As technology has advanced in recent decades, so too has its ability to make us smarter. From brain-training apps to specialist online courses, there’s plenty of digital content that promises to give our intelligence a spring clean. But is it possible to get smarter or boosting your brainpower without having to buy the latest course or faddy app? According to Dr Caroline Leaf, yes, it is.
In her latest book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess, the renowned neuroscientist explains that intelligence “can be enhanced – or reduced – by how you manage your mind”. Much like our physical body needs regular exercise, so too do our synapses. Keeping our brains “active and healthy” with a focus on enhancing our cognitive skills is a surefire way to grow our intelligence levels, and we can achieve this using a variety of activities that “stimulate and challenge our minds”.
One of the ways to do this is to play video games. Yes, gaming can actually be good for us and boost our brainpower. Academics have been investigating the effects of gaming
on the brain for decades and there’s a wealth of research available to support claims that it can do everything from increasing working memory spans to improving our mental health.
Not all games are created equal, however, so here are the best games to play to boost your brainpower.
Strategy games are an immensely popular genre of games, both online and offline. The best strategy games develop a whole wealth of skills that can easily be applied to real-world situations, such as planning, resource management and logistics. Playing a strategy game
involves effective decision making and a flexible approach to tactical deployment. The more complex ones can even enhance cognitive skills like reasoning and short-term memory.
Starcraft II, Civilisation VI and Endless Legend are three examples of the top-rated strategy games to check out in 2021.
Played in its current form for hundreds of years, blackjack is known across the world as a casino staple. It’s fiendishly difficult to master and requires excellent short-term memory, so it’s a game that keeps on giving when it comes to cognitive development. The aim of
blackjack isn’t just to get a hand as close to 21 as possible, it’s also an highly strategic game that involves quick mental calculations and memory recall.
As a core game in the iGaming industry, blackjack is available in a range of different variants online through gaming platforms. Learning to play blackjack online has its own set of unique benefits too; some platforms offer free-play games that don’t require any real money wagering, so you can practice the game to your heart’s content.
Action Role-Playing Games are a staple of the modern gaming landscape and make up a substantial percentage of the games that are played at a professional level in global eSports tournaments. The reason for them being so compelling is that they task gamers with achieving goals while exploring a challenging and immersive environment.
In order to achieve their goals in an action RPG game, players have to undergo deep decision-making processes that exercise their inductive reasoning skills. This is a process that is crucial to ongoing learning and is applicable to real-world situations, such as making a decision in the workplace.
As you might expect from such a popular gaming genre, there are all manner of action RPG games available in the modern landscape. However, CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher 3 is
often considered to be the best example of the genre of all time.
Another hugely popular gaming vertical, especially with mobile games, is puzzle games, which stimulate and enhance the areas of the brain that govern logical thinking and problem-solving. This genre encompasses the widest variety of games – even on digital devices – so it’s not uncommon to see situation puzzles, mathematical puzzles, logic games, hidden
objects games, tile-matching and traditional puzzle games like mah-jong populating gaming platforms or app stores.
Being as ubiquitous as they are, you’re sure to find a puzzle game or two that resonates with you and develops the skills you personally want to work on for boosting your brainpower . While old favourites like Candy Crush Saga and classic platforms like Legend of Zelda still rate
highly amongst gamers, newer games like Monument Valley and its sequel are
quickly becoming best-sellers.