FAQ by JWishnov

Version: 1.2 | Updated: 06/23/06 | Printable Version

*************Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day**************
                           By: Jason Wishnov

I.	Introduction

II.	Concept

III.	Brain Age Tests
	a.	Word Memory
	b.	Stroop Test
	c.	Speed Counting
	d.	Connect Maze
	e.	Number Cruncher
	f.	Calculations x20

IV.	Training Exercises
	a.	Calculations x20
	b.	Calculations x100
	c.	Reading Aloud
	d.	Low to High
	e.	Syllable Count
	f.	Head Count
	g.	Triangle Math
	h.	Time Lapse
	i.	Voice Calculation

V.	Sudoku

VI.	Unlockables

VII.	Frequently Asked Questions

VIII.	Legal Information


I. Introduction

     Welcome to the wonderful world of Brain Age. I, Jason Wishnov, 
have embarked on the crucial task of aiding Doctor Kawashima to help 
you hone your mental capacities to their razor sharp peaks. My previous 
contributions include FAQs for Super Monkey Ball and Super Monkey Ball 
2, which are excellent games, so be sure to use those guides as well. 
On with the show!


II. Concept

	Brain Age is the latest in Nintendo’s odd series of “non-games” 
for the Nintendo DS. Like Nintendogs and Electroplankton (and possibly 
Animal Crossing: Wild World) before it, the game defies the traditional 
idea of a video game and attempts to attract many people who would deem 
themselves as “non-gamers”. The concept is simple enough: get players 
to engage in simple mental exercises to increase cognition, memory, 
clarity of thought, and decision making abilities.
	The game is based off of the research of Japanese neurologist 
Ryuta Kawashima (whose floating head guides you through the game). 
Though there are conflicting reports on whether or not the game 
actually hones one’s mental abilities, the general consensus is that it 
does have some effect, even if only that of a placebo. In any case, 
it’s enjoyable for those who enjoy puzzles and mental challenges, and 
at a bargain price of only twenty dollars, it’s a good deal of fun. 
Heck, Sudoku alone is worth it.


III. Brain Age Tests

	In order to show one’s progress and encourage a bit of 
competitiveness between friends, the game measures something called a 
“Brain Age”. This statistic is based off of the test results of 
hundreds of different players of different ages; your results are then 
checked against those test subjects, and a score is given. Twenty is 
deemed as the best Brain Age score, and the maximum is considered 80+. 
The game compiles your Brain Age scores each time you take it, and 
displays the results in a nice graph with which you can check your 
overall progress.

	The Brain Age Test (in regular Training Mode) will consist of 
three randomly chosen tests, even though the Stroop Test will 
automatically be included if the “I can speak” option is chosen. A 
quick Brain Age check will only consist of the Stroop Test, and won’t 
even bother asking if you’re in a quiet place to do so. 

	Holding select while choosing “Brain Age Check” will allow you to 
choose any three specific tests you desire.

	Following are the possible tests for a Brain Age check.

a.	Word Memory

	Explanation: Word Memory is (probably) the longest in duration of 
the six Brain Age tests, and requires a great deal of concentration. A 
list of 30 four-letter words appears on the two screens. You have two 
minutes to memorize these words, and then three minutes to recall and 
transcribe as many of those words as you can remember. You may hit 
select before the two minutes are up to advance to the writing phase, 
and select during that phase to end the test.

	Tips: As this test is comprised almost solely of rote 
memorization, you should probably use any memorization techniques that 
have worked for you in the past. Try to make sentences using several of 
the words, or simply relate two of them to make remembering both easier 
(“snow” and “ball”, for example). Another good technique is to ignore 
the last five or six words as you study, and with ten seconds left, 
repeatedly say out loud those words in order. Keep saying them as the 
writing screen appears, and write those five or six down immediately. 
You may then proceed to the words you had been studying during first 
minute and fifty seconds. Letter recognition can also be troublesome; 
use capital k’s, b’s and d’s with high stems, and be sure to dot your 
i’s and j’s.

	My personal best: 26 words.

b.	Stroop Test

	Explanation: The Stroop Test was originally conceived by one John 
Ridley Stroop in 1935. For more information, go to 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroop_test. In any case, words will be 
shown on either of the two screens. The word will be that of a color, 
but written in the ink of another color. For instance, the word “Black” 
might be written in yellow. You need to speak the name of the color 
that the word is written in, not the word itself, into the microphone 
on the bottom of the DS. The test will continue until fifty correct 
answers have been given.

