Accordingly to recently published research at the Nottingham Trent University, playing video games can be good for your brain in a series of ways. Video games can be a fantastic way of engaging all areas of your brain, challenging you to think logically by solving puzzles and problems. The rewards that video games offer for completing certain objectives and unlocking new content can also be a boon.
But it goes without saying that there are more games and mobile apps that are better for our brains than others. For example, there are apps that can help to boost your productivity, like note-taking Evernote and collaboration app Trello, and those that make learning a fun experience, such as Duolingo, which teaches you languages.
We’ve chosen eight gaming apps that can help to improve your brain power for you to try.
A chess player knocks over a chess piece on the board via Pexels
The game of chess has long been pitched as a fierce battle of wits and strategy as you figure out all of the best tactics to take your opponent’s pieces off of the board. Will you use your king and queen to decimate your enemy’s ranks or can you outsmart them just by using a handful of pawns?
The Play Magnus app is one way of testing your skills on a mobile device; it allows you to go up against a virtual version of World Champion of Chess Magnus Carlsen. The free to play app has been “tuned” to play like Magnus himself, so you’ll be in for a real challenge with this one.
Elevate – Brain Training
Elevate is a brain training app that Apple crowned as its “app of the year 2014” so of course it has to be featured on this list.
The app offers daily brain workouts and different sorts of games across a variety of genres, including memory games, math skills, and games to improve your focus. The app can even personalize your workouts depending on which area you want to work on.
It’s a little-known fact that some card games can be used to improve your brain power too. By playing card games such as bridge, rummy, spades, blackjack and baccarat, you can enhance your short-term memory. These card games offer a simple yet fun way to train your memory on the go. There are mobile apps featuring different versions of games such as blackjack and baccarat that allow you to test your skill and understanding of the game against in a live, competitive setting. Not only does this up the ante, but the competitive environment can also help your brain stay engaged.
It’s no coincidence that the world’s best card game players also have powerful memories; it is a skill that is vital to playing games like blackjack at a high level. You have to calculate the probability of a certain card showing up in your hand or your opponent’s hand, helping your brain to stay nimble as you perform the calculations in your head. In a 2013 study published in Nature, it was revealed that playing games that can improve cognitive function can enhance cognitive control in adults. With blackjack improving the cognitive aspects of your brain, it could well help to slow the aging process.
Candy Crush Saga
A smartphone user plays a level of Candy Crush Saga via Pexels
Have you ever seen someone take on the higher levels of Candy Crush Saga? The look of sheer determination on their face and their cheers of relief after they’ve successfully completed a stage tell you all you need to know; this is a fabulously tricky game that provides its players with a real challenge.
Although it has a sugary exterior, Candy Crush Saga really is a fun puzzle game app that has you thinking tactically about your candy matches and planning out strategies to complete a level. It’s also incredibly accessible, so if you find other brain training games a little intimidating, this could be a good way to get a brain workout.
Tetris is one of the games that has most benefited from the retro gaming revolution that is currently taking place – people are revisiting the games from their youth to play them all over again. The classic gameplay of stacking differently colored and shaped blocks in order to clear rows from the board is as fun as it ever was.
But it’s not just fun as it can also be quite helpful to your brain. A Tetris mobile app is now available to download on iPhone and Android smartphones and it requires super-quick reaction times as you figure out how to stack a block before it places and can’t be moved. It also helps if you put together a strategy from the offset, which is another reason for your brain to be engaged.
Plants vs. Zombies
Don’t be put off by Plants vs. Zombies’ fairly silly sounding name; this game can actually provide a brain workout. It’s all about using different kinds of colorful plants to battle hordes of zombie enemies and you have to think of the most effective way to take the zombies down with the plants at your disposal.
Because each zombie has special skills, you’ll have to act quickly to come up with a strategy or they will successfully take over your garden! Moreover, you have a limited amount of seeds to grow plants so you will have to plan (and plant) accordingly.
Age of Empires: Castle Siege
In the Age of Empires: Castle Siege app, you must defend your castle from some very angry invaders. After choosing a civilization, you can upgrade your keep, improve your fortress, and recruit troops.
The game will also allow you to command your army in battle as you raid other castles. This is a very action-packed way of honing your strategy skills but that just makes things even more fun.
Madden NFL Football
A group of American football players holds the ball on the field via Pexels
The real-life game of American football is already an incredibly tactical affair, which is why games are full of quarterbacks and coaches yelling out oddly named strategies to the players on the field. But the Madden NFL Football app only ramps that up even further, putting together teams of upcoming stars and legends who are going for glory.
The game also features an upgrade mechanic as you can level up your cards and improve them with various unlocks. Tournaments also give you an opportunity to put your team to the test and perhaps you’ll even learn new strategies too.
Video games aren’t typically thought of as a way to improve your brain power, but these apps clearly touch upon many useful skills that could help you in your career. They can be an even more thrilling and entertaining way of working on your brain. Perhaps your reaction times will become quicker and your strategic thinking will become stronger all because you’ve played the apps on this list!
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