We don’t need to tell you that gaming provides a whole host of benefits, but it’s certainly worth reminding you! It’s always nice to know that gaming is good for the brain and can provide more than just entertainment. Every time we sit down, it’s nice to know that we are stretching our cranial capacity just a little bit more. But sometimes we’re not choosing the right games to expand our mental reach! As we’re all seeking entertainment that provides a subtle dose of intellectual growth, we’ve got to find the right games that make that positive impact. So let’s show you a range of online and video games that are not just entertaining, but will make a big difference for your cognition too.
Online Sudoku is still a perennially captivating game. The great thing about Sudoku is that this simple task of finding those intricate patterns and understanding how your particular approach to logic works can be enlightening but also infuriating in equal measure! If you find yourself sitting down to play a game that only serves to frustrate you, believe it or not, you’re doing something right! The challenges of what expands our brain, and so if we end up feeling like we want to throw our smartphone against the wall because we just can’t figure it out, keep pushing through because your brain is going to benefit.
Remember we just said that when you get frustrated, you are challenging your brain? Well, this is one of those games that constantly makes your brain feel like it’s about to pop out of its cranium! Dual N-Back is a memory training game that involves presenting two different sequences, audio and visual, at the same time. The sequences get longer, and studies have shown that this type of brain training is fantastic for short-term memory, working memory, and the ability to do math. If you are having issues with concentration (which most people would probably agree with these days), it’s important to start practicing. This is why having a game like this can give you a better understanding of your current abilities. There is a concept known as neuroplasticity, which refers to the fact that we can make alterations to our brain chemistry by strengthening the connections. Much like if you want to build muscle, you need to hit the gym, the same thing applies to your brain, and this game is one of the best for it!
Big Brain Academy
An excellent tool for families to use. Completing a variety of mini-games to calculate the age and mass of your brain through logic analysis, memory, and mathematics. Some tasks include spotting differences between pictures, counting numbers, or repeating food orders. Those who are looking for something a bit more on the fun side rather than taking everything completely seriously can benefit from Big Brain Academy. It’s always nice to know how skilled we are, of course, and as we practice these types of games, we will gradually get better.
This is a deceptively simple but highly addictive numeric puzzle game that requires us to plan and operate with a bit more strategic thinking than we may do daily. Players slide number tiles on a grid and combine matching numbers to create larger tiles. The goal is to reach the 2048 tile, and this demands spatial reasoning and forward-thinking. When we’re trying to enhance those numerical and logistical thinking skills, 2048 is the perfect choice. It’s something we can easily download onto our phones and do while we are on the go.
This is a comprehensive platform for personalized cognitive training. As opposed to Big Brain Academy which covers the key components of intelligence, CogniFit goes one step further because it assesses a user’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses, tailoring exercises to address the specific areas for improvement. There’s a variety of games that focus on reasoning, attention, memory, and so much more. Regular use is designed to result in not just a more agile but a resilient mind. It has many subscribers who have paid for the services, but you can also play several free brain games, such as Lane Changer, which tests your response times and shifting, as well as many others, including Pipe Panic, which tests visual perception, response time, and hand-eye coordination.
The Portal Series
Portal is renowned as a gaming series, but it’s also being lauded for its ability to challenge players’ spatial reasoning and problem-solving abilities. Set in the Half-Life universe, players navigate through a series of test chambers armed with what is known as a “portal gun” to create inter-spacial portals. The challenges lie in overcoming obstacles and manipulating the environments using those all-important critical thinking abilities. It’s also important to recognize that games need to be captivating, and we can all get frustrated with games like Dual N-Back or any brain training app, so it can be a nice change for our brain to engage with the captivating storyline. There is that Trojan horse approach that everybody can utilize when they are attempting to make a little upgrade to their brains! The Portal series has also made a few appearances in other games; for example, Evil Genius 2: World Domination has a portal-themed free expansion pack, and Minecraft features portal characters as cosmetic skins.
The Witness is a puzzle game involving the exploration of an open-world island filled with a variety of structures. Players encounter a landscape filled with puzzles that require pattern recognition, logic, and observation to solve effectively. The game’s design encourages people to explore and draw connections between various elements, which can help boost our cognitive skills like visual pattern analysis and deductive reasoning. The Witness has been one of those games in recent years that has truly made an impact concerning two important gaming elements, visually stunning gameplay and providing an intellectual challenge that goes unparalleled.
For those who don’t have the patience for a strategy game, it might be worth incorporating this into your gaming regime somewhere! Civilization VI challenges players to build and manage civilizations from ancient times up to the modern era. Therefore, there is more than a little bit of long-term planning needed. As players navigate through different decisions ranging from military to economic and diplomatic approaches, we all end up fine-tuning our critical decision-making, adaptive strategy, and problem-solving development. Anyone who is looking for a game that provides total immersion and supreme cognitive benefits can stimulate so many different aspects of our intelligence. So many of us can find ourselves not using certain aspects of our thinking, which is why we need to make up for it with the right hobbies. Civilization VI covers a lot of ground!
The Talos Principle
For those looking for challenging puzzles but also wanting to stimulate deeper thinking on a philosophical level, this game should be an essential addition to our libraries. The Talos Principle is a first-person puzzle game where players navigate through a world with complex puzzles that require creativity and deep thought to solve. There are several existential themes on offer here, and if you want to contemplate the nature of consciousness and reality with your gaming, The Talos Principle provides an intellectual journey that goes way beyond traditional gaming experiences.
While not many people would want to play a game centered around resource management and automation, those budding project managers amongst you can benefit from this game! Factorio involves building and optimizing automated factories which demand intricate planning and problem-solving skills. As the factory grows in complexity, it becomes essential to devise efficient production lines, address resources, and other issues commonly found in real-life businesses. A unique environment beyond the traditional gaming fare, Factorio provides a perfect opportunity to hone some analytical and logistical approaches to thinking.
Another app that offers personalized brain training exercises. Focusing on writing, reading, math, comprehension, language, and so much more, Elevate aims to provide a more holistic approach to cognitive development. The app is adaptive, and this means that users will always receive challenges based on their level of proficiency. The importance of stretching our brains is about going just beyond our capabilities, and this is why Elevate is excellent at promoting that ever-so-slight intellectual growth that you may not even notice that your brain is blossoming!
Incorporating online and video game activities to promote your intelligence sounds incredibly obvious, but we all look at gaming as a form of escapism. But deciphering complex puzzles or making strategic decisions is a key part of pretty much every video game! We should always strike a balance between entertainment and education because if anything feels like work, we can switch off! But if you start to choose the right games in your life, then gradually you’ll start to seek out those things that give you the right types of challenge. We all need to stretch ourselves on occasion, and these games will do this.