When talking about games there’s one company that can quickly split a room, and that’s Valve. For all of their rad innovation there are still great unanswered questions. People see Gabe Newell is a gaming Messiah, because well, he is. Give us Episode 3 please, I won’t ask again.
There’s a basic simplicity to many of Valve’s games, but one thing that is always completely nailed is the gameplay. Some of my favourite moments in gaming come from the likes of Half Life, Counter Strike and Portal. Which as it happens leads me directly into my point in this little mind splurge of mine
Portal 2 vs Lumosity in a fight, who would win? This is probably a ridiculous question but clearly Dr. Boffin is missing something when a group of students’ neuroplasticity responds better to the entertaining puzzles in Portal 2 than the varied tests in Lumosity.
Neuroplasticity is an understanding of the brain’s ability to alter paths with training. In simple terms, you train your brain and as if by magic, those sexy little brain cars will take a short cut through the back roads, rather than that big old jammed freeway.
One of those womenfolk by the name of Val Shute decided to do a study on what was better. She’s an avid gamer herself, and felt it necessary to test which was best. Now before you throw your iWhatever or Generic Android device out of the window, take a breath because this was a contained test that didn’t include either A) Neil Tyson DeGrasse B) Stephen Fry or C) Stephen Hawking. That’s right I threw an entertainer in there just through you, granted a very smart one.
Val researches the psychology of learning at Florida State University, and wanted to see what was best in the squared circle. She teamed up with some buddies, and they took two small groups to test out basic cognitive tests before and after interaction with their chosen weapon. One group was given Portal 2 for eight hours, whilst the other was given Lumosity.
The results in this short period of time were pretty conclusive. Portal 2 players showed greater improvement in the tests than the Lumosity players. In fact, there was a single result in which the Lumosity players won. This proves what we’ve known all along. Gamers effin’ Rock y’all.
Realistically we need a far longer test to prove this for sure, but if it’s true then our understanding of the brain has just been thrown another curveball. What does it mean?! Well, our understanding of that big fancy word up there is wrong. Neuroplasticity probably doesn’t work in the way we think it does, or does it? Lumosity takes basic, varying in difficulty problems to train your brain over time. Portal 2 takes a simple formula and has you rinse and repeat throughout the game. Drill to win sound familiar?
Ding ding! Fight over.
We have a new champ, GlaDOS will be pleased.