendo)

The concept of having a "brain age" is, itself, profoundly unscientific, despite the radio ads for the PBS program titled Brain Fitness Program, where listeners of all ages get the impression (as many friends and colleagues have reported) that, should they buy the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program, they can expect their brains "rejuvenated" by 10 years. This, I hear often, must be true, coming from PBS.

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(youtube)

Unfortunately, it isn't. And it isn't because the claim is founded on the same faulty premise of having a "brain age".

What is going on?

First, the good news. Today we know today that the brain retains lifelong plasticity (the ability to change itself through experience). Aging does not mean automatic decline.
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(videogamecountdown)

Furthermore, we know that a variety of lifestyle factors, including physical and mental exercise, can influence how our mental abilities evolve as we age. We can delay or slow down age-related decline. Not only that, we can improve our abilities, and a number of computer-based programs have shown how they can help specific groups of people train and enhance specific cognitive skills.

Now, what is important to recognize is that there is not one overall "brain age". We can view our brain functions or cognitive abilities as a variety of skills, some more perception-related, some more memory-related, some more language-related, some more visual, some more abstract-thinking and planning oriented. All science-based brain fitness products in the market today target specific cognitive skills. The research that has been published shows how specific brain functions can be improved. But there is no general "brain age" that can be measured or trained in a meaningful way.

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(nintendoworldreport)

Let's analyze the PBS Posit Science-related message: you can rejuvenate your brain by 10 years. What would this mean, were it to be true? perhaps that ALL cognitive abilities would go back to where they were 10 years before. and that this would happen for individuals of all ages: in our 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and so on. It would also mean that, given that rejuvenated "brain age", our risk of developing Alzheimer's symptoms would be adjusted to reflect our "new" brain age. And that the evolution of our cognitive abilities over the rest of our lives would reflect our new-found "brain age".

Has this been shown?

Unfortunately, not. The "10 years" claim seems based on one published study, and several unpublished ones, where individuals with an average age of around 70 years take on a very intense auditory processing training program that enables them to improve related auditory cognitive skills by a significant percentage. Whereby, on average, and on those specific skills, they reach a level comparable to people 60 years old.

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(gampressure)

But this doesn't say anything about other cognitive skills. Or Alzheimer's related risks. Or the cognitive trajectories that will follow.

Just think about this: if, by attending an intensive tennis camp, you were able to serve at a level comparable to people 10 years younger than your age...would you say that your body is now 10 years younger? Probably not. You'd say that now you play tennis better. Which is a significant benefit in itself if that's what you are after.

Recent studies have shown a tremendous variability in how well people age and how, to a large extent, our actions influence our rate of brain improvement and/or decline. The earlier we begin the better. And it is never too late.

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(twitter)

What can we do to maintain our brain? Focus on four pillars of brain health: physical exercise, a balanced diet, stress management, and brain exercise. Stress management is important since stress has been shown to actually kill neurons and reduce the rate of creation of new ones. Brain exercises range from low-tech (i.e. meditation, mastering new complex skills, lifelong learning and engagement) to high-tech (i.e. using the growing number of brain fitness software programs).

In summary, the great news is that there are more tools available than ever before to assess and train a variety of cognitive skills, in what is still today a very small, but growing market. Nintendo, Posit Science, and others are offering valuable products and services.

The bad news (is this really news?) is that we shouldn't be expecting magic pills and that "brain age" is a fiction.

In case you wonder...I do have and enjoy my copy Nintendo Brain Age, and appreciate it as a stimulating game. I simply don't outsource my brain fitness to Dr. Kawashima...

Nintendo Does Sony, Better than Sony

Fans of game consoles from the golden era of TV game appliances have been in for a treat over the past couple of years, and a slew of official reboots of the stars of the past have reached the market. These so-called “classic” consoles closely follow the styling of the originals, but under the hood they pack modern hardware running an emulator to play a selection of games from ROM. Since with a bit of hacking they can thus run more than just the supplied emulator, people have managed to use them to emulator completely different consoles. Even then, it’s unexpected to find that a PlayStation emulator on a Super Nintendo Classic runs PlayStation games better than the same emulator built in to Sony’s own PlayStation Classic console.


