Heading Back to School? 9 Games That Will Make You Smarter

Everyone’s heading back to school, but since you’ve been sitting around playing games all summer, your brain isn’t used to all that learning, right? No worries, loyal Game Front readers – we’ve got you covered. To help get you prepared for all the learning that your vital education entails, we humbly present a list of games that is guaranteed* to make you smarter!

You may have played some of them, but if you haven’t played them all, it’s time for you to get busy. You wouldn’t want to deprive your brain, right?

SpaceChem by Phil HornshawFollow him on Twitter

Sure, there are a lot of puzzle games out there that will challenge you to change the way you look at the world. Then there’s SpaceChem, which doesn’t alter the rules of reality at all – it just takes a complex look at them. If you’re looking for a game to make you smarter, this is it.

SpaceChem is a game about making factories. The puzzle of each situation is that you have to deliver a certain number of chemical molecules to the end of the level in each stage. Your job is to set up a machine to create those molecules, by making a track and adding components that do different things to the track. You’ll need to bond hydrogen with oxygen to make water, for example, but you’ll also need to do things like rotate your molecule and reposition it so that the machine works correctly.

The training wheels come off rather fast in SpaceChem, and before long you’ll be making complex machines with multiple stops in separate buildings to meet your order demands. It’s a little bit of chemistry and a lot of engineering, all wrapped inside a puzzle title. You’ll definitely need your Thinking cap for this one.

Portal 2 by CJ MiozziFollow him on Twitter

Portal 2 is a unique puzzle platformer like no other — well, like Portal 1, but that’s besides the point. The whole portal element unique to the series forces players to widen their spatial awareness and really think about 3D space, as well as consider various elements of physics: momentum, velocity, acceleration, the coefficient of static friction… Bet you never thought of it that way, huh?

While you may not do any of the math, having a grasp of the basics of these elements of physics renders Portal 2 that much easier, and if you aren’t already a Physics Major, the game allows you to develop a solid feel for how objects in a vacuum behave under various states of motion.

StarCraft 2 by CJ MiozziFollow him on Twitter

I recall playing chess in elementary school as a logic exercise. Every week, our class would break up into pairs for an hour and try to outwit our juvenile opponents in the ultimate battle of the minds.

I can’t help but feel that if I were in that class today, we’d be playing StarCraft 2 instead. Just like in chess, every “piece” or “unit” is used for a different purpose, various offensive and defensive tactics can be countered with appropriate maneuvers, and the game ultimately boils down to outwitting your opponent through a mastery of the various tools and strategies in your arsenal.

The biggest difference is that SC2 takes place in real-time, so all that strategizing needs to be made on the fly with split-second decision-making. How better to keep your mind sharp than to become the incarnation of Sun Tzu

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