- You have two minutes to write as many jokes as you can about Dr. Kawashima's mama!
- Calculate Nintendo's profits based on a given number of Brain Age sales!
- How well can you remember the lyrics to Kris Kross's Sprite jingle?
Do you say something distinctly un-baby-like, like Brain Age or the tough-sounding Tank Beat? Or do you stay true to yourself and happily announce that you're training your new Wurmple? Are there other situations in which you consider lying? If, for example, you are playing Brain Age and you're accosted by a gamer friend who hasn't joined the non-game revolution? Or if some bloggers survey their audience and you're playing something that you don't think is appropriately cool?
Minna de Kitaeru Zenno Training is an arcade brain training game released in late 2006 by Bandai Namco, created under the supervision of the smartest disembodied head we know, Dr. Ryuta Kawashima. Much like Brain Age, it uses a touch screen to present simple mathematical and logical tasks. But unlike Brain Age, Zenno Training is on a huge screen in the middle of a game center.
It's quite amazing how popular brain training has become! We wonder if Bandai Namco expects people to go back to the arcade every day for training. That would be so diabolical!
Even with a diminished E3, there's no controlling the wave of rumors that hit the Internet every year before the show. Why fight it? From now until E3 hits, we'll be posting one piece of wild speculation every day. Some may be patently ridiculous, and others just might turn out to be true. Even some of the ridiculous ones might turn out to be true! Rest assured, everything will be totally made-up and unfounded. Except, of course, when we speak about all the ass Reggie is going to kick. That part? Totally true.
Rumor: The third Train Your Brain installment, Brain Age: With a Vengeance, will be announced for a late 2007 release. To keep the non-game series fresh, this third episode will come packed with popular gimmicks like customizable outfits, alternate endings, and a new, sinister villain -- Dark Dr. Kawashima!
"I love the concept that Nintendo is reaching out to new audiences with their self improvement products like Brain Training," Kidman said. "Most importantly, I've quickly found that training my brain is a great way to keep my mind young." Maybe now Nintendo and Brain Age will finally be able to achieve some success.
Since the release of Brain Age in Japan, Nintendo has turned their attention toward casual, nontraditional fare for adult audiences. Much of it, like Brain Age, is casual game material with a slight educational slant, but other successful DS releases, like Cooking Navi and Eigo Zuke, are not games at all, but rather educational aids and tools designed to use the DS's unique interface. They're all doing massive business, which makes it difficult to laugh at them no matter how silly they are.
But Nintendo was not the first company to attempt to sell application software on a gaming system, however. That distinction probably falls on BASIC Programming for the Atari 2600. Nintendo wasn't even the first company to sell application software on a Nintendo handheld. In fact, Game Boy non-games appeared in 1991. They didn't change the face of gaming. But they make for an interesting historical footnote now, and isn't that better than selling millions of copies? It is for us!
- It's a huge game
- We are too weak to resist the obvious joke (see title)
- hahahaha bluuuuuuuue
Are we seeing early signs of a Japan-style Brain Age phenomenon? Should we start hoarding DS Lites?
Which one presents more of a challenge -- the mocking Dr. Kawashima, or those tricky phonetics?
Or can you at least do division a little more quickly? That's pretty good too.
But what is less well-known is that, in addition to driving the creation of a ton of copycat software, training fever is pervasive enough to drive sales of that stuff. In other words, Brain Age has created a market for non-games, just like Nintendo hoped it would.
Gpara compiled a list of 95 DS non-games ordered by Media Create sales numbers, and NeoGAFfer Jonnyram has translated the first ten. These things don't cost much to make, and they are bringing in stacks of money. That's Economics Training at work. Or it would be if that existed. Give it a couple of weeks.
- Brain Age 2: 4,266,000
- Brain Age: 3,403,000
- Eigo Zuke (English Training): 1,937,000
- Big Brain Academy 1,519,000
- General Knowledge Training/Common Sense Training:1,381,000
- Cooking Navi: 815,000
- Kanji Test: 523,000
- Tokoton Kanji Brain: 406, 000
- IQ Suppli DS: 219,000
All jokes aside, are you going to go in for round two?
Looking at that, it's easy to guess why we're seeing more and more of what we jokingly refer to as "non-games" rolling out for the DS. A lot of these new gamers aren't as interested in traditional fare, and as the market expands, the type of games has to expand as well. Satoru Iwata had good reason to come down hard on NoA for not getting the U.S. market on the Brain Age train; everywhere else, the game continues to walk off shelves at alarming rates.
Reggie said they're seeing "significant market change" in the U.S., and we can only hope that means that, as the gaming market expands, so will gaming advertising. It's time DS commercials broke out of their Saturday morning slots and started marketing to the new gaming class: adults who like shooting zombies just as much as they like studying languages.