	Tips: Practice makes perfect, I’m afraid. Initially, your brain 
will have trouble adjusting to this odd test, but as time goes on, your 
speed should dramatically increase. One odd caveat is the recognition 
of the word “Blue”, which seems to be inconsistent at best. You should 
hold the DS microphone about a foot to a foot and a half away from the 
mouth, and speaking volume should be fairly average. Try to avoid 
ambient noise. Others have suggested pronouncing blue as “broo” or 
“baloo”, and still others have suggested saying the word as you would a 
question, as in, “blue?” Find out what works for you.

	My personal best: 51 seconds. 

c.	Speed Counting

	Explanation: One of the lamest tests in Brain Age, this test will 
have you count as quickly as possible from one to a hundred twenty. The 
game will not attempt to do any voice recognition, so you need to be 
trustworthy in saying when you’re complete.

	Tips: Attempt to pronounce each number individually, and not 
slur. While mental attention may slip while counting, try to focus on 
the numbers 60-69 and 100-120, as these tend to give people to most 

	My personal best: 29 seconds.

d.	Connect Maze

	Explanation: The letters A-M and numbers 1-13 are laid out 
randomly on the touch screen. You need to connect them in the order A-
1-B-2-C-3, and so on. You cannot lift the stylus from the screen, and 
try not to touch any other letter or number than the next one in the 
pattern. Doing so will not constitute a time penalty, but the circles 
will block your progress.

	Tips: As silly as sounds, know the first thirteen letters of the 
alphabet inside and out. Keep the next two or three circles in mind so 
that you always know what you’re searching for. Also, as you hit a 
target, start the search for the next circle as that point and move 
outward. As you move outward, move your stylus along with your eyes, so 
that when you find it, you’re that much closer. It sounds a little odd, 
but it works quite well.

	My personal best: 29 seconds.

e.	Number Cruncher

	Explanation: Several numbers (up to fifteen) will appear, in 
different values, colors, and motions. Questions will then be asked 
relating to those numbers, which you must answer as quickly as 
possible. Questions include how many numbers of a certain color there 
are, how many numbers of a certain value there are, how many numbers 
are shown sliding, and how many are shown pulsing.

	Tips: Incorrect answers will count HEAVILY against you, a costly 
twenty seconds each, so take care to answer correctly. However, an 
interesting quirk of the game is that if you input an incorrect answer, 
there will be a short delay until that number is placed in the answer 
box on the other screen. Once you get used to this, you can quickly 
erase any incorrect answer before the game counts it against you. Use 
this technique to answer quickly and correctly.

	My personal best: 52 seconds.

f.	Calculations x20

	Explanation: A rapid-fire succession of twenty simple math 
questions. Only addition, subtraction, and multiplication are used in 
the Brain Age Check mode, and no digit in the question will exceed 
nine, making 9x9 = 81 the highest possible answer.

	Tips: As in Number Cruncher, there will be a slight delay in the 
game if you input an incorrect answer, so use this to quickly erase any 
erroneous responses. Always keep your eyes on the next problem, so you 
have the answer ready to write down as soon as possible. You may also 
need to modify your handwriting; I personally had to change the way I 
wrote 4’s, and people have been known to have trouble with 7’s and 8’s 
as well. 

	My personal best: 13.10 seconds.


IV. Training Exercises

	In order to work your brain, Dr. Kawashima encourages you to do 
several training exercises each day to help improve your mental skills. 
Only three are available at first, but as you obtain stamps, you’ll 
unlock more (see the unlockables section, further down). Only one 
training exercise per day is enough to earn a stamp, but three in a day 
will make your stamp larger. Yay!

a.	Calculations x20

	This game is identical to the Calculations x20 found in Brain Age 
Check. For specifics, refer to Section III, Part f...or rather, about 
twenty-five lines up.

b.	Calculations x100

	Explanation: Another rapid-fire succession of math questions, but 
five times as long. There is also a “Hard Mode” of this exercise, which 
simply inputs division questions as well as the standard addition, 
subtraction, and multiplication.
	Tips: Once again, note that any incorrect answer will have a 
telltale delay, so erase anything that doesn’t immediately appear as an 
answer. Calculations x100 tends to lead to a loss of mental focus at 
some point, so do your best to avoid distractions and keep your mind 
focused on the game. Incorrect answers don’t hurt here as much as they 
do in Calculations x20, but try to keep them to a minimum.

