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Thanks for the Memories - brain trainer review 

Ever wondered what a brain trainer has to offer you, then this article will help you find the best trainer for you.

Thanks for the memories

During January and February gyms are at their busiest all over the UK, but since the sweaty, testosterone-filled atmosphere doesn't appeal to me, I thought l would flex my mental muscles instead. Although brain trainers are getting a mixed press at the moment, keeping your brain active and agile seems to be acknowledged as a good idea. The products I were, on the whole, great fun however they are a relatively quick fix.  You can very quickly 'learn' how to be good at the games that you train on and, as soon as the element of challenge goes, they do get a bit repetitive.  If you have a thirst for knowledge on an ongoing basis you might find that the Open University (www.open.ac.uk ) might be more rewarding. You could even end with a whole new career instead of just getting square eyes from staying up too late playing with your brain trainer.

MindFit from Mind Weavers
MindFit - Who and Where level
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MindFit £89.99 from Mind Weavers

MindFit comes in beautifully thought out packaging.  Aimed very clearly at the older market, the software isn't cheap at £89.99.

I began with an extensive assessment, which identified my 3 weakest attributes from a list of 14, I was ready to be improved. The tasks are quite different to the other packages and really do make you think, but the graphics are fairly poor and look just like clipart. Some are also quite hard to identity especially the different types of lizard or  shoes!!.

After the initial session, each time you train, you are shown your performance for that particular task in a section called 'Results of The Day'.  I must be a very poor example because no matter how hard I tried I invariably did worse than my original evaluation.  Or rather I think I did because the real letdown of this package was that your results and therefore your progress is not saved. Not being able to see progress you very quickly get bored and lose motivation. We all like a competitive element in a game even if we are only competing against ourselves and it also gives us a measure of how successful the software is by showing how it can improve our minds - a real missed opportunity.

The MindFit programme has an upper limit on the number of times you can train  and be evaluated (sufficient for a year so we are told) and apparently top ups may be in the pipeline for the future. For my money this package is a bit expensive and not as well thought through as it might be.

Score: 5/10

More Brain Training - Start Page More Brain Training - Symbols
More Brain Training - Hand over the change
More Brain Training - Start Page Training - Game
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Nintendo DS with Dr Kawashima's More Brain Training £16.98 from Amazon

What really impressed me with this package was how easy both the Nintendo DS and the software were to use. You simply turn it on and touch the screen.  Dr Kawashima  measures your brain age through games and helps you to train yourself to do better.  I started at 68 went down to 31, up to 47 (when I tested myself first thing in the morning) and settled around 30.  I was very proud of my achievements and very motivated to keep going because you unlock new games the more days you train.

Dr K offers encouragement  and explains your progress in a friendly way but he does go on a bit.  I'm sure you eventually get bored of the games but there are other packages to try in the range such as 'More Brain Training'.

While older people may not naturally gravitate to Nintendo, programmes like these certainly open a whole new market to the brand.  However I'm not sure what it did for

my memory - I can't tell you how many times I put down the stylus and lost it!!

Score: 9/10

Avanquest Ninja Brain Workout
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Avanquest Ninja Brain Workout £19.98 from Amazon

Ninja Brain Workout is a collection of eight highly addictive PC games which are designed to to entertain and exercise the brain including Sudoku and Solitaire.  Addictive it certainly is but not in a developmental way because it doesn't really measure your achievement in any way.  It's not a bad price for a bit of fun.

6/10

Ojom Mobile IQ trainer
Click image to enlarge

Mobile IQ trainer from Ojom £4.50 from Jamster

DO you get bored on the train? At the bus stop? Waiting for friends? Then this

brain trainer is for you. While it may not have functionality you get from a computer, it does offer some fun tests to try including arithmetic, algebra, spatial thinking, memory, and logic puzzles.  I found the graphics on my phone sometimes hard to read and the instructions were in a very spiny font.

This is not a serious brain training product but it is great fun to have, nevertheless, and is very reasonably priced

Score: 7/10

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