Super Mario's Power: The Iconic Video Game Strengthens Memory and Mind

Published by Luna S. on 2024-04-26 in Nerd
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Super Mario is a timeless icon of video games, a character who has won the hearts of millions of players around the world since his debut way back in 1985. Created by Shigeru Miyamoto and developed by Nintendo, Mario has become the company's symbolic face and one of the most recognizable characters in the history of gaming. His fascinating universe and engaging adventures make him a fundamental pillar of popular culture.

However, the achievements of Mario, Luigi, and all the characters in the franchise extend beyond entertainment. Recently, they have even become inadvertent ambassadors for the fight against senile dementia. This was confirmed by a study published some time ago in the prestigious journal PLOS One.
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A Canadian research team based in Montreal investigated the impacts that numerous hours of playing Super Mario—particularly Super Mario 64, the title released for Nintendo 64—could have on the brains of various categories of people, with different ages and cognitive conditions.

The experts subjected these groups to intensive gaming sessions, monitoring brain activities, particularly in the hippocampus, the cerebellum, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
The participants in this experiment were all adults aged between 55 and 75 years old, who committed to playing Super Mario 64 for six months, following a training period that explained the nature of platform games and why video games, in general, are so enticing to young people.

After this intensive gaming phase, most of the participants showed an improvement in short-term memory and an increase in gray matter in the cerebellum and hippocampus, as indicated by the researchers.
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The reasons for this phenomenon are still partly unknown, but it's likely that the improvement in short-term memory and the ability for players to interact in a 3D virtual world lead to better neural connectivity in the brain areas involved in memory and spatial orientation.

So, the next time your grumpy aunt scolds you for always being glued to video games, remind her that playing Super Mario and similar games might actually boost your cognitive and memory skills while simultaneously delaying neuronal decline. In fact, at this point, you might as well recommend that she try it out herself.
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