	My personal best: 1 minute 10 seconds.

c.	Reading Aloud

	Explanation: You are to read a passage aloud from some of the 
finest literature (in English) throughout the ages. Though the game 
says you can “read to yourself” if you desire, I strongly discourage 
it, as it’s difficult to truly measure yourself this way. As with Speed 
Counting, there is no way for the game to truly check how well you’re 
performing, so be honest with yourself.

	Tips: The vocabulary in many of these passages can be rather 
advanced, so if you come across a word you don’t know...well, look it 
up on dictionary.com. There’s isn’t much I can say here, just read as 
fast as you can.

d.	Low to High

	Explanation: Probably my favorite Training Exercise, this program 
has you take a quick glimpse at a collection of numbers, then asks you 
to repeat those numbers from lowest to highest based on their position. 
The game starts with four numbers; it will increase by one number for 
every correct sequence, and decrease by one number for every incorrect 
sequence. After ten, it goes directly to twelve, though I am currently 
unsure what happens when twelve is successfully cleared.

	Tips: Get a photographic memory? Simple practice is what seems to 
have increased my score. In the short time you have, try not to start 
going up from the lowest number (you’ll never have time to finish that 
on the higher sequences), but to take a sort of “mental snapshot”, and 
work it out from there. It takes practice, trust me.

	My personal best: 48

e.	Syllable Count

	Explanation: The game will provide several short sentences, and 
you will be tasked with counting the number of syllables contained 
therein. Nothing too complex here.

	Tips: Reading through the sentence while counting in your head 
can throw people off, so the best method is to use your fingers to 
count off. Start on your thumb (or pinky) and cycle through the five 
fingers, and know what multiple of five you’re on. “Rocket” times 
aren’t very difficult to obtain in this game, so you should be fine.

f.	Head Count

	Explanation: a certain number of people will start off in a 
house. Then, several people will enter and exit the house in turn, as 
you keep track of the total number of people still inside. In Hard 
Mode, people will enter or exit through the chimney as well, which 
makes it much harder to keep track of.

	Tips: In the last couple sets, people will leave and enter at the 
same time. Instead of modifying the total count twice (or three times, 
in Hard Mode), try to find out the net change in the round, and THEN 
modify your total count. So, if there are six people in the house, and 
three people leave and two more enter, don’t bring the count down to 
three and then back to five. Realize that the net gain was minus 1, and 
just modify the count directly from six to five. It comes in handy on 
faster levels.

	My personal best: 5/5 (on Hard Mode)

g.	Triangle Math

	Explanation: Three numbers will appear on the top screen. Two 
intermediate calculations will net two more numbers, and then a final 
calculation will yield the answer. The only operations are addition and 
subtraction, but careful attention to negative numbers is required. 
Hard Mode will have four numbers at the top, which greatly increases 
the difficulty.

	Tips: The first half of the exercise consists solely of 
additions, so understand that the final answer will be the first number 
plus the third number plus two times the middle number (For the all-
addition Hard Mode questions, the formula is the first number plus the 
last number plus three times the sum of the middle two numbers). This 
will save you the intermediate steps. Brush up on your negative numbers 
if you’re rusty, and say the intermediate results out loud if you find 
yourself forgetting them mid-problem.

	My personal best: 29 seconds.

h.	Time Lapse

	Explanation: Two analog clocks will be shown with specific times 
on each. You need to determine how much time has passed, in hours and 
minutes, from the first to the second.

	Tips: It’s important to keep in mind that the second clock in one 
set will become the first clock in the next, so you don’t need to read 
that time again. Try to separate the process of finding the difference 
in hours and the difference in minutes, as it makes one harder problem 
into two easier ones. Practice your clock reading, as today’s age of 
digital nonsense has probably weakened your skills.

