The History of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training

Welcome! In this feature, we’re going to look at the history of the Brain Training series to celebrate the release of Dr Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training: Can You Stay Focused?

Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old is Your Brain?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? What are you looking at, Dr Kawashima?!

Called Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! in the States, the first title in the series was released in May 2005 in Japan and June 2006 in the UK for the Nintendo DS. The gap between the Japanese and European releases is a recurring theme throughout the series. The game is designed to be played for a small amount each day, rather like the Animal Crossing series. The main mode is called Brain Age Check, where you have to complete a number of challenges in order for Dr Kawashima to work out ‘how old’ you brain is, with an optimal score of 20. The game makes clever use of the microphone, where it is the star of the Speed Counting minigame, testing how fast you can count to 120. Other minigames include Word Memory, testing how many of 30 four-letter words you can remember after 2 minutes, and Calculations X 20, which sees the user completing 20 simple calculations as fast as possible. This minigame includes another unique input method of handwriting recognition. The game was received fairly well with a 77/100 on Metacritic. Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training acheived a lifetime sales figure of 19,100,000. The game later received a Wii U Virtual Console release in 2015.

More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima: How Old is Your Brain?

The sequel to Brain Training was released in December 2005 in Japan and June 2007 in the UK. One of the best additions to this game was the minigame Virus Buster, a simplified version of Dr. Mario. As well as this new game, every single minigame in Brain Age Check is brand-new. In Rock, Paper, Scissors, a symbol shows up on the screen and the player must speak out loud the winning choice as fast as possible. In Serial Substraction, a large number is shown and the player must continually subtract a smaller number. In High Number the player must pick out the highest number out of the ones shown on the screen. Number Memory presents a 5×5 grid of the numbers 1 to 25 in a random order. After 2 minutes, the player must reproduce the entire grid from memory. In Symbol Match, a key is shown linking the numbers 0 to 9 with symbols like £, < and &. A number is shown and the player must write  the corresponding symbol. Brain Training 2 acheived a score of 77/100 on Metacritic, with a lifetime sales figure of 14,880,000.

A Little Bit Of… Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training

A series of 3 compliations of Brain Training games was released under the title of A Little Bit Of… . The series consisted of Maths, Arts & Letters and Sudoku, releasing in June, October and August 2009 respectively in the UK. They were released on the DSi Shop.

Dr Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training: Can You Stay Focused?

When making a Mii, Dr Kawashima was quite offended about the smoothness of their skin.

The fourth installment of the series, Devilish Brain Training, is the first title to have been released on the Nintendo 3DS. It was released in July 2012 in Japan, but poor old Europe was left behind, with the UK version releasing a whopping 5 years later in July 2017!

This addition to the series focuses primarily on concentration and avoiding the distractions of the outside world. This time, the game is only meant to be played for 5 minutes a day, so don’t get this game for a full gaming experience. The main minigame in the collection is called Devilish Calculations. You have to answer simple sums, but in a delayed manner. You have to answer the question that appeared 2 to 4 questions ago while constantly adding new ones, bearing a very strong resemblance to the Two Ronnies sketch “Mastermind“. The game comes with a dynamic difficulty, so it always presents the right difficulty for to you.

Dr Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training is available to buy from Amazon UK for £17.29.