Playing Mario 64 Will Literally Make Your Brain Grow

"Video games rot your brain" — hands up if you've ever had a parent/teacher/relative tell you that? I must have heard it on a daily basis from my parents, but it turns out you were wrong Dad. Playing video games actually has the potential to do the direct opposite:it can actually help your brain to grow.

In a recent study conducted at the Max Planck Institute, researchers found that playing Mario 64 for just 30 minutes a day helped increase the size of brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning. Which, in a weird way makes total sense because when you play a video game you are practising all of those skills.

According to the study a "significant" growth in gray matter around specific areas of the brain as a result of this "training".

"While previous studies have shown differences in brain structure of video gamers, the present study can demonstrate the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase," said study leader Simone Kühn.

"This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games."

One suggestion from the study is that video games could possibly be used to treat certain issues affected by the region of the brain that experienced growth in the study. Mental diseases like post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disease — in theory — could be helped by playing video games.

Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity: gray matter changes resulting from training with a commercial video game [Molecular Psychiatry]

Via Polygon


    Unfortunately 30 mins of Superman 64 does the opposite.

      Haha, that was the worst game of all time. N64 was really that point Nintendo consoles became worth owning only for Nintendo and Rare games.

        I thought ET was the worst game of all time. Hence why it was burried.

          ET was fundamentally broken as a game, but yeah it is regarded as the worst but Superman 64 comes close if not equal to it, it's really just terrible.

        Although I owned most Rare and Nintendo games, there were several other gems on the N64.

        The 64 had an awesome library of games, even without first party and Rare titles.


        I have a hazy memory but remember that a mate of mine studied graphic design at Uni. I remember him boasting about working on the animations on superman 64 and maybe Zena??? after he graduated. He went on about how the DC legal dept. had to sign off on everything. Colours. Story. Etc. I'm sure he wouldn't be boasting about his involvement now. :-D
        So I assume that superman 64 was made in Australia - might make a good article.

      Its good to see some positive coverage of video game playing by researchers rather than all that 'video games make people kill people'. Cool study too :)

      I remember renting Superman64 from Video Ezy! Back when ppl still rented that still a thing? Yeah anyway, it was like Superman was suddenly flying around Beijing......SO. MUCH. FOG.

    Bum bum baa da-bum, baaaa-dum ba bah! Ba-dum, bah!

    This only makes sense though, if you keep doing something, your brain grows to accommodate those skills. Games, being something you have to think about to win, would certainly make you better at thinking.

    What's to bet that all the speed runners of this game have a real life DK mode activated >.>

    That explains all the reports of gamer's heads spontaneously exploding.

    Just from 30m a day? Man, the amount of gaming I do in a day, I must be a frickin' genius! WE ALL MUST BE! Quick, to YouTube comments on gaming channels to tell everyone that they are ge... oh god major problem with theory.

    Last edited 06/11/13 12:41 pm

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