Somehow, deep down, we knew all those years of playing the greatest 3D platformer ever made (no, we don't mean Super Mario Odyssey, but that little beauty certainly came close) would pay off because a new report suggests playing Super Mario 64 could help keep your brain fit and healthy (especially in your later years).

No, you haven't lost the plot - Super Mario 64 is actually good for you! The source of this Nintendo-branded healing comes from a new study published by the University of Montreal, where a gaggle of 33 volunteers aged 55 to 75 were split into three groups and each set a different challenge. One group had to learn to play piano on a computer, another didn't have to do anything at all, while a third was tasked with completing the N64 classic in 30 minute sessions over the course of six months.

Can you guess which group ended up with the most positive results? Yup, those attempting to slide their way down Cold, Cold Mountain saw significant growth in grey matter in a parts of the brain known as the cerebellum and the hippocampus (with the former used for control and balance and the latter helps form long-term memories). The theory is 3D platformers are all about learning to navigate a new environment, which can help develop cognitive maps and improve brain function over all.

What do you guys make of this? Are there any other Nintendo games that could help keep your noodle in good nick?

[via journals.plos.org]