After skipping a console generation, Brain Age is returning to the Nintendo Switch. There were no Brian Age games on the Nintendo WiiU and only one game released early in the 3DS cycle, but Nintendo revealed in an announcement that Brain Training will come to the Switch in Japan exclusively on December 27.
Brain Age: Train Your Brain In Minutes A Day was a smash hit on its release in 2005, appealing to more than just the gaming market. The games were based on the research of Japanese neuroscientist Ryuta Kawashima, who is also the mascot of the games. His research suggested that people could delay the mental decline of aging by exercising their brain with simple brain-teasers and quizzes. This created the groundwork for the game and attracted an audience much more varied than most games at the time. Brain Age was one of the only games a person could give to their 75-year old grandfather and 5-year old cousin and see both receive the same enjoyment out of their experience.
The game now joins the Switch library, where it utilizes much of the same features it had on the DS games; touch functionality, hand-writing detection, microphone and voice recognition. Additionally, hand gestures will be recognized by using the infrared camera on the right joycon to add more kinds of exercises to the mix.
While the franchise has been absent, the popularity of these kinds of brain exercises has only increased and belief in Kawashima’s studies has only grown. However, more recent studies have started to debunk the idea that these brain-teasers actually delay mental aging and rather just improve your skill in the topic being practiced. This skepticism has caused the Federal Trade Commission to look into the industry, which could be a massive roadblock into localizing the game to the U.S.
Nintendo has stayed clear of any controversy in the creation of these games as they make no direct claims in the benefits of the Brain Age games. Rather, they only claim the games have taken inspiration from Kawashima’s research over the years. Even with Kawashima reprising his role as a ‘tutor’ of sorts for the upcoming Switch release, Nintendo’s focus is creating a fun gameplay experience, which means they probably aren’t worried about the research or its recent findings.