Cubed3 Nintendo Special: More Brain Training 2 Diary

By Adam Riley 27.06.2007 6


Well, here we are again, just over a year since Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old is Your Brain? hit Europe and Nintendo is about to unleash More Brain Training. This is not 'Brain Training 2', since it is most definitely not meant to replace the previous game at all. Instead it is a supplementary programme to further your intelligence, sharpening your brain more than ever before. This time round the good doctor is going to make reaching that perfect age of twenty-years-old much more taxing. The question is, however, after mastering the art of reaching the peak brain fitness level last year, can Cubed3's now twenty-five-year-old Adam Riley crack this harder nut and impress Ryuta Kawashima-san enough to make his glasses magically fly up in the air? Welcome to the 'More Brain Training Diary'...


Day One: It is Friday, 15th June and after just arriving home from a seriously stressful week at work, there is a pleasant surprise waiting for me - the brand new and fully European localised copy of More Brain Training, complete with funky new orange gradient hue on the front of the cartridge.  What a joyous occasion!  Sadly my eyes are burning from being in front of a PC all day and my stomach is grumbling like and old person waiting for a bus.  But hey, I simply cannot resist…Time to give it a quick whirl.

As per the previous game, it starts off with the usual introduction about why you need to play this on a daily basis, showing you the diagrams of brains with various areas highlighted in red or orange, all depending on the activity the person is undertaking at the time.  Sitting around scratching yourself results is a completely grey brain, whilst doing simple word puzzles or solving mathematical problems, though, lights up the brain like a torch.  After this spiel, Dr. Kawashima gives you a quick brain test and if you choose the option of 'I can speak freely', as I did, you are no longer faced with the colour recognition task.  This time round it is 'Rock-Paper-Scissors' and you must speak the appropriate word into the speaker at the right time and as quickly as possible.

Whilst this may sound easy, it seriously is not.  What happens is a picture of a hand will appear on either screen, along with a request of 'Win' or 'Lose'.  For example, you see an open palm, representing paper, and it says 'Win' on the screen - what do you do?  Shout 'scissors', of course, since scissors cut paper (for those that have never done this before…).  Next up a fist could appear on the opposite screen, representing a rock, with 'Lose' as the command.  In this scenario the response required is 'paper', since paper covers rock.  Do you get the gist?  Well, I certainly did, but because this is far trickier than the colours trial from the original Brain Training, it meant I ended up taking quite a while to go through all forty of the permutations and was left with a brain age of forty-three…Time for some dinner!

Coming back I thought it best to do some training before diving in for a proper Brain Age Check.  This is how I fared:

Missing Symbols - you are given two random numbers with the answer beside them, but the mathematical symbol is missing and you must figure out if it is plus, minus, multiplication or division.  Surprisingly this was much more difficult than I first imagined, with it taking longer than it should for me to figure out which symbol was right.  This meant that after working my way through I ended up with 37 seconds - cycling speed

Masterpiece Recital - a musical score appears on the left screen and you are told you turn the volume right up as you follow the notes shown and tap them out on a keyboard on the right screen…but at the same rhythm and tempo.  Boy was this hard as trying to look at the scrolling music sheet on the left and remember where the right keys are on the other screen, whilst tapping accurately as well, was awkward.  Still, I got six wrong notes on my first go and achieved Train Speed, which is better than expected.

I received my first new tip after doing this mode - hold select when going to the 'Graph' menu choice and it brings up a Brain Age Check Top 3 and Training Top 3.  It seems like a good way to keep a close eye on your progress on all fronts…it also provides insight into what I will likely be facing on my daily Brain Age check: Rock-Paper-Scissors, Continuous Countdown, Speedy Symbols, Memory Addition, Memorise 5x5 and Highest Number.  Certainly I am very intrigued, but will just have to simply wait until they crop up.  Anyway, I digress…

Word Scramble - here various letters spin around in a circle and the aim is to decipher what the full word is and write it clearly on the touch screen, letter-by-letter.  This was a particularly simple one as I used to do lots of word puzzle games in magazines when I was younger.  However, sadly I got stuck on one word, 'Fortune', and it dragged my initial time down as I was penalised for eventually passing on it.  Add on the time wasted whilst trying to actually think of what it could be and the final result was 2 minutes 32 seconds, or 'driving speed' (there are different speed categories depending on your time, ranging from walking pace to rocket speed).

Ah, another tip - the doctor is full of 'useful' information.  This time I am being advised to go to 'Other Options', then 'Settings', where I can change which hand I prefer to write with.  What a pointless tip, as I thought it was quite obvious you could do that!  Never mind…on with the first day's show.

