Trying to improve your cognitive abilities? Want to have greater neuroplasticity? I’m sure you have all seen the commercials, advertising sites or mobile apps that claim to improve your memory, sharpness, and decision making skills. I’m going to be completely honest here and tell you that I have tried almost all the free trials, and downloaded plenty of the memory apps with little to no success to show for. Of course my expectation for a brain training game is that by the end of the course I will have the cognitive ability of Professor X, which could be somewhat of a high expectation. But even if a brain training game won’t make me the dean of a mutant school with telepathic powers; I still have this expectation that it will be engaging and I’ll make some cognitive improvements.
And this is where my relationship with brain training games always seems to go downhill. I will start playing one of these games; I’ll learn the rules and slowly my score will start improving. However, just as the game starts making me feel like a mini genius…”POOF!” I’m bored. It doesn’t matter the type of brain training game I play, after a while my attention always begins to wan. The games don’t feel engaging and I lose my enthusiasm to continue playing.
This is where Cerevrum Inc. plans to step in and change the world of cognitive brain training. Made up of a team of “30 VR enthusiasts” Cerevrum inc brings with them a colourful background in cognitive neuroscience, art, and digital development skills and 10 years of experience. They developed the first VR brain training game called “Cerevrum” Instead of trying to turn brain-training tools into games, the team developed a game while also trying to incorporate brain training. Cerevrum inc wants to make brain training enjoyable and they recognise that VR is likely that next immersive step that has been missing all these years in brain training games.
So without further adieu I give you our interview with Cerevrum inc. in Virtual Reality!!! Ok the interview isn’t in VR but wouldn’t that be cool if it was?
What are the main types of missions and goals in the Cerevrum game?
The Cerevrum game proves that education can, and should be fun. To improve their skills, users are challenged to achieve a variety of goals. There are local tasks throughout the game, which include defeating various enemies.
Players can also work on improving the features and equipment of their spaceships and heroes. The achievement system in the game requires lots of effort and skill mastery. We hope users will be encouraged to collect all the achievements.
The overall mission is to dominate all dark forces by completing brain tasks integrated in the game scenarios. The inevitable outcome of this is that users end up developing the entire spectrum of cognitive abilities: memory, perceptual speed, multitasking, executive function, and attention.
What are the biggest differences between the two mini games Stardust and Heroes?
Stardust and Heroes, differ in two major senses. The first is the specific cognitive skills being targeted. Stardust strives to advance memory capacity and train data management skills. Where as Heroes focuses mainly on exercising spatial skills.
The second difference is the architecture of game-play. Stardust represents a continuous survival scenario; it is impossible to defeat all your enemies without immense ship upgrades. Meanwhile, Heroes’ game-play is divided into several separate missions, which users can complete as many times as they want with the intent of raising their score.
Each mini-game has three different cognitive tools to battle with. Does the game react if a player begins to favor one of these tools over the others?
As developers we wanted to give users the freedom to choose what skills they are most interested in perfecting. A player can favor some tools over the others. But there are some rare game-play scenarios where the use of specific equipment is necessary to complete the mission. Balancing the range of tools at their disposal is up to the user’s choice and competence.
How have you made Cerevrum’s brain training engaging and fun without it feeling like work?
Our team is really focusing on integrating brain-training tasks into the game-play. Not the other way around. Players’ goals include wining in local battles, completing midterm missions, promoting their characters and improving features of their spaceships.
It is designed to be engaging, entertaining and exciting. And virtual reality’s immersive power helps to serve this mission. We made sure to design such VR experiences so the users improve and learn without having to put special focus on it. The development of cognitive skills is a nice bonus for users.
From what I have seen in game-play videos, colour recognition is a big part of the game. Do you offer any alternate settings for people with colour blindness?
Having a distinctive range of colours was our initial design approach. But we also often use symbols as a sub for colours.
[Well that’s good news for colourblind folks] – Ellie
How does Cerevrum compare to other (non-VR) cognitive training programs and apps?
Other training programs and apps often push exercises on developing training skills to complete without any integration into a bigger story. We believe that the [video-game] playing format provides the necessary motivation so that self-development doesn’t feel like a constant personal struggle, but rather an enjoyable experience. Plus VR technologies ensure total immersion into a world without unnecessary external distractions.
Are there any other unique aspects of the Cerevrum game that you would like our readers to be aware of?
Our mini-games are independent from one another, but they use a universal game currency called “Cogbits.” Users have the ability to earn Cogbits in one mini-game and spend them in the other one. This gives users the flexibility to choose what cognitive skills to train while still make progress in both game scenarios.
[side note I think Cogbits is an adorable currency name] – Ellie
Want to stay up to date with everything Cerevrum? Be sure to check out their social media pages. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, as well as their website along with the Cerevrum game they have some other interesting VR programs such as public speaking, mediation and even dating lessons…all in VR!