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The Top 10 Games for Improving Memory and Cognitive Function

These 10 games are good at helping improve your memory and cognitive function.




The Top 10 Games for Improving Memory and Cognitive Function

This may contradict everything your mother has always told you, but video games are a productive way to spend time.

This doesn’t just apply to the engaging stories or the challenging and entertaining gameplay that brings you plenty of joy. What I am referring to is the skill you learn while you are doing all of that.

Under the hood, video games can help with brain function. They can even help improve muscle memory and cognitive function, which can be really helpful in many parts of your life.

While just about every game can help you improve in these areas, we will highlight five genres that excel in this department.

Along with each genre, we will include two great picks that will help improve muscle memory and cognitive function and are just great games in their own right.

Puzzle Games: Portal & Tetris

Puzzle Games Portal Tetris

Source: PCMag

By completing puzzles in puzzle games, gamers put their brains to work by recognizing patterns, thinking logically, and solving intricate problems under time pressure.

The great thing about puzzle games is that they can and are enjoyed by just about everyone, from the hardcore to the casual. Though puzzle games can be seen as a simple alternative to other games, the mechanics that make them tick are often very deep.

The popularity of mobile games have really caused the genre to skyrocket, ensuring that this fun form of entertainment that also trains your brain sticks around for the foreseeable future.

The two games we chose for this category are Portal and Tetris.

Portal sees players go through increasingly hard puzzles using portals. The game will truly change how you think when problem-solving and have you thinking with portals.

While it is at its core a puzzle game, it is really so much more as it combines storytelling, platforming, and in-depth worldbuilding into a single package.

Tetris is about as old as the genre itself, nearing its 40th birthday. Tetris laid the groundwork for most other puzzle games.

What makes Tetris good for your head spaghetti is that it forces you to think on your toes, figuring out where to place one block, while anticipating the next.

Simulation Games: Rollercoaster Tycoon & Sim City

Simulation Games Rollercoaster Tycoon Sim City

Source: Steam

Simulation games are designed to mimic real world duties. This can include operating a vehicle, managing a business, and more.

Due to these games providing simulations of real-world action, they can help build real-world skills. Simulation games can also teach players about resource management, decision-making, and much more.

Because a lot of these games also require math or number skills to make analysis needed for decisions and actions, they can also improve basic arithmetic.

The two games we have chosen for this category are Rollercoaster Tycoon and Sim City.

Rollercoaster Tycoon allows you to build the theme park of your dreams. The need to manage each ride in real-time while also considering budgeting and other problems that arise, the game can help improve one’s decision-making and management skills.  

Sim City’s benefits on the brain mirror Rollercoaster Tycoon’s. You must manage an ever-growing city while tackling any problems that may arise.

Action Role-Playing Games: Witcher & Mass Effect

Action Role Playing Games Witcher Mass Effect

Source: Polygon

Action role-playing games have you assume the role of a character in a fictional world, in which players must make fast analyses and decisions.

While not incredibly fast-paced, decisions are much deeper as many variables are involved.  Many games within the genre also exercise the player’s inductive reasoning skill.

This is the act of thinking scientifically by hypothesis testing, a fundamental part of learning.

The two games we chose for this genre are the Witcher and Mass Effect.

Both the Witcher and Mass Effect have massive open worlds with deep role-playing elements, leading to players thoughtfully thinking out the creation and development of their character.

Each also has a decision-making aspect that will assist in the development of problem-solving skills.

First-Person Shooters: Doom & Quake

First Person Shooters Doom Quake

Source: Doom Wiki

By playing first-person shooters, players can develop hand-eye coordination. Players must also keep track of enemy position, the speed at which their character moves, and where they are aiming, amongst other variables.

Each moving part must be factored into their head to coordinate their brain’s interpretation and reaction. Players must also think fast, improving decision-making skills in high-stress situations.

The two games we chose for this genre are Doom and Quake.

These two games are the epitome of what makes first-person shooters good for your noggin. Fast-paced combat and numerous enemy types and weapons all function differently and must be used accordingly.

Though more recent games add role-playing elements that would help further improve your brain, these early entries in the genre emphasize the more direct benefits it has.

Strategy Games: Starcraft & Age of Empires

Strategy Games Starcraft Age of Empires

Source: Slant Magazine

Strategy games require you to use your brain to plan, strategize and manage limited resources and logistics.

Players must also be flexible and have to ability to quickly change tactics when the unexpected occurs, just like in the real world. You must analyze and make decisions quickly. Because of this, strategy games may be the most beneficial for improving memory and cognitive function.

The two games we chose for this genre are Starcraft and Age of Empires.

Both pillars of the strategy genre force players to manage resources and make quick analyses and decisions while also making changes on the fly.

ALSO READ: The Top 10 Mobile Puzzle Games to Play on the Go

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