Games that can challenge the brain

Games are as popular as ever. For evidence of that, one need look no further than his or her own smartphone. The number of hours people spend playing games on their smartphones might surprise even the most ardent players.

According to the mobile research firm Apptopia, between May and July of 2018, mobile users spent a whopping 3.38 billion hours playing the wildly popular strategy game “Clash of Clans,” making it the most popular smartphone game in the world during that time period.

Games might be seen as a way to unwind, but some games can potentially do more than merely provide a way to escape the daily grind. Brain teasers, riddles and crossword puzzles are just some of the types of games that can help people engage and challenge their brains while still providing a bit of escapism.

A Healthier Michigan, which is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan and aims to help locals adopt healthier lifestyles, notes that the following exercises, games and platforms can help men and women challenge their brains in unique ways.

• BrainHQ: According to Posit Science, which created the system, BrainHQ (www.aarp.brainhq.com) is a system of training the brain that was developed by neuroscientists and other brain experts. The BrainHQ platform includes various brain training exercises with hundreds of levels that can help people improve their brain function, including memory and retention.

• Writing in the Stars: Similar to a crossword puzzle, this game provides a list of nine words to users, who must then find the six words that connect to from a six-point star before they can move on the next level. Available at www.happy-neuron.com, Writing in the Stars aims to help users improve their logical reasoning.

• Private Eye: With a goal of helping users improve their focused attention and concentration, Private Eye (www.happy-neuron.com) asks players to peruse a grid full of intricate layers and symbols in an effort to find the item that does not belong.

• Braingle: With more than 200,000 members, Braingle (www.braingle.com) is a popular online community where users can go to access brain teasers, trivia quizzes, IQ tests, and more. Users even rank the games, allowing novices to find games that might help them hone certain skills or ease their way into challenging their brains with games.

Millions of people across the globe play games every day. Though players often play games to have fun, they might be helping their brains without even knowing it.

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