Correct Change - this game opened up after I did my first task of Missing Symbols and placed a completion marker on today's date.  The idea here is to see how much change you require.  Simple, right?  Well, clearly I failed to understand the rule at first, so got the first answer wrong.  You see an amount of money at the bottom of the left screen and there is a digital number at the top of the same screen.  Now, I stupidly just counted out the sum total of that digital number, when in fact you are meant to subtract that amount from the total money.  You are shown coins at the top of the touch-screen (£1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p and 1p) and simply tap each one the appropriate amount of times to equal the remaining money.  For example, the total money you have is £5 and the digital cost states £4.25.  This means you require 75p change, meaning you can tap the 50 pence piece, 20p and 5p, followed by 'Select' to confirm the right answer.  I ended up with a 20 second penalty for the first incorrect answer, but finished in 1 minute 15 seconds, which equates to Train Speed.

Ooh, another tip - pressing 'Start' in the middle of a training test takes you back to the main menu…handy!

Well, that is all the Training I can do for today, so now I have done that I think it best to try the Brain Age Check properly this time.  But for the purposes of this go, I decided to choose 'I cannot speak', which gave me 'Speedy Symbols', where there is a list of numbers 0 through to 9 on the left screen, each one corresponding to a symbol (such as 0 = € and 9 = %).  The idea is that on the left a random integer appears and on the touch-screen the correct symbol must be drawn as quickly as possible.  On with the test…and boom, it took me 1 minute exactly to complete this on my first try.

Test two of the Brain Age Check is 'Continuous Countdown' where you are given a large number on the left and the instruction to subtract a certain figure…and keep doing so without making mistakes.  For example, starting at 100, if you keep subtracting 5 you would have to write: 95, 90, 85, 80…and so on, with your previous answer appearing then on the left briefly before disappearing (this is the tricky part as you need to remember your last answer and keep subtracting).  Pressing 'Try Again' brings up the last entry repeatedly until you are back at the original starting number.  49 seconds it took to get through this confusing task.

Finally, the third test was 'Memorise 5x5' where you are simply given a five-by-five grid of numbers and must remember them and their locations.  You are given two minutes to remember them and then away you go.  Ouch, just like the memorising words task in the first game, this is rock solid.  Sadly I only got ten correct…So on the whole my Brain Age comes to 45.  Seems I really do need to "train daily so [my brain] can be stimulated and sharp!"

Exiting and going back into the game I am asked by Kawashima-san to think of some 'acrostics', which is basically like an 'acronym' where if you are given the word 'EAR' it could stand for 'Everyone's Audio Receiver' (his example, not mine!).  Except that acronyms are for random names that just happen to form words if you put the first letter of each word together.  An acrostic is a phrase that describes the word made by putting its first letters together.  The first three letters I was given were 'B O W', to which I responded 'Bend Over Wilfully'…the example the game responded with was 'Bent Over Waist'.  You see the idea now?  It is to get you thinking of three different words to describe the three letters on-screen.

To round things off for today I decided to unwind with some gentle Sudoku fun.  Sadly Nintendo missed the opportunity to add some of Nikoli's other great logic games, like Slitherlink or Kakuro, but a whole new batch of Sudoku puzzles is still a nice addition for those that like the game.

Let us see what tomorrow brings…

Day Two - Early afternoon and my back is killing me, so time to test my brain instead and relax a bit.  First of all I shoot through the Missing Symbols and improve on my previous time by three seconds to 34 seconds in total, which is only cycling speed, sadly.  Whatever the case, this means I can stamp today's date, and opens up 'Word Blend' on the training section.  The doctor also tells me that the Japanese art of Origami (making objects with paper) is a great way to stimulate the prefrontal cortex…The Blue Bells of Scotland is the tune on Masterpiece Recital, which is much easier than yesterday's piece (I fail to recall the title of that one).  And also I found that the familiarity meant navigating the on-screen piano keyboard was much simpler, meaning my points total rose to 93, up six from the previous day (still got one note wrong, though!), and giving me the 'Flying Speed' rating.

Annoyingly I got two wrong this time in the Word Scramble, meaning my score went way down due to penalties - now leaving me at 3 minutes 13 seconds, but still Driving Speed, surprisingly.  But I made up for that by zipping through correct change in just 58 seconds, a far cry from my first time of 1 minute 15 seconds!  But with only a Train Speed rating, clearly I can do better…Okay, time to try out the new addition - Word Blend.  In this one multiple words are spoken at the same time and you must decipher the different ones by writing them on the touch-screen.  You have six chances to listen to the speech again before having to move onto the next question.  Ugh, I really dislike this one…I got '2 Got It In One's, giving me a score of 32.  It really is hard to hear the words when they are said over one another.  Apparently, however, what I thought was a terrible score got me a 'Driving Speed' rating, so perhaps the makers of the game simply do not expect great results from people…?  Strange.

