Researchers Say Your Grandparents Should be Playing Rise of Nations

In an experiment that most likely involved carting some residents from the old folks home to an internet cafe, researchers have determined that playing strategy games can improve the mental skills of senior citizens. The researchers tested a number of games before selecting 2003′s Rise of Nations — in which players set out to maintain and advance a civilization from ancient times to the modern age in real-time — to use in the experiment. The study showed that adults in their 60s and 70s that played the game would later exhibit cognitive skills not directly related to gameplay. Overall, the group that played games performed better in reasoning and memory tests than a control group. They were also able to switch between tasks at a much faster rate and seemed to have a much stronger short-term memory. On the other hand, researchers found that the game had no effect on long-term memory functions.

I suppose the results of this study make sense in a way. Most of the old people I know spend a lot of their time watching The History Channel, so essentially playing The History Channel would probably be an improvement. Of course, that history could also include the daring defeat of the spear-wielding Americans at the hand of the Incas and their nukes.

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