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Four MORE Games to Exercise Your Brain!

instructor helping student at computer tech camp

Hey everyone! This is a follow up to a previous article I wrote, Four Games to Exercise Your Brain, I’m back with four more super-fun (addicting!) games, this time with a focus on vocabulary and mathematics – watch out SAT’s!

1) Pearls Before Swine – http://www.transience.com.au/pearl3.html

pws

Mental Muscles Flexed

This is a replication of classic Chinese game of Nim, first documented in the 16th centaury but believed to be much older. In the game of Nim, players alternate subtracting objects from rows (technically “heaps”) and the player stuck with the final object loses. Sound easy? It ain’t. In this version you play against an AI engine with a lovably sinister cartoon persona. Due to the mathematical resolvability of this game, this little character will give you a run for your money, but he is definitely beatable!

The AI character (Juan) adds an immerse sense of narrative to an otherwise purely mathematical game, making it much more enjoyable. Narrative and story telling is an important aspect to video game design that we focus on at iD, as it can easily be over looked.

2) Free Rice – http://www.freerice.com/

freerice

Mental Muscles Flexed

  • Vocabulary Building
  • Service learning

This is a simple vocabulary synonym quiz in the style of SAT (GRE, etc…) multiple choice format. However, it has heartwarming rewards, for every question you get right 10 grains of rice are donated through The World Food Programme to help end hunger! Though 10 grains is a small amount, every little bit counts and that’s why you should play! To date, nearly 83 billion grains of rice have been donated. At higher levels of vocab (which you can set at any point) you’ll notice plenty of overlap with typical standardized testing vocab lists – why not kill two birds with one stone and get your community service in while studying for your SAT’s – watch out college-entrance resume, BAM!

Recently, the site has included multiple categories of play including Art, Chemistry, Forign Language, Geography, Grammar and Math. Peep them all here: http://www.freerice.com/category

3) Netwalk – http://www.logicgamesonline.com/netwalk/?g=Beginner

netwalk

Mental Muscles Flexed:

  • Planning ahead
  • Trial and error
  • Logic

This puzzle is a variant from the “pipe-laying” genre of puzzle games. Get your IT on and assume the role of a network admin who must connect a network router to a handful of computer terminals. The game play entails rotating tiles on a 2D plane to establishing a one-way flow to all of the end points. Most arrangements only have one solution though I’ve found a few with more than one. With three levels of play (in “expert” you can wrap around edges) this game is dangerously addicting and can be played for hours! I would love a portable version of this for my phone, maybe one of our students will program at our iPhone camps!

4) Scrabb.ly 

scrabbly(Four e’s? This is the last time I do you any favors, Scrabb.ly)

Mental Muscles Flexed:

  • Vocabulary Building

Like playing scrabble with a friend? What about with four people? What about 4,000+ people? What about 4,000 people in a real-time (not-turn based)? In Scrabbly you play Scrabble on a massive board (like enough scrabble boards to cover the state of Rhode Island) against thousands of other people in real-time, building off of your own words as fast as you can. Despite how crazy that may sound, the game play is actually quite user-friendly and ironically reminiscent of the classic game of scrabble. Here is another screen shot to give you an idea of how big this game is. Below is an “ariel” view of only 1/20th the full size of the game board, the little yellow box represents what you zoom into in-game:

fs

Looks like a Mandelbrot set! Chaos theory anyone? This board is huge – like Canada-sized huge. Did you know we’ve recently expanded our camps into Canada? If not, be sure to check out our Canada camps!

The above four games are a great example of making learning fun, which is precisely what our educational summer camps aim to do.