Okay, time for the new Brain Age check, starting with Rock-Paper-Scissors, in which I now know what to do properly and hit a great score of 1 minute 25 seconds.  Now for a new test, the Memory Addition one where the aim is to remember the hidden numbers and keep adding them up.  So when you see 6 + 9 and you go to write the answer of 15, the six gets blanked out and another number replaces the 9.  So you could then be faced with Blank + 5 and you must try to remember the 6 from previously.  Then as you write 11, the 5 will be blanked out this time as you move to the next sum.  I prefer this to the subtraction game from yesterday - final time, 1 minute 16 seconds.  Finally I am given the horrid Memorise 5x5 again…should be fun!  I used a different technique this time.  Rather than going for rows and columns, I tried to remember the numbers in numerical order and their separate positions.  That might sound more convoluted, but it worked as I got 13/25 correct!  Sadly, though, despite improving on times significantly, my brain was said to be 40, only five years younger than before.  I now recall how annoyed I used to get with the first game for its seemingly random age rankings.  Ah well…time to relax with some Sudoku before tomorrow's diary entry.

Day Three: Okay, third day and I really am quite knackered this morning, but better to do it early before I head off to play football than later when I will be even more worn out.  Missing Symbols to begin with and boom, a jump in six seconds…now my speed is 28 seconds, Driving Speed.  My reward?  Kawashima-san tells me that cooking a meal stimulates the prefrontal cortex as well, suggesting that I go prepare a healthy meal for myself now…Too late doc, I just polished off a nice fry-up with my wife, so I am pretty stuffed!  As I now have three daily stamps to my name, the doctor announces that Memory Addition will be added to the training regime.  Buffalo Gals is the tune of the day for Masterpiece Recital and whilst trickier than yesterday's offering, I am getting much more used to the keyboard, and I did not miss any notes this time round, resulting in a new high score of 95 points, which is Flying Speed!

Sadly I died on Word Scramble, dropping to a woeful 3 minutes 57 seconds, Cycling Speed, mainly as there were three words I just could not get…annoyingly.  Thankfully my number skills are much better than my word ones, though, and for Correct Change I jumped from 58 seconds to 46, earning a Train Speed rating, which apparently made the doctor want to cry!  Hmm, time for Word Blend, my worst enemy.  But guess what?  For some reason it clicked into place today and I got a total of 67 points, more than doubling yesterday's effort and getting the Train Speed rating.  Finally it is onto Memory Addition, in which I storm to a 1 minute 1 second finish and Driving Speed.  Average, but certainly a lot better than my last go at that one!  I feel my brain getting younger by the day…but will it show in today's Brain Age Check?

Well, to start with I managed to shave five seconds off my Rock-Paper-Scissors time, reducing it to 1 minute 20 seconds; and I got 16/25 on Memorise 5x5; finishing off with a new game called 'Highest Number', where you have a series of different sized numbers on the screen and touch the one with the largest numerical value.  I thought this was quite simple and completed it in 50 seconds, but I guess the test will be how I do in the upcoming days.  So, my Brain Age for today is…29!  Quite a nice jump!  No time for Sudoku today, though, as it is time to go get ready for football…Roll on Monday, and doing Day Four after a tiring day at work.

Stay tuned to Cubed³ tomorrow to read the second part of the More Brain Training Diary and see whether that ideal age of '20' can be reached before the end of the seventh day!
Box art for More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain?
Also known as

Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Educational

Players

16

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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Comments

Ooh. This seems pretty good. I never played the original Brain Training as I had Big Brain Academy instead. However, this one seems as though it has some pretty good mini-games in it that appear to be more fun and/or interesting than the previous instalment. One to keep an eye on then?

( Edited on 27.06.2007 20:57 by jesusraz )

I've been on RADIO ONE! | I'm on ONM.

Great post Adam*, it might tempt me to even get this game after I read it fully Smilie. I already have the first but am in debate as to whether I should get this seeng as though I do not play the first often as you should.

Some of those excersises look far better than the first though, and in turn give the game more appeal. For me at least I think I would rather save my money and get BBA + that cool Wii Remote Keyring you get,but I am not sure we get those in the U.K. Smilie, cruel Nintendo.

Is BT2

Linkyshinks said:
Is BT2

I've been on RADIO ONE! | I'm on ONM.

superscott789 said:
Linkyshinks said:Is BT2

Thanks LS Smilie

More Brain Training is

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

jesusraz said:
Big Brain Academy: Wii Degreee will reportedly be


Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he [Richard Ashcroft] promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clich�. They were the statement and the definition."

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