Big Brain Academy Hands-On

Did you really think the brain-training craze would stay confined to the DS? If you did, you definitely need to play this.

NEW YORK--Games like Brain Age and Big Brain Academy are currently storming Japanese software charts in a manner unseen since the heyday of Pokémon. They're not doing too poorly in America either, if Nintendo's hinted-at sales figures are to be believed. So it's not the least bit surprising that we came upon a playable demo of Big Brain Academy for the forthcoming Wii at the company's press event today, and we naturally dove right in to see where Nintendo is taking one of its biggest new franchises in its first appearance on television screens.

There wasn't a lot included in this demo--only three minigames were available for play--but we can see how, if Nintendo adds enough content, this one could have legs with the mainstream and casual gaming set for a long time. But to back up a little, we began the demo by selecting from a number of premade Mii-style characters who were hanging out in a stable at the bottom of the screen. (Presumably, you'll be able to use your own Mii in the final game.) After we picked the nerdiest character we could find, we were able to jump right into a heated two-player competitive match against a Nintendo rep.

The three minigames in the demo were simple but still challenging, and they all used the remote as a mouse-style point-and-click device. One of them presented us with a stack of three blocks, each bearing numbers, as well as a sum in the upper corner. Our job was to quickly whack the numbers that didn't belong out of the stack, so the remaining blocks would add up to the desired total. Taking out one of the blocks with a required number naturally would make you fail this game. Not that this ever happened to us, mind you.

The second minigame presented two nearly identical pictures--the lower one was merely missing a couple of elements, like a star and a cloud--and we had to rapidly place the absent objects in the right place to succeed. The biggest catch here was that often the second picture was flipped horizontally, so it took a second to process what we were seeing and figure out where everything should go (though, forgivingly, the game wouldn't let us place objects in the wrong spot). Finally, the third game was somewhat Tetris-like in that it showed us one block pattern (with the borders between blocks removed) and another with all the discrete blocks, plus one or two. Our job was to punch out the block or blocks that would cause the remaining blocks to fall into the specific pattern presented above. These may not sound like complicated games, but when you're racing both your opponent and the clock, you've got to think fast.

At any rate, we began our rapid-fire two-player match and were surprised to see that not only do the games seem to come at you in a random fashion, but our opponent wasn't even playing them in the same order that we were. The whole thing was pretty chaotic, but it was certainly easy enough to get into and play with the remote, and we were feeling much smarter when it was all over. We're interested to see what other games will be in the final version of this first iteration of Big Brain Academy on a major console, as well as the other ways in which Nintendo ties the game into the Wii's myriad unique functions.

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Discussion

28 comments
Codgin
Codgin

This game has a lot of possibilites and hopefully wont dissapoint

ryan_rob20
ryan_rob20

wow big brain for wii that might be good

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

WiiFan1119
WiiFan1119

I C WII LOVE! CAUSE WII LOVE WII!

lemminglen
lemminglen

xXAdventChildXx, I'ts Big Brain academy, not Brain Age, just thought i'd point that out.

jaggy_12
jaggy_12

seems pretty good. but the only thing i am worrying about is that nintendo will make too many of these type of games and games for younger gamers like super monkey ball, but no games for older gamers. the best games so far for matures gamers are red steel, that disaster game, and prob mario. But i think nintendo and third party people will deliver. i just hope that i can get used to the system quickly.

gozyaj
gozyaj

hmmmm.... Why not!!! Since I din't have the DS version... another game to make it on my list.

aashkii
aashkii

I prefer to write (styus) than point (wii-mote) with my Brain games, but I'll give the Wii version a try (whenever it comes out).

RahKayne
RahKayne

oh sweet another reason to buy a Wii.

xXAdventChildXx
xXAdventChildXx

Awesome I love Brain age good to hear that its coming out for the wii

MegaMAN1121
MegaMAN1121

Wow look like this game coming for the Wii. I probally get it

roareh
roareh

brain expanding!

_Sam_
_Sam_

I didn't play Brain Age since I don't have a DS, so I'll check this out

LucasAW
LucasAW

Sounds pretty damn cool

juanfraino
juanfraino

Well, if it`s anything like my copy of brain age, then im soo getting this one. Remember nintendo this one also has to have a budget price! :D

-Battalion-
-Battalion-

This could be a big seller, since all the Brain Games on the DS are selling like crazy.

fitzokoli
fitzokoli

It's very smart of Nintendo to make this game...It seems very very easy to grasp and play, anyone could just pick up and play....Plus it has a good plot-to increase brain acitivity..I bet alot of non-gamers would try this out, especially with the motion based games, this would be mad fun!!! Put this in mall game-stands and stores and the Wii would sell like hotcakes...

Murpheus007
Murpheus007

Sounds like a pretty good game. Better with friends, and I have none, but I'll buy it anyway.... and pretend.

shamarke
shamarke

wow thats great im going to buy DS and Wii!

rta
rta

lol wedgewu! agree, this looks pretty sweet and proves that nintendo is looking out for pretty much everyone that's into gaming. it'll sell like hotcakes.

RunnerGunner480
RunnerGunner480

Cool. I don't have a DS so I'm interested to play this game.

mcgrawgamer
mcgrawgamer

i think it would be better off for the handheld yeah but I think this could be used as a gateway game for other members of your family to get into gaming. My wife has never played a game in her life except crazy taxi on my xbox. I have talked about the wii so much she want's to play it just to be able to enjoy something I take so seriously

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

i think it would be better off for the handheld

Maeros4
Maeros4

looks great... a bit different from the ds versions i think, more competitive like? that would be good

rbarahona
rbarahona

This is another must. I'm really looking forward to get this game and see what is different from the Nintendo DS version. Definitely Nintendo is showing some great games for the Wii.

wedgewu
wedgewu

EXCELLENT! 1900g brain, here I come!