Reviewer: Max Everingham
You’ve probably heard all about the famous ‘Brain Training’ games from Nintendo – in keeping with the videogame company’s ethos on bringing something different to video gaming, the brain training games challenge players to actually use their heads.
Somewhat unexpectedly, they’ve met with great success, championed by the likes of Nicole Kidman in advertising and, naturally, attracting equal doses of support and criticism as they’ve found a wider audience. Well, as if forcing us chairbound gamers to exercise our flabby minds rather than flounder in mindless shooter action wasn’t enough, the boffins that turned out the brain training games have focused their attention on our eyes this time, with a ‘Sight Training’ title.
Much like its brainy brethren, the Sight Training game presents the player with a series of quickfire tasks, requiring accurate and rapid tapping of icons on the screen. At the outset, having ‘told’ the DS how old you are, you’re confronted with a (probably unsettling) assessment of your ‘eye age’ and then encouraged to take up the game’s various challenges, on a daily basis, to improve your score.
Endorsed by one Dr Hisao Ishigaki, who we’re assured is a foremost expert in the field of Sports Vision and Sports Optometry, the mini games are intended to test, and hopefully improve, your eyes in the areas of peripheral vision, eye movement, momentary vision, hand-eye coordination and dynamic visual acuity. So, at the end of it all, you should be really very good at table tennis, avoiding attacks from behind and spotting ghosts.
Whatever the actual physical or medical benefits of messing around with such games, Sight Training and its brain training stablemates are a perfect format for the handheld Nintendo DS system: great little mini-games that provide fun, bite-sized challenges and can give some quite surprising results.
The personal development and egotistical aspect of the games, pushing you to continue until you’re judged to have eyes and a brain that are at least a few years younger than they actually are, probably explain a good deal of their popularity too! Sight Training probably won’t cure your need for glasses, but you can have a blast trying.