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?
Well I guess all of my 3D Mario experience will pay off one day.
Super Monkey Ball is supposed to be good too so my brain should be just fine!
I feel like I should be a genious by now... and I think Odyssey is a bit better, but I get your point
That's amazing and actually makes sense when you think about it.
Just Super Mario 64? Doubt it. That game is overrated.
Nice. At this point I think all of us on this site are pretty safe then. 😎
I’ll never have it then i guess! Ivr beaten this game thousands of Time
Super Mario 64 was already dethroned years ago.
But, what if those peoples are still stubborn with their mindset about gaming, that gaming are not supposed to be played at their age ( 50 aboves) ?
There are tons of peoples with Archaic mindset still thinking gaming = for kids or for weirdo, and they refuse to open their mind (status quo).
I'd love this to be true, but the truth at the moment is that no-one has any idea of the exact pathology of Alzheimer's. The medications target amyloid plaques, but those amyloid plaques are found in the brains of healthy individuals aswell. Something else is going on and research is at a basic level still. Finding a cure or way to protect the brain from atrophy is therefore not possible at present. 33 volunteers is not a representative sample. We're way too far off. Keeping brain and body active is about the best we can do as a stab at a way to prevent this disease.
I'd love this to be true, but I fear that it just isn't.
My wife has always told me playing video games is good for me and my brain. I always thought she was just being nice and supportive of my hobby.
As usual, she was right all along!
As good as it is, still saying Super Mario 64 is the greatest 3D platformer of all time makes it painfully obvious you've got nostalgia glasses.
It was replaced in 2007.
The 2007 king was then replaced in 2017.
All hail the Odyssey.
Never beaten Super Mario 64 oh well guess I’m going to have Alzheimers.
As a science major, this article was very interesting. Thanks Dom and Nintendolife! Also thanks for linking the research article, I'll try to read it through when I get a chance.
I was so envy to hear your story about your wife mindset.
Because some peoples around me especially 40 years above still think gaming = bad hobby, childish hobby, and they completely refuse to open their mind when i try to explain the benefit from video gaming. They never consider gaming is fit for them, they even ask me to Stop playing video games just because i was grown up, grown up are suppose to find wife or husband, build family life, forget playing video games, etc. That was very Pathetic mindset, completely Absurb and Stupid. I feel sick with those peoples, and they are from my family relatives and some of my co-worker in my school. And one thing, it seems Asian people like me was built in very Archaic manners, contrary with Western peoples that tends to be more Liberal than Archaic.
Well, a study's a study, I suppose... I always felt that videogames in general are one of the best hobbies/habits a person can have to keep their mind fit (and there's tons of destructive things that can be done in place of it). Here's to hoping this study leads to more positives for gaming in general.
I'm glad to hear about video gaming is a good hobby.
But, why still are some people keep refuse to open their mindset about video gaming ?
There have been other studies in the past that have shown 3d platformers to increase grey matter, especially in the hippocampus. But when they compared groups playing only action/shooter games with the group playing the platformers, they actually had shrinkage in those brain areas. The theory most of the studies came up with was that you use different learning and memory strategies to navigate those different games. 3d platformers favor visual memory navigation, but shooters usually have on screen navigation and encourage reaction/reward based learning. In other words, you kind of go on auto pilot while playing. But platformers force your brain to solve the levels by building a mental model of the environment.
Oh god, the usual load of bollox about videogames curing cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer - why? Cos we can sell some more videogames. Like in the 50s when there were proper doctors praising the therapeutic potential of cigarettes and heroin.
We know that any kind of mental excercise (simple maths, puzzles) can keep the brain fit, but Alzheimer is one of the worst and darkest mysteries of the human brain and certainly won't be cured by playing a 3D platformer from the mid-90s. Grandma died in 2008 of Alzheimer after spending 20 years watching me playing games all day - she would be still alive if this were true.
After videogames almost becoming part of the Olympics and videogames curing fatal deseases, I wonder what else they'll come up with to make videogames even more central and sellable in our society. Perhaps the next stupid research will prove that videogames can enlarge your genitalia, who knows.
What you don't acknowledge is that many people in that age group were early gamers. It wasn't babies in utero who were pressing those buttons and helped gaming become what it is today.
Older people are just like anyone else: different from each other. Irony intended.
You are totally correct. But anything that may improve the quality of life is to be explored.
