Solving simple calculations and reading out loud activate the brain! These activities are included in this software, as well as many other training programs for your brain. I designed this software to include only exercises which aid your brain. Modern imaging tools suggest that they are all quite effective! And now, it's time to start your training!"
Also known as Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training in PAL regions (including Europe), Brain Age is series of "brain training" video games for the Nintendo DS, 3DS, and Switch based on the research of Dr. Ryuta Kawashima.
If you go into the equivalent of "Campaign Mode" in any of these games, you will be expected to take a test from which Dr. Ryuta Kawashima (represented as a talking head) will determine the mental age of your brain. (20 is ideal.) For the original Brain Age, it is to quickly say the color that a word is written in, made slightly trickier because the words are the names of the colors they come in, and the words frequently don't match the color. In Brain Age 2, you are to quickly win or lose games of Rock Paper Scissors verbally. (Why, yes, this game does use the DS mic.) There are also alternate tests for when you cannot speak into the mike. Checks on a file after the first one will include two other tests, as well. The third title for the 3DS, Brain Age: Concentration Training, focuses on very strict and challenging exercises to help vastly increase your concentration. Also known as "Oni Training" or "Devilish Training" because of its Nintendo Hard nature. A fourth title was released in 2020 for the Nintendo Switch.
There are also a wide variety of training exercises to help improve the agility of your brain. You start with three, and get another one unlocked each time you do a training exercise until you have them all unlocked. You can even frequently come face to face with surprise brain activities every time you sign in.
You can do a quick brain-age check with any game in the series, but if you don't have a regular file, Kawashima will only give you a decade range.
The games also have a few minigames that you could play to relax and unwind after a brain training session. The first game came with lots of Sudoku puzzles. The second game came with lots more Sudoku puzzles and added Virus/Germ Buster, a touch-based remake of Dr. Mario. The third game took away Sudoku, but added Blob Blast, a touch-based remake of Wario's Woods (particularly the NES version).
- Author Avatar: Dr. Kawashima.
- Bragging Rights Reward: the stamps, after you've unlocked everything. You get one for each day you do a training exercise, and it gets bigger if you do three in a day.
- But Thou Must!: In Concentration Training, when you start "Devilish Training" mode for the first time, Dr. Kawashima asks if you are ready for the training. "Yes!" and "No" buttons appear on the touch screen, but the "No" button is smaller, and attempting to touch it causes it to move, eventually hiding behind the "Yes!" button.
- Declarative Finger: Concentration Training adds hands for Dr. Kawashima to use when needed, thus this trope tends to happen often.
- Denser and Wackier: Concentration Training is a bit quirkier than the first two games.
- Easter Egg: Brain Age 2 has a game that is unlabeled until you click on the bar it's under. And saying either "Doctor Ryuta Kawashima" or Brain Age 2 makes the title screen of that game much more interesting.
- If you say "Hello" to the good doctor, he will smile and nod back. If you say "Glasses glasses!", his glasses will fly off his face and he will frantically look for them.
- In Concentration Training, pressing L or R at the title screen will toss soybeans at the doctor's headnote . You can rotate his head using the gyroscope and hit different parts of his head to yield different reactions. If you get a soybean up each of his nostrils at the same time, he'll congratulate you for it.
- In the Switch title, if you get a low score (Walking Speed) and tap the stick person, you'll hear a whistled version of "Jump Up, Super Star!".
- Easy Level Trick: The Stroop test can be cheated by holding your DS upside-down. Of course, it kinda defeats the purpose of the test, so don't do it if you want an accurate brain age score.
- You can cheat the Number Memory test by taking a picture of the screen and then immediately going to filling out the answers.
- Game-Breaking Bug:
- The first Brain Age has a game that is supposed to test how fast you read. But the DS has no way to test if you are reading it before you move on — there's no reading comprehension test. It will kick you out if you go to the next page too quickly (claiming "you were reading too fast I couldn't do the fancy brain measure stuff"), but then some people actually do read that fast... Similarly, the "speed counting" test doesn't have any way to make sure you actually said the numbers (though, again, it tries).
- Let's just say the handwriting recognition is... less than perfect.
- Game Within a Game: In addition to Sudoku, Virus Buster, and Blob Blast, the game also includes three variations of Solitaire (Klondike, Spider and Golf) and Shisen-sho Mahjong solitaire as part of its Brain Training series of activities.
- Japanese Ranguage: Many American players found themselves having to say "Broo" when the game wanted them to speak "Blue" into the mic.
- Minigame Game: Especially the third game.
- New Technology is Evil: Brain Age: Concentration Training opens with a lecture that information-driven technology such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops cause poor concentration, which Dr. Kawashima calls "information addiction". Of course, he adds that technology isn't the only thing that affects concentration negatively.
- Nintendo Hard: from Brain Age 2, the Hard difficulty of "Sign Finder," in which you are to enter the correct signs into a math problem — on Hard, you have to enter three signs, and the problems get correspondingly interesting for the mathematically inept. (It's hard to fill in the sign fast if you have no clue what the answer is.)
- Also, "Word Blend," which (after the first round) has you fill in multiple spoken words spoken at the same time into the blanks correctly. You get more than one chance per round, but only the first one counts for the scoring. And since the DS is a portable system, its speaker separation is lousy...
- Devilish Training is supposed to be a collection of hard challenges.
- Shout-Out: One of the phrases in the Syllable counter is "Thank you, Mario, but Your Princess Is in Another Castle!."
- Training from Hell: Devilish Training