For as long as they have existed, video games have been thought to be a detriment to society, a scourge of the youth, scheming together with the its villainous conspirator 'Television' to rot the minds of our children. This has been the stereotype of games for quite some time, and if you look at the top 100 selling video games of all time, including every parent's worst nightmare 'Grand Theft Auto' you would see that the stereotype exists for a reason. However, this is all starting to change. But what video game company would man the ship to fight against the preconceived notions of excessively violent and un-educational video games? If you know anything about successful innovation in the video game industry you'll be able to figure it out. The answer is: Nintendo.
Since the dawn of video games, Nintendo has been pushing the boundaries of conventional gaming. In an attempt to take back their throne from mega power hitters like Sony and Microsoft that use stunning visuals and power to attract their young, impressive audiences, Nintendo is trying something different. As a part of their 'games for all ages' campaign Nintendo is attempting to show that video games aren't just for kids. Not only can adults play them, but adults should play them due to the health and mental benefits that the games provide. The first game released under these notions was Tetris about twenty years ago which has proved an eternal classic. More recently however, for the Nintendo DS system is 'Brainage,' which provided thinking based puzzles that promised if played once a day, would help maintain your intelligence levels as you age. Nintendo's latest game gives similar promises, in a form that is a little more familiar to adults, through a vehicle equally as foreign to them unless their children leave their toys and games in the back seat of the mini-van all the time.
On April 26 video game publisher Mastiff shipped 'Dr. Sudoku' for Gameboy Advance to thousands of major retailers across North America. 'Dr. Sudoku' is the electronic version of the puzzle phenomenon that is sweeping the nation. For those of you unfamiliar with the Sudoku puzzle fad, let me explain. Sudoku looks like a math problem, but it's not. The rules are simple: start with a grid consisting of nine three-by-three squares in which some of the numbers are already supplied. Fill in the blank squares so that each column, row, and three-by-three grid contains a number from 1 to 9 with none repeated.
I personally am not a puzzle fan, but once I started playing this game I found it hard to put it down. I had little experience with Sudoku puzzles before, but something about pen and ink puzzles disturbs me, and after play I found the game seems much more suited in an electronic form. Instead of having to frustratingly erase your pencil markings, or more impossible, erase your pen markings, on your morning newspaper in an attempt to finish your Sudoku puzzle, the Gameboy version makes it much easier to change your incorrect answers.
Dr. Sudoku features 1,000 hand created puzzles, Original Mode, which allows you to create your own Sudoku puzzles, a tutorial mode that explains everything you need to know about Sudoku, hints that give you tips during those extremely difficult puzzle moments that a regular puzzle would never be able to supply, the ability to 'pencil in' possible solutions, as well as a mode that lets you create your own puzzles for you, or your friends and family to try.
Not only is the game extremely fun to play, giving hundreds of hours of brain challenging entertainment, recent studies suggest that games like Dr. Sudoku can actually increase people's lifespan. According to a recent study conducted at the University of Edinburgh, games like Sudoku can awaken 'survival genes' that lay dormant in the human brain. These survival genes make the brain cells live longer and resist disease, strokes, and the effects of drugs.
With the combination of entertainment and medical needs satisfied, there is no reason why you shouldn't play this game. The allure of 'Dr. Sudoku' spans all ages, and if you're an adult, it gives you something to help relate to your video game playing son or daughter, and has medical benefits! Since it is for a portable system it can be taken on the run, giving you something to do while you wait for an appointment or meeting. You probably won't even have to buy a Gameboy since your children already have one! This is a game I highly recommend to people of all ages, not only is it fun but research shows that it might make you live longer. You could even think of it as a portable, electronic version of the fountain of youth. It carries quite a few advantages over solving Sudoku puzzles in your newspaper, so what are you waiting for? You've got an appointment with Dr. Sudoku!
Published on May 24, 2006