A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game requires that players be able to read, understand money, and do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; this is not a good fit for kids younger than 8. With younger children, you may need to explain how to play the games under the "Think" category. Because this is played using a stylus on the DS touch-sensitive screen, it's an easy game for parents or other video game newbies to learn how to play. Overall, it's a terrific game for families to play together.
What's it about?
The premise behind BIG BRAIN ACADEMY, Nintendo's second title that promotes \"exercising\" your brain, is that you are competing for the \"Biggest Brain,\" a designation determined by how well you perform on the provided tests. Tests are made up of five one-minute Mini games drawn from a pool of 15 games and divided into five categories: Memorize, Identify, Compute, Analyze, and Think. Your test score is given in terms of grams -- the more grams your brain weighs, the smarter you are. In the Memorize category, one of the games flashes numbers on the screen and you punch those numbers into an on-screen calculator using the stylus. In one of the Identify games, you examine a grid of objects to find matching pairs. Under the Compute category, you will answer math problems that are written (\"thirteen plus eight is\"); and under the Analyze category you will have to determine the number of cubes in a picture. At the end of a one-minute game, you receive a score and if you missed any, you can review those questions and retry them.
Is it any good?
To compete against family members or friends, you only need one software cartridge, but as many Nintendo DS units as you have players. Parents and kids can go head-to-head answering the same questions to see whose brain is bigger. Since this game is easy to learn and tests skills adults are comfortable with, this is a good way for parents who have not played video games with their kids to jump in.
The brain scoring seems a little wacky but most of our testers were able to add weight to their brains the more they played. These games require players to know how to read, understand money, and do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; so this is not a good fit for those under 8 years of age. It is good for friends and family looking for a video game to play together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about which of the 15 games they like best and why. Do you think you are getting smarter by playing these games?
Can you think of real-life jobs where math computations are a part of the job? Does the educational aspect of the games make you feel good about playing or does it feel more like homework?
- Platforms: Nintendo DS
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading, spelling
Math: arithmetic, sequences, shapes
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, memorization, problem solving
- Price: $19.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: June 15, 2006
- Genre: Educational
- ESRB rating: E
For kids who love thinking games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.