	My personal best: 1 minute 17 seconds

i.	Voice Calculation

	Explanation: Similar to Calculations x20 and x100, except that 
now you respond with your voice. There are fifty calculations in this 
version, and other minor differences as well. Division problems are 
automatically included, and answers can only be in the range of zero 
through nine. Wrong answers will not count against you, since the game 
realizes that voice recognition isn’t perfect.

	Tips: Nothing much to say here. Speak clearly and at medium 
volume in a relatively quiet place for the best results, and try to get 
a rhythm going. Always look at the next problem and work out the answer 
before it’s time to speak it. Good luck!

	My personal best: 1 minute 1 second


V. Sudoku

	Ah, Sudoku. This Japanese puzzle game has grown to a cultural 
icon in the last few years, taking the world by storm. The rules are 
simple: fill out a 9 by 9 grid with the numbers 1-9, so that each 
column, row, and 3 x 3 square only has one of each digit.

	Brain Age’s Sudoku interface is extremely streamlined, vastly 
superior to pen and paper. The ability to erase or overwrite any 
answer, as well as make numerous easy-to-read notes, makes it seem as 
though DS was designed purely for such a task.

	To start off, you only have access to the Beginner and 
Intermediate puzzles, each with four tutorials and 36 puzzles each. I 
recommend reading through the tips of each difficulty level, and then 
completing the four tutorials. Make sure you understand HOW the answer 
came about in the tutorial puzzles, or the point is lost. There are 
plenty of Sudoku websites out there featuring insane strategies and 
tips, so I’ll leave all that to them. Practice and experience make a 
big difference in Sudoku.

	To unlock the Advanced difficulty, you need to either complete an 
Intermediate puzzle in less than ten minutes, or complete 42% of all 
Sudoku puzzles (Hitchhiker reference?). If you get frustrated and don’t 
want to wait, run an Intermediate puzzle to its near-conclusion, and 
copy the answers on a sheet of paper. Complete the puzzle and do it 
again; it should only take two or three minutes.


VI. Unlockables

	Here are the unlockables for Brain Age.

Unlock Low-to-High Training Exercise:			1 stamp
Unlock Syllable Count Training Exercise:		2 stamps
Unlock Head Count Training Exercise:			3 stamps
Unlock Tips Option:					5 stamps
Unlock Stamp Designer Mode:				7 stamps
Unlock Hard Mode for Head Count:			9 stamps
Unlock Hard Mode for Calculations x100:			11 stamps
Unlock Triangle Math Training Exercise:			13 stamps
Unlock Time Lapse Training Exercise:			15 stamps
Unlock Hard Mode for Triangle Math:			17 stamps
Unlock Voice Calculation Training Exercise:		20 stamps

Unlock Advanced Sudoku: Complete an intermediate puzzle in less than 
ten minutes. Though there may be another method, it is unconfirmed at this time.

Unlock Brain Age Check Select Mode: Hold down the Select button while 
choosing Brain Age Check.

Unlock Top 3 High Scores List: Hold down the Select button while 
choosing Graph.


VII.	Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some trigger words that make Dr. Kawashima do funny things?

A: Actually, the only trigger word is “Glasses glasses”, which makes 
him lift his glasses up and freak out. All other words will get either 
a frown or a laugh, randomly.

Q: Know any other Easter Eggs?

A: As a matter of fact, I do. You can tap on any of the “grade” 
animations (Walking, Bicycle, Car, Train, etc.) to get a funny sound 
effect...the best, though, is definitely the walking guy, who will 
whistle a few notes of the Super Mario Bros. theme song.

Q: Why is my Brain Age so high? I’m young!

A: Ah, but real age has nothing to do with it. Brain Age is merely a 
measure of how quickly your brain was able to deal with the presented 
tasks, and as such, you may be far older or younger than your true age. 
Keep working, though, and your B.A. should drop quickly.

Q: Level with me. Does this game REALLY make your brain function 

A: This game has brought out my own latent ESP abilities, so at the 
very least, it should make you a little quicker at doing simple math 

Q: These aren’t real questions that anybody asked, are they?

A: No.

Q: I love your writing.

A: Thank you.


VIII. Legal Information

       Want permission to use my FAQ? No problem! Just ask me, and I’m 
sure I won’t have any objections. Just ask. ‘Kay?

     Copyright 2006 Jason Wishnov, blah blah blah. You know the deal. 
Don’t steal my stuff.