What is your favorite video game or software games to learn to think logically and solve problems under pressures?
November 28, 2006 1:51 PM   Subscribe

What is your favorite video game or software games to learn to think logically and solve problems under pressures ( all platforms welcome e.g. Windows, Mac) ?

I am inspired by the answers to the following question at http://ask.metafilter.com/mefi/51374

One person recommends real time builder strategy games such as "Age of Empires" as a great way to master the skill of thinking logically and solving problems under pressures.

What about traditional software games such as chess , Solitaire , 9 Men's Morris , Go, Reversi ?

What do you think ?

If you agree, what video/software game(s) would you recommend ?

Thanks a million.
posted by cluelessguru to Education (19 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Proximity is a very fun game free online.

For logical, problem solving games, you can't go wrong with the old Lucas Arts titles Full Throttle, Sam & Max, Grim Fandango, and of course Monkey Island.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 2:00 PM on November 28, 2006

I think there's a subtle difference between problem-solving games and logic games, and the two terms aren't necessarily interchangeable.

For problem-solving, I found Full Throttle fun. The Myst series is probably most well known, but I beat the original in about an hour (of course, my girlfriend at the time gave me a "You did what?!" look afterwards...). My favorite of all time was the 7th Guest, but good luck getting it to work on Windows 95/XP.

There was a puzzle game where an evil dude transformed you into a cupie doll and you had to get back to human, but I forget the name of it.

For logic games, I like Sudoku. When I was a kid I was addicted to logic grid puzzles, and I just rediscovered them. These are really geared towards "formal" logic, unlike puzzle-based games.

Decide what you want, though. I've noticed a lot of people immediately think that puzzles which require a little out-of-box thinking are logic puzzles, which is not necessarily true.
posted by backseatpilot at 2:10 PM on November 28, 2006

(This doesn't work out of the box - you have to find the right opponent) a multiplayer first person shooter. Most people run&gun, increasing their wins by honing their aiming and jumping skills, but some focus almost entirely on cunning and trickery, and stalking and being stalked by those guys, while totally immersed, is a good exercise in thinking and deducing while under pressure, and a great exercise in keeping calm and controlled under pressure. Pick a 1st person shooter with a deathmatch mode, play such a person, always in the same area/level, so that you both are forced to continually find new ways to use the area, and decypher what the other is attempting.

Finding that smart tricksy opponent isn't easy, but once you do, it doesn't really matter any more what kind of game/software you use, a cunning human opponent ratchets up the level of thinking you'll need to do, and the pressure too (assuming you have a slight hint of a competitive streak :)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:12 PM on November 28, 2006

Oh yeah, and if you're looking for kids' games, the old Super Solvers computer titles were great when I was in elementary school. They're not geared more towards puzzle-solving, but they teach basic math and science principles pretty well (and subtly enough that it never felt like it was learning, from what I remember).
posted by backseatpilot at 2:14 PM on November 28, 2006

Chip's Challenge? Kinda old school... Starts easy, gets very tough, not more than 30 different components built into lot of differently challenging levels, but no gaming type skills (aim, fast clicking) required. Lots of walkthroughs online for when you give up.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:15 PM on November 28, 2006

hat about traditional software games such as chess , Solitaire , 9 Men's Morris , Go, Reversi ?

