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Online Brain Games: 5 Characteristics of Good Ones

All online brain games and mental exercises must have these 3 *primary* characteristics in order to be of maximum benefit to your brain.

The 3 primary characteristics are:

  1. Novelty
  2. Variety
  3. Challenge

I wrote about these 3 primary characteristics in a previous post titled, “What Makes Mental Exercise Beneficial, or NOT?

Over the last 15-20yrs, scientists have discovered that our brain can:

  • Grow new connections
  • Grow new neurons
  • Re-wire itself

The ability of our brain to do this is called neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity. The good news about brain plasticity is that it is made available to us at any age. It is now a myth that our brain cannot change or renew itself as we grow old or that our brain function must decline with age. The 3 primary characteristics noted above must be present in any online brain game or mental exercise activity in order for the benefit of brain plasticity to be realized.

Besides the 3 primary characteristics , I believe there are 2 additional characteristics that are also important when considering an online brain game or mental exercise.

The 2 secondary characteristics are:

  1. Fun/ Enjoyment
  2. Cost

I call these *secondary* characteristics because they aren’t really necessary in order for an online brain game or mental exercise to be of benefit to your brain. But they are still important, and here’s why..

Fun/Enjoyment – A good online brain game or mental exercise should be fun and provide you with enjoyment. I say this because if an online brain game or mental exercise activity is fun, you’re more likely to stay with the program. Just like with a physical fitness program, you need to stay with the brain fitness program in order to reap lasting benefits. Likewise, if it is boring and feels like a chore, you won’t stick with it and then it will be of no value to you.

Cost – So what about cost? Free brain games abound on the internet. Are they any good? Are paid-for games better for you that free ones? The answer is that it all depends.

I wrote a post called, “Why Should You Pay For A Commercial Brain Game?”. In it I go into great detail on the benefits of paying for a commercial online brain game.

Again, the 3 primary characteristics must be present. It doesn’t really matter if the online brain game is free or if it cost you $500 or more. It doesn’t matter if you’re evaluating a free crossword puzzle or an expensive “scientifically designed” brain game. The 3 primary characteristics are the key to evaluating any online brain games potential benefit to your brain.

If you do intend to spend money on an online brain game, make sure you have the ability to evaluate it based on the 3 primary characteristics. Most good online brain games that do cost money have either free trials or have a return policy with a full refund possible. This helps to insure you have the ability to properly check out the online brain game before you commit.

So there you have it.. The 5 key characteristics that all good 0nline brain games must have in order to be of maximum benefit to your brain.  Make sure you use them when evaluating any online brain game or mental exercise activity.

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