Nintendo’s brain training is no better than a crossword

Nintendo has pushed its Brain Training puzzle game for the Nintendo DS console very hard in the last 12 months, even using actress Olivia Newton-John in its advertisements.

But while the game was the second biggest-selling console game in Australia in 2008, a study from the French University of Rennes shows the DS is not the education device Nintendo has made out.

The study put 10-year-old children into four groups. Two performed a seven-week

Nintendo DS memory course, the third performed puzzles no paper and the fourth went to school courses as normal. All groups were tested before and after the experiments took place

The study found a 19% increase in maths performance and a 10% improvement in logic tests when using the Nintendo device, but other groups showed similar results. But in memory tests, the pencil and paper group improved by 33%, while the Nintendo group performed 17% worse.

“As a game it’s fine but it is charlatanism to claim that it is a scientific test,” University of Rennes professor of cognitive psychology Alain Lieury told The Age. “If it doesn’t work on children, it won’t work on adults.”

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