Games are excellent cognitive exercises. All sports require planning ahead and making judgment calls. Same goes for anybody who’s played with PacMan, Tetris, and the very first Prince of Persia. Things became more difficult when the developers upped the ante and created 3-D Pacman, Tetris and Prince of Persia. What did we do? We kept playing, and we kept getting better at these.
Some games challenged our cognitive skills a bit more than the others. A goodexample of such game apps are TTGan’s Tiny Pants and X-Memory. From the makers of Ah Up!, Ah Up! Planet, and PaPaBong, TTGan‘s suite of games caught our attention because they were so appropriate for our field, helping us work on vocal intensity, cognitive skills and eye-hand coordination the fun way.
The idea behind both apps is simple: objects pop out from the bottom of the screen. Pay attention to the underwear patterns and colors (Tiny Pants) or the icon ball’s letters, animals and shapes (X-Memory). When the selection screen comes out, tap on the underwear / icon balls that you had seen pop out. That’s the basic rule. The app makes things a bit more difficult via:
- distractors that pop out along with the target objects, such as:
- numbers: tap on one and you get extra points. Who doesn’t want extra points?
- helper objects: for example, tap on a potion botte and you convert all objects into the same pattern
- the number of objects that appear: as you move up in the game, more objects pop out. The app gives you more helper objects (or objects that you must not tap).
- the number of choices in the selection page: at around Level 6-7, you are supposed to pay attention to 3 kinds of underwear patterns / icon balls. The selection page shows you as many as 15 choices where you select which patterns came out in the game.
- the pattern size: Tiny Pants offers 3 difficulty levels basing on the area on which patterns appear:
- boxer shorts: biggest area, one can see more of the pattern
- full underwear:
- G-strings: tiny space for patterns to appear on, challenges one’s ability to take note of the tiny details
- the pattern type: X-Memory, on the other hand, offers three kinds of graphics basing on ease of recognition and retention
- the time limit: one is allowed a few seconds to make their choices in the selection page. The clock counts down as one attempts to compare across patterns, match it to one’s memory of which patterns came out, and make the correct decision. Make three wrong guesses and the game’s over.
Which one to download? It actually depends on you and your target clientele. Many kids might find flying underpants amusing, but some may actually prefer letters, shapes and animals instead of patterns. Tiny Pants and X-Memory seem like simple enough games, until it gets harder and harder. Try it out for yourself. One can’t go wrong with $0.99 apps.
Tiny Pants has English and Chinese versions. Click here for the English iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad versions of Tiny Pants. Links to Tiny Pants’ Chinese versions for iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad are here. Click here for the X-Memory’s iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad versions.
- focused attention
- alternating attention
- visual memory