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5 video games that can make you smarter

Whether you like it or not, video games are becoming a permanent part of our culture and even our collective unconscious. As video game technology and storytelling techniques become more sophisticated, they’re joining film and television as one of the premier ways of not only keeping ourselves entertained, but maybe even learning something along the way.


It perhaps requires a small leap of faith to associate gaming with learning, but there are plenty of great examples of games readily available right now that can help us to improve our cognitive reasoning and our ability to learn. Let’s take a look at a few.



Developed by Valve and published in 2007, Portal has become the stuff of legend. It not only provided us with one of the most-used phrases in video game history (“The cake is a lie!”) but also helped millions of gamers improve their spatial awareness, reasoning, and even self-confidence.

Portal is a first-person platforming and puzzle game that offers a series of increasingly difficult puzzles, along with some truly excellent writing, voice acting and humor. Players are given a “portal gun” that creates linked portals on demand, offering a way to traverse difficult terrain and vast distances.


Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

If you want to introduce a little bit of mystery and suspense to your gaming, look no further than Professor Layton. The Diabolical Box installment of this beloved series puts players in control of the titular Professor Layton and his assistant, Luke. Together, the two travel through the world tackling a wide variety of challenges including sliding puzzles, brain teasers and logic puzzles, all in pursuit of a single truth: What’s in Pandora’s Box?


Wuzzit Trouble

Earlier this year, InnerTube Games released a game called Wuzzit Trouble that sought to accomplish a fairly unique goal in the gaming world: teach multiple real-world skills and help gamers have fun while they’re learning. As with many puzzle-based games, Wuzzit Trouble provides gamers with a series of progressively more sophisticated challenges varying from building simple machinery to solving complex mathematical problems.

The game encourages a spirit of inventiveness and a willingness to tinker, offering gamers a unique way to immerse themselves in mathematical principles and build a knowledge base that they’ll be able to use throughout their lives.


Sid Meier’s Civilization V

Some may find the inclusion of Civilization V (better known as Civ V) on this list a contentious choice, but anybody who’s played the game can attest to the fact that the game is a unique experience that can help gamers learn in interesting ways.

More specifically, gamers come away with a better sense of cause and effect. Civ V is a strategy game, forcing gamers to plot their moves in advance as they allocate their resources, bolster their defenses and even engage in warfare, all in the name of growing their civilization and becoming a world power.



You don’t need to look any further than the game’s catchphrase (“Write Anything, Solve Everything”) to understand Scribblenauts’ unique approach to problem solving. Instead of providing the player with a limited sandbox of pre-made tools, gamers are limited only by their imagination.

Players are tasked with solving a series of truly inventive puzzles, but there are hundreds of potential solutions to each one: gamers can draw on the screen with a stylus, summoning any number of thousands of available objects to help them complete the task at hand.


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