Super Mario 64 was the first game I bought with my own money back in the day, on the first console I ever owned. To this day, I still dust off the DS port every now and then. Definitely a great excuse to keep on gaming well in to my golden years (beyond the simple fact that gaming is just amazing fun)!
Forget mushroom growth...Mario is better for brain growth!
@k8sMum you know, learning music or creative writing can have tremendous impact on the brain and on quality of life in general.
Unfortunately, music teaching or writing aren't "packages" that can be sold for 50 quid a pop. I like videogames as a hobby but I don't want games to be sold like Grandpa Simpson's miraculous tonic.
I loathe a future where all people do is playing videogames - no art, no sports - but that's where we are heading at the moment.
Please exercise regularly. This will improve blood flow to the brain and will be FAR more beneficial than these so-called brain games.
@james_squared Or you can do both.
@NinNin The real tricky part is doing both at the same time. I know I have a lot of trouble playing Sudoku while mountain biking. Damn near put a 9 in the wrong square!
Real talk, playing games with wireless controllers while walking or running on the treadmill is an easy way to squeeze that regular exercise in while gaming, if your treadmill is set up in front of or near a monitor/TV.
@TrixieSparkle I have done this on a number of occasions.
I also agree with the study but more because of the saying “ use it, or lose it”. If you don’t keep your brain active, then it’s not going to be there for you later. I’ve always said that video games are better for you then sitting, mindlessly watching tv shows.
I'm an artist, primarily portraits. I've managed to do that, be married, raise 2 kids and occasionally game.
Not everyone is capable of playing sports. My daughter had leukemia from the age of 14 til 19. She had dreams of being a writer and was quite talented. We were often in hospital for weeks at a time, once for 3 months. I took her GameCube and games with us. They had a couple of systems, but not enough for all the kids to get to use them. Cait always brought whatever iteration of gameboy she had at the time. It was a distraction for us both and stimulation for her chemo brain and my worried to distraction brain.
Most people with Alzheimer's are unable to hike, play hockey etc. I'm sure this is only one aspect being explored.
If people are less well-rounded today, imho, it's more the fault of social media.
@memoryman3 dude, 64 is way better than Odyssey
An excuse to play video games when I retire, even if it will be a couple of decades
" 3d platformers favor visual memory navigation, but shooters usually have on screen navigation and encourage reaction/reward based learning. In other words, you kind of go on auto pilot while playing. But platformers force your brain to solve the levels by building a mental model of the environment."
I should tell to my students about benefit by playing 3D Platformer games.
Btw, how about benefit by playing Rhythm games like Dance Dance Revolution ?
Good thing I play SM64 regularly then.
Just like Wii Fit solved the obesity epidemic!
@SimplyCinnamon53 Don't worry, you won't know it. 😁
Well, it's a good thing that platformers and puzzle games are already my two favorite game genres.
Awesome, still the best Mario game in my opinion.
Stop press: Dec 11, 2017
Major cause of dementia discovered
The latest paper by the scientists, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that Huntington's Disease - one of seven major types of age-related dementia - is directly linked to brain urea levels and metabolic processes.
Their 2016 study revealing that urea is similarly linked to Alzheimer's, shows, according to Professor Cooper, that the discovery could be relevant to all types of age-related dementias.
The Huntington's study also showed that the high urea levels occurred before dementia sets in, which could help doctors to one day diagnose and even treat dementia, well in advance of its onset.
@Anti-Matter I’m not sure. The studies I read about only compared shooters with 3d platformers. But I think some types of dedicated “brain traing” games have been assesed to be ineffective, at least in what they claim to do. I play video because they are fun. But I think we benefit the most from having alot of new things to learn, which can include video games, but definitely needs to inlude lots of other stuff.
@kenzo Thanks for that. I'd heard about the Huntington's progress, but not that it had been linked to dementia as well. Could be a very promising lead in any case and added to the work on the glymphatic system, maybe we're finally getting somewhere.
I’m intrigued to know how many of them actually beat it in that amount of time. That being said, I’m intrigued to see what retirement homes looks like in the future... I imagine the recreation room will be filled with video games.
@Whopper744 I truly believe Super Mario Odyssey is a great exercise in brain stimulation, change up of the puzzles, environments, and how to overcome obstacles require a great deal of out of the box thinking.
@StarSurfer I believe it. Sorry if I sounded a bit like a smart elec. Definitely took some thought to get through it!
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