There is an old saying: if you rest, you rust. The human brain is just like a machine which will rust without it is used regularly. There are many ways which we can use to keep our brain energetic, such as learning, dancing and doing exercises. But did you know that games can also have the same effect and that this has been proven by many scientists? Studies show that brain training games can boost your IQ and enable you to exercise your mental abilities.
Nowadays brain games are also widely used in elementary schooling to teach children in a playful way. A teacher can use a wide variety of tools to teach mathematics and logical thinking patterns. Parents sometimes buy brain puzzle books for their children in the hope that their children will become smarter.
One of the earliest brain games is the Rubik's Cube (1974). With 54 separate cubes which need to be combined together, the Rubik's Cube is an amazing game which is played world-wide and is known as one of the three miracles in the brain games category, along with “Hua Rongdao” in China and Solitaire in France. The popularity of the Rubik's Cube goes that far that people even hold world-wide tournaments and competitions for it. Everyone wants to complete the cube in as few steps as possible and some of them even find themselves added to this cube, trying over and over to become the best. To become good with the Rubik's Cube you should have a good sense of abstract thinking and also be excellent at coordination. Playing the Rubik's Cube can help cultivate a strategic plan and also boost your confidence because the player must deal with a lot of cubes at the same time. In order to complete the cube, good memory and hands-on work are also required, for that reason, the cube is also used in retirement homes to help the seniors keep their minds active.
“Hua Rongdao”, also known as “Klotski”, was invented by John Harold Fleming in 1932 but only became famous in China in combination with the story of the “Three Kingdoms”. It is a very simple game with ten blocks in a square frame, and the final goal is to remove the largest one from the exit without extracting the other blocks which are different in size. It is a game which has a big emphasis on strategic planning, cooperation and leadership.
Peg Solitaire or Simply Solitaire (not to be confused with the famous card game) can be traced back to the French Revolution (1789-1799). The inventor of Solitaire was a prisoner in Bastille who wanted to create something for fun. Because nobody could play with him in prison, he designed the Solitaire based on traditional chess which requires two players. It is a self-challenge game to train your logical thinking. Solitaire became famous in the 18th century in the United Kingdom and then world-wide. Now, there are different kinds of chess boards for the game. However, the only rule to eliminate the chess man in the chess board is jumping over them. The most well-known one is the round chess board with three horizontal lines and three vertical lines combined into a cross, with 7 holes in each line. At beginning of the game, every hole has a glass ball except the center hole which is used as the starting point. The glass ball has to be used to jump over the other ball to the empty hole wherever in a vertical or horizontal direction. The glass balls will be less and less and the criteria for success are: the less, the better. The record of this game is to just have one ball left in the center hole completed in 18 steps, which was marked as the world record by the University of Cambridge. It is an amazing puzzle which can be used to challenge ones intelligence.
All these games are the roots of the “modern” brain games you can find today on different platforms and devices such as on Facebook or on the App Store. Most of these games use similar methods to challenge the player's logical thinking, short-term memory, mathematics, associative abilities and all try to do it in a fun and engaging way.