Randomly, on a train, two cheery bods gave me the chance to play on the all new Nintendo DSi XL. If, like me at the time, you have no idea what that is, it’s a handheld games console. However, much to my disappointment it didn’t have Super Mario on it. It just had some daft “brain training” game. The idea of which was that you remembered a load of words, drew a few pictures and then had to connect some letters and numbers. After about ten minutes or so it told you how old your brain was. I had the brain of a 72 year old. The idea is that if I keep playing this game my mental age will gradually reduce and this is supposed to be a good thing.
You may remember a load of slightly rewritten press releases appearing in the newspapers last year which tried to establish the myth that there was some sort of scientific basis behind this. Without doing a shred of research into the matter I’ll bet that claim is shaky at the very least. That said it’s a great way to market a dull computer game: play this and it’ll keep your mind young. It puts a positive spin on the accurate perception that playing computer games is the sort of thing kids do. Play it for long enough and you’ll have the brain of an eight year old!
Once again I’m inclined to ask: which came first, the marketing or the product?
I'll stick to Civ IV and GTA thanks.