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Best Next-Gen Game? "Brain Training", Says Will Wright

March 12, 2007

During the "Future of Games" speech at Bafta (click here for the transcript), game design supremo Will Wright acknowledged Brain Training/Brain Age as the best game in recent times. Wright praised the game's accessibility, its ability to seduce and include non gamers, as well as its narcissist side: the over-exposed subject of the game is the player.
In fact, Brain Training does not rely uniquely on the "let's make a game that measures and trains player's intelligence" idea. On the contrary, it's quite sophisticated in the way it includes all users. First of all, player time and game time are the same, so that the player does not have to enter a different time when accessing the game. Nor the player has to enter a different space, because the screen surface (and the fact that the DS is opened vertically, as a book) resembles that of a printed product, something that everybody is used to. Also, player is rewarded for short playing sessions, while there is no extra reward for longer sessions - contrary to the 'the more you play, the more you get' hardcore motto. In terms on content, the game features proper tests, but also less intense trainings, and even simple exercises with no right/wrong outcome, so that the player can easily customise his or her game experience within the large space between performance-driven and leisure-driven activities.
Brain Training's subtleties show how to design a game experience for a very large and diverse audience is not a simple effort towards removing 'hardcore' complexities. It is rather an endeavour towards building a sophisticated and consistent game experience that often requires re-discussing some fundamental game design concepts.