Parents have complained since forever that comics/television/ heavy metal and now, games are rotting the brains of their kids. Yes whether, it’s Call of Duty, Mario or Dungeons and Dragons games seem to be an easy target for irate parents. They couldn’t be wronger. Studies have shown that videogames can actually increase IQ and other board and logics games have been known to be brain food for decades if not centuries. So let’s take a look at a top ten of games that stimulate your mind.
Yes, it’s a classic and it’s universally agreed upon as one of the ultimate tests of mental skill but chess still deserves to be mentioned on this list. Played by tacticians and world leaders for centuries chess is a duel of intellects at an epic scale, something any parents should only hope their child plays.
09. Object Find Games
The quintessential ‘casual’ game, object find (or hidden object) games turn you into the problem solver in an episode of Hoarders and have you gathering various objects in order to solve puzzles. The catch is that they’re hidden amongst a lot of other, useless objects. Object find games stimulate your attention to detail and patience if not really your mind.
Mahjong is another ancient game, this one being a game of skill and luck at the same time. Though it is generally played as some sort of dominos, it can also be used as a sort of stacked match-tile game that challenges your memory and logic. You can even try it online at sites like mahjongpark.com.
The numbers crossword is actually a French invention although various maths games around the same principle have been popular with European eggheads for centuries. Sudoku is a smart game that helps develop your attention, maths skills and quick reasoning.
6. Real Time Tactics Games
Real time tactics games like Empire, Shogun or Rome: Total War or the like require you to be a fast thinker and a good learner. Knowledge of military tactics is also quite important but don’t worry, if you’re not a scholar of Sun Zu and Tacitus, you will be by the time you’ve learned the ropes.
5. Adventure Games
Adventure games are not dead yet as the nostalgia driven massive Kickstarter success of Double Fine’s latest adventure game has proven. In fact they are making a comeback and a good thing it is, as adventure games are the all time best puzzlers out there, perfect for stimulating your mind.
Wargames are the real-life equivalent of Real Time Tactics Games. Played with little plastic men of the real-world, fantasy or sci-fi variety, tabletop wargames don’t have any save features so you have to be extra careful and extra tactical to make it. As the stakes are higher the skill increases exponentially and, hey, at least you interact with normal people as well…
Another war simulator just like chess or wargames, go has the advantage of being so abstract that it can become an exercise in pure reasoning. The greatest masters of Go are considered the peers of chess Grandmasters but the simple nature of the game calls to another type of player. Go masters are some of the most cerebral and patient people in the world.
2. 4X Games
Videogames in which you have to rule the world are a dime a dozen but very few of them reach the complexity of the true greats, the 4X games. Standing for Explore, Expand, Exploit and Exterminate, 4X games are challenging, especially on higher difficulties but they are a true learning experience, sometimes enough to form the basis of a philosophy.
A lot of people consider TCGs just an expensive hobby, like wargaming but there are hundreds of people who make a living out of the game, there are people playing it professionally at international tournaments with thousand dollar decks. Even at the local level there are thousand of players, some who invest into hundred dollar (or more) cards. Other people might shake their head at investing a lot of money into what amount to plastic cards but true legends of hte game know that the investment is important enough to be deemed necessary and describe the hobby as ‘chess in which you get to bring your own pieces from home.