Nintendo is 'glad to be grey'

Older generation get set for a brain boost with Nintendo's National Brain Age Challenge

Nintendo wants to build an accurate picture of the nation's brain health - so it claims - and it is recruiting older generation gamers to use the Nintendo DS Lite to do it.

In fact, Nintendo are getting so called 'grey gamers' to play the More Brian Training by Dr Kawashima, How Old is Your Brain? game for its National Brain Age Challenge at London's Olympia Exhibition Centre.

From the press release:

Grey Gamers Advance on London - Nintendo helps train the brains of the older generation

The older generation are not exactly one of the gaming industry’s traditional target audiences, but that is all about to change as Nintendo launches its National Brain Age Challenge at the Retirement Show this weekend.

The Retirement Show is the first stop in a nationwide tour during which Nintendo will test the nation’s brain power using hit title, More Brain Training by Dr Kawashima, How Old is Your Brain? on the handheld Nintendo DS Lite. Through the tour, Nintendo hopes to build an accurate picture of the nation’s brain health and to ascertain which parts of the country are the most and least cerebrally challenged.

Attending the Retirement Show launch will be retired BBC weatherman, Bill Giles, who will be providing attendees with advice on how to help keep their minds active into retirement, as well as elderly internet rock sensation, The Zimmers who will be performing their hit single “My Generation”.

Nintendo’s UK Marketing Director, Dawn Paine, said: “The Retirement Show is the ideal place to launch this national tour. Older people find the Brain Training titles really appealing as they provide a simple, stress-free way to help keep their minds active, while the simplicity of the Nintendo DS Lite makes them highly accessible to everyone.”

Inspired by the research of renowned Japanese neuroscientist Dr Kawashima, More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain? is designed to help stimulate the brain and challenge memory, math and perception skills. Since its introduction in June 2006, Brain Training has built up a huge following with almost 3 million copies sold across Europe.

Dr Barry Gibb, neuroscientist at University College London and author of The Rough Guide to the Brain, believes this type of gaming can provide a real solution for retired people. He said: “The brain is basically a muscle, and if you fail to exercise it regularly, it will begin to wither. This is particularly relevant for retired people who, without the mental stimulus provided by work, might begin to lose their intellectual vigour.”

The Retirement Show takes place at the Olympia Exhibition Centre this Friday and Saturday (13th-14th July), with The Zimmers performing at 2pm on the Friday.

Dr Barry Gibb’s Top Ten Fast Brain Facts

1. The human brain contains 100 billion (1011) neurones - more than 16 times the human population of earth.

2. Each nerve cell has thousands of connections to others, resulting in several hundred trillion connections throughout the brain – that’s 100 000 000 000 000 synapses (1014) – considerably more than the number of galaxies in the known universe.

3. Not until around 3-4 years old do we start to form real memories - anything we think we remember prior to this is posthumously invented.

4. Videogames may be as good at reducing pain as morphine.

5. Time doesn’t slow down in dangerous situations, the brain just lets us perceive more. To explain this to ourselves we feel that time must have slowed.

6. Déjà vu is caused by a glitch in the brain’s perception of time.

7. Around 90% of communication is non-verbal.

8. There’s still no solid explanation for why we sleep.

9. If a person was removed from all sources of light and time cues, their brain would still base the day around 24 hours.

10. Frontal lobotomies used to be carried out in people’s homes by inserting an ice-pick into the brain via the eye-socket and wiggling it around.