BADGP Reviews: Brain Age: Concentration Training

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Brain Age: Concentration Training (Nintendo, Intelligent Systems)

Review: What if I can’t concentrate on my concentration training?

Alex Linna

March 25, 2013

There is a surprisingly large amount of content packed into Nintendo’s Brain Age: Concentration Training.  However, it could be due to the “bread crumb” nature of the unlock system that makes it feel this way.  I just completed my 31st day of training and I still have at least two more activities to unlock.  Concentration Training knows how to spread out its content.  First, by the unlock system described above. Second, by the player only being able to train on each activity once per day.  This might seem odd or like a rip-off that the game only allows limited access to the game’s content.  This is explained in one of Dr. Kawashima’s lectures that might appear when one boots up the game on a given day. That’s right, this game has lectures.  They focus on the science that when behind the development of this game, and I am going to stop referring to Brain Age: Concentration Training as a game at this point.  Anyone who has experienced a Brain Age “game” knows that it is more of a self-help product than an actual video game and Concentration Training is no different.

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The game’s main premise is that modern personalized media devices erode one’s ability to concentrate.  This is combated by the devious devilish training that flexes one’s working memory.  It is difficult and suitably challenging. The first set of devilish training is called devilish calculations.  This exercise tests the working memory by offering two simple math problems and asking the player to remember them as a continuous flow of subsequent problems follow.  This is called 1-back; it is easy enough to remember one problem, but then comes 2-back, and 3-back. The difficulty ramps up exponentially and is incredibly challenging.  Most of the devilish training is in a similar vein to this; requiring complete concentration and focus.

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After completion of 31 days of training, I wish there was a motivation training game.  Sure I might be able to focus more effectively, but if I never start homework it becomes useless.  Even when attempting to work on a paper for class I still would struggle to focus despite the training.  The allure of the Internet and electronic devices is powerful and I am not convinced that Brain Age: Concentration Training assuages this.  One instance however when I was lacking motivation to write a paper, I reached for the 3DS and had a longer devilish training session than I had been doing and found that immediately after training I could focus much better.  I suppose, I could recommend this style of training immediately before the activity that requires focus. I had thought that the training would have fatigued my brain due to the intense concentration it demands, but after training my focus was heightened for a brief window.  In this instance, the software worked as intended.

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Brain Age: Concentration Training has loads to offer besides the devilish training.  It includes concentration training which is similar to devilish training and also works the working memory.  Brain training makes a triumphant return in almost exact form as previous titles including 20x calculations and the like.  There is supplemental training that is very similar to brain training, and a relaxation mode that includes games like a match-3 puzzler.  Concentration Training adds some cool modes and activities that the previous titles in the Brain Age series, including a neat level-based game where the player shoots down math problems from a space ship.  The devilish training might have something to it, but I remain somewhat skeptical with little improvement in my personal concentration abilities.  That being said, I am not sure how one scores a self-help product like Brain Age: Concentration Training.  Grading it on how effective it is in its premise and goal seems to be fair.  I found the game only to be helpful only right after using it, so at least there was some sort of noticeable improvement, but otherwise I did not notice improvement in any form of focus and concentration.  Combining that with a large amount of content and some interesting new activities in the Brain Age family of products Brain Age: Concentration Training receives a 7 out of 10.

BADGP: 7 out of 10

Image Credits (in order of appearance):

http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com//wp-content/uploads/multi/2013/02/bar4.jpg

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