Yay, just got my copy of Sega's Brain Age from Play-Asia today, 4 days from dispatch! Apart from the usual sticker and coupon, there was a playable PC/MAC demo of "In the Groove" packaged with it. Maybe I'll try the demo later...
I find Sega's "Nounenrei: Nou Stress-kei Atama Scan" (meaning, "Brain Age: Scan Your Brain for Stress") much more entertaining and believable in what it's aimed to do than Nintendo's Brain Age, the title that started the whole "brain training" genre.
Why? Well, first of all, Sega's Brain Age (referred to as SBA from this point onwards) makes use of the ATMT system that is used throughout the medical industry in Japan (as it claims) to measure your brain age and monitor your stress. Doing so, it recommends exercises that aim to improve 4 different abilities of your brain namely:
Determines your performance at jobs.
Your memory and recognition abilities that determine how well you can adapt to changes.
Your information processing abilities.
How relaxed your brain is and relieving it of stress.
Also, while Nintendo's Brain Age only sets a target age of 20 for everyone, no matter how old you are, SBA actually gives you different targets depending on your real age. Not only that, it also makes use of real sample data of over 11,000 individuals to determine your results.
It's impressive how the results really do improve after doing the exercises before trying the tests again!
It's not all great news though because voice recognition is pretty bad because you have to practically spell out words than actually say them in Japanese but it still works all right in that way. One or two games lack a bit of randomness such as the balloon blowing exercise where the bombs you need to avoid seem to appear in the same sequence everytime. Also, the timer in the "count the blocks" exercise is too long for what you have to do.
Even so, I think the software's great and hope that the title gets localised for the Western world to try because it's fun and seems to do what it's designed to!
So far, it's also managed to get into the Top 10 Famitsu chart for the week (11th Sept ~ 17th Sept), coming in at number eight. Hope it stays up there although buyers at Amazon.co.jp are giving it some bad reviews, mainly stating the points I made above too.