(hackaday)

The feat from [8 Bit Flashback] is achieved despite both machines having near-identical hardware specifications based upon the Allwinner R16 system-on-chip. The Nintendo provides smoother action and more responsive controls, making for a far superior gaming experience. How is this achieved? The most significant difference is that the SNES Classic had the RetroArch front end installed upon it, which may have lent some optimisations and tweaks to make the system more efficient... Read more here

Top 10 Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2018

2018 had many great games for the Nintendo Switch, but a few stood out as outstanding!  

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(roowsi)

Here is the top 10 games for the Nintendo Switch for 2018.

Mario is Missing Super Nintendo Review

A hidden educational gem in the Mario series was released in 1993. Mario Is Missing is a game staring Luigi turning the tables on the usual Mario series trope of Mario rescuing Princess Peach. This time Mario has fallen into a trap at Bowser's castle and Luigi must travel the world to find him.

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(youtubegaming)

Many people overlooked this game, but it's a fun little diversion if you want to learn interesting facts about the world while saving the usual hero. Yoshi makes a great guest appearance as your trusty steed throughout your worldly travels.

Each level of Bowser's castle contains five doors to different parts of the world where Luigi must find pieces of famous landmarks to take pictures of their completed exterior. To collect the famous missing pieces Luigi must kill koopa troopas wandering around the map. Warp pipes are in every level, as are five citizens that will give you hints as to where you are in the world.

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(ostrog)

Perhaps the best thing about the entire game is the music for each world. The music for different parts of the world is reflected in the ethnic changes in the tunes that play while in that level. In particular the China and Africa tunes are some of the best Mario music heard before.

The ending is slightly anticlimactic, but the game as a whole is a short, fun romp through a world of exploration and discovery. Not the greatest game in the world, but a lost gem that completely deserves a play from every retro gamer that has any self respect. If only to play every game in the Mario series, and this is one of the most unique entries in the entire catalog.

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(warosu)

One thing about this game is that Luigi can never get hurt, the koopas do no damage and neither do the three bosses of the game. In this way Mario Is Missing was perhaps meant for children, but any retro gamer would be put to shame if they didn't experience at least a few worlds of this game and expand their intelligence while doing so.

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(gamefaqs)

The time spent playing this game can be a very good companion learning tool for small children, but it is also a great learning experience for adults as well. Many aptitude tests show that people in any age range need to learn more geography and world culture as a whole. With the way that the global marketplace has expanded over the years it is key to know exactly where certain countries are. Mario Is Missing could be a helpful tool in this regard as well as being a traditional Mario game and a bit of a twist one at that.

My time with this game really made me want to dive into more geography studies as well as find more hidden gems in the retro gaming library available to rediscover.

Another 7 Great Wii Games

Nintendo Wii is definitely one of the most successful video game consoles ever made. The games are really great and once they were launched they quickly turned into best sellers. The advantage of these games is that they incorporate motion and they bring the family together. There are both single player modes and multiplayer modes.

Wii Fit Plus
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(flickr)

One of the games that sold best is the Wii Fit Plus. This game gives you the possibility to highly customize the background and to do a great workout. You can select 20, 30 or even 40 minute workouts, depending on what you like. The board and the other accessories are helping you create a very realistic mode of gameplay. The typical workout is replaced by a very interesting experience and there are many accessories that you can easily use.

New Super Mario Bros Wii
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(youtube)

You can also try the Super Mario Brothers game. This one has lovely characters and you can play with up to 3 players each time. The features will really draw you into the action and shaking the remote will soon become second nature to you.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
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(nintendo)

Another great game that you may like is The Legend of Zelda - Spirit Tracks. The game has a character named Link that solves missions and many puzzles. A phantom is its company and there are many puzzles to be solved. Kids of all ages seem to like this game a lot.

Wii Sports Resort
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(nintendo)

Wii Sports Resort offers you the ability to play a sport but in a very funny way. You can play different water sports and even archery. The console has an accelerometer and you will have the sense of actually being there, in the resort.

Cabela's Big Game Hunter
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(youtube)

Cabelas Big Game Hunter is for those people that like to hunt. You can kill various animals and you can do it on different continents. You will have harsh or mild weather conditions and you will feel like you are really in danger.

My Sims Agents
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(theletsplayarchive)

My Sims Agents is a game that will impress you. People that like The Sims, will love to own one of these. The game allows you to solve some mysteries and go through a wild adventure.

Spongebob Truth or Square
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(amazon)

One last game that you must not miss is the Square or the SpongeBob-Truth game. This has a lot of typical games and the storyline is fabulous. Puzzle solving is one of the interesting things in this game.

Luigi's Mansion Nintendo Gamecube Review

An amazing, popular and globally-played adventure plus action game was released first in Japan in the year 2001 which was followed by the release in North America and Europe in 2001 and 2002 respectively. It was published by Nintendo and soon gained much popularity within a few time of release.

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(nintendo)

If you’re into amazing and exciting type of game, Luigi’s Mansion is the game for you. It is adventure-filled released by Nintendo for its Nintendo Gamecube. Moreover, this is actually the first ever Mario game to be delivered for Nintendo Gamecube. In this game, Luigi is the protagonist in place of Mario. This is just one of the games which will surely captivate the hearts of many players out there. Players will absolutely find themselves so keen once again with this unique and exciting game experience.

Luigi’s’ Mansion is set in a spooky mansion when he won in a competition which he actually did not join in. Afterwards, he talked to his brother and requested him to meet him so they can celebrate his triumph together. Luigi is looking for his brother named Mario who arrived to the ghostly mansion earlier than expected. Mario was missing. For Luigi to possibly find his missing brother, Elvin Gadd the old professor armed Luigi with a vacuum cleaner known as "Poltergust 3000" in order for him to bust the ghosts and equipped him with a device known as the "Game Boy Horror" which is useful to possibly get in touch with Professor Gadd. This device is also used as a map as well as to easily determine ghosts.

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(youtube)

In addition, it is not surprising that Luigi’s Mansion has been chosen as one of the favorite games of most players these days. This game is undoubtedly well-received by countless players around the globe despite its short length. As matter of fact, it was able to sold more than 2.5 million copies and it is hailed as the fifth chart-topping Nintendo Game Cube in USA.

Luigi’s Mansion also obtained the player’s choice title and its sequel known as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was released and once again captivated the interests of many players worldwide. Moreover, short-game based on the sequel was disclosed to be included in the Wii U launch title; Nintendo Land, in the role of Luigi's Ghost Mansion.

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(the-well-red-mage)

Meanwhile, Luigi’s Mansion 2 is certainly loaded with exciting and wide variety of game experience for everyone. Just like the first one, it is certified interesting and worth playing for. More and more players get addicted to games which give them the chance to beat ghosts in a supernatural mansion setting. This game is even made more exciting and thrilling because there are three mansions for a player to encounter and more ghosts to destroy.

Best After-Christmas Nintendo Deals

Gamestop: Buy 2 Get 1 Free All Preowned Consoles and Games

(gamestop)

Gamestop has a sale right now featuring a buy two get one free on all preowned consoles games.  You can get 3 Nintendo Switch games for the price of 2, or you could get a Nintendo Switch and 2 Nintendo 3DS's and sell the last 3DS.  The possibilities are limitless!


Walmart: Nintendo Switch Console and Your Choice of Nintendo Labo Kit $339.98

(walmart)

If you buy a Nintendo Switch console at Walmart, you get to choose a Nintendo Labo kit to get for free.  The bundle costs $339.98.


Target: Nintendo NES Classic Mini Console $59.99

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(nintendo.uk)

For a limited time the Nintendo NES Classic Mini is on sale at Target for $59.99.


Best Buy: Super Smash Bros Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch $59.99 Free Shipping
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(amazon)

If you buy Super Smash Bros Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch from Best Buy, you get free shipping.


Target: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Triology Bundle $49.99
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(target)

The bundle includes the game and a limited edition special Crash Bandicoot green Nintendo Switch controller.