Memory Palace of Doom?
January 10, 2012 4:35 AM   Subscribe

Memory Palace of Doom?

I was looking at mapstalgia and thinking about how much permanent brainspace people devote to video games, and thinking about memory palaces, and I was wondering...

What games are there for an adult to learn something interesting while memorizing the maps and tricks needed to solve the game? I know there are many educational games, but I'm looking for games that would be compelling games anyway, but that also make you construct a useful or interesting memory map in your head. Better, a game that also teaches you a general method that you can apply to other memorization tasks.
posted by pracowity to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of the Battlefield 1942 maps are surprisingly accurate if weirdly scaled. If you were taking a history class where the teacher gave you a map and then asked you to identify the battle from the map and describe what went on in various WWII battles, you could do worse than playing a lot of Battlefield 1942.

I've had this very thought before and actually considered making an expanded Kreb's Cycle TF2 map where the citric acid cycle was one big room in the middle, etc. The ease of looking up the Kreb's cycle and the difficulty of mastering the editor and making a balanced, fun to play map that also describes the Kreb's cycle have not served this idea well.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:46 AM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is probably not exactly what you're looking for, but the Assassin's Creed games, particularly 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations, have many buildings modeled directly after their real world counterparts. The story is more "inspired by history" than real history, so I wouldn't recommend learning that from it, but the architecture of major buildings is pretty spot on. I've actually run into photos of Florence and Istanbul with buildings that I recognized because I'd climbed all over them in the games.
posted by ashirys at 7:23 AM on January 10, 2012

I sent this to pracowity via mefi-mail but if you're following this thread, you may be interested in this video with Steven Johnson.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:57 AM on January 10, 2012

Thanks for the interesting answers so far. I hope other people have more ideas. There will be trophies for all.
posted by pracowity at 9:37 AM on January 10, 2012

Are you looking specifically at video games? Because the first thing that came to mind for me was creating crosswords.
posted by rhizome at 10:13 AM on January 10, 2012

I was thinking more about maps, mental images of various interconnecting words and ideas. And more about games you play over and over than about one-off things like crosswords. Hoping for things like that.

Looking here, I was thinking about how many hours people spend voluntarily running over the same terrain, slowly memorizing large layouts and all the special things about each part. If instead of just an entirely imaginary terrain, you were spending hours navigating (as Kid Charlemagne suggested) Kreb's Cycle, you might learn it intimately and never forget it, while still saving the princess and so on.

But I also wondered whether you might build (whether someone already had built) a game that would let you map the playing terrain to other things, let you build your own memory palace, play in it, memorize it, and then be able to play the game in your head as a memory and logic tool. Ideally these would be computer games, not just board games or card games, so you could incorporate motion, sound, colors, etc., into your memories, and so you could easily customize them and interact with them.
posted by pracowity at 1:08 PM on January 10, 2012

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