You see, exercises like sudoku and crosswords, along with memory games, word games, and even some grade-schoolesque math exercises helped repair that part of the brain that was damaged. While the prescription was primarily for pen and paper activities, a few iPod and iPad apps were also in the mix along with Lumosity. Of course, as soon as I saw the treatment, I immediately started thinking about just how many video games would also fit the bill, and how they might even make for better tracking of progress. Sudoku and crossword apps were obvious, so I thought I would take a minute to share some of the less obvious choices that occurred to me. I don't have any data to report on how successful any particular game is, nor the background to make that kind of analysis or any medical claims, but these games do fulfill the essential functions of their analog counterparts.
- Everyday Genius: SquareLogic (Steam, App Store) - I list this game first because it was the first that came to my mind, and because I would imagine more stroke victims own iPads than DSs. The game is a logic game of sorts, like the offspring of sudoku grids and math puzzles. But, it presents both the components of the simple math used in rehab as well as the sudoku puzzles. Possibly the most important factor is that the difficulty scale is pretty linear and consistent.
- Brain Age - What else needs to be said? The game, especially, the math game, is exactly what is being done on paper, but tracked over time.
- Super Scribblenauts - I disregard the initial entry in the series because the controls were frustrating, to say the least. But the second is, in essence, a giant word puzzle. I've played through quite a bit of the game, and because of the game's huge vocabulary and multiple solutions working for most puzzles, this to me seemed like another potentially ideal candidate.
- The Professor Layton series -My love for the Layton games notwithstanding, a good chunk of the brain teasers presented are either word puzzles or math puzzles. Perhaps the difficulty makes this more appropriate for later stages of the program, but certainly, it's one of the best brain puzzle games on the market.
In short, should any of you experience the truly unfortunate event of a stroke in the family, and the rehabilitation scheme sounds similar to the one I've described, it may be time to loan that family member a Nintendo DS or point them to some new apps to help them through their rehab process.
*As a note to the above article, I find it far more probable that the depression caused the excessive gaming and low grades, rather than the gaming being the cause of the other two.