It wears thin..
"The Non-Game and the Gamer"
-By Adam Pearson-
-Presented by DMG
-Presented 04/20/2006-
I got the Brain Age demo from the DS Download Station at Best Buy a few days ago. I was really impressed! Sudoku is fun, and I never thought remedial math could be so challenging. Makes me wish I would have got those times tables down pat so many years ago. As for the "say the color, not the word" challenge, I thought the voice recognition was a bit off.

So it looks like we have another "non-game" to look forward to from Nintendo. If you are like me, you became a Nintendo fan for the same few reasons.
  • Reflex-driven, fun and engaging gameplay.
  • Interactive, well-told narratives.
  • The joy in solving puzzles.
Nintendogs and Electroplankton had hardly any of that stuff. Such is the nature of a non-game. However, Brain Age has plenty of puzzles (Sudoku) and the remedial math speed challenges are demanding of your
reflexes. As a Nintendo fan, I am eager to see what the company has brewing up, but is some of the stuff that is coming out simply not for me? Nintendogs and Animal Crossing were fun at first, but I found myself getting bored fast and craving something more... eh, "gamely". As Nintendo tries to expand the market, I do not think the gamer has much to worry about. We'll still get games that cater to our needs such as Metroid Prime Hunters and Tetris DS. But to demonstrate what criteria I think the non-game should uphold, I will put out some ground rules for Nintendo. Obviously they will not hear them, but maybe fellow gamers would agree that this is what we should be looking for if we are curious.

1. Low Price
Brain Age has the right idea. It will be put on shelves for the price of 20 dollars, when other DS games are $30 and $40. People are always taking a risk when trying something new. The risk is cut in half when the price is as well. Also, those who take interest in the game by seeing your copy aren't going to want to spend money on the system and then 40 bucks for the game. An affordable game is going to help an already affordable system.

2. Depth
Nintendogs was a cute game and a very nice concept, but the novelty of the game doesn't last too long. If Electroplankton had as many modes as Wario Ware has games, many more people would have picked it up. Do not scalp on the content! Nintendo has started off on a bad foot with non-games. It's easy to see all there is within a few hours. Do not let non-games become just expensive fads!

3. Games Within
I was upset when Animal Crossing: Wild World was released without the NES games featured in the original Animal Crossing. Simple games can break the monotony of a non-game. Animal Crossing is not a non-game per se, but was it not nice to take a break from your bell-herding tasks to play Balloon Fight? Some games within the non-game could seal the deal for people who are on the edge.

This article was brief, but so are most non-games. I think everyone should get Brain Age though. There should not be too many gripes with 1 and 3, but 2 might be a problem. There are only so many brain training exercises, and only 100 different Sudoku puzzles. It would be a lot easier to justify the purchase if you intended on playing every day as Brain Age suggests (it keeps track of your progress day by day with
charts and graphs) but I am not completely certain the science of "training your brain" is all that sound. It is still interesting though. It is all about getting the best score, and that's something that a gamer such as myself can certainly identify with.

-Editorial by Adam Pearson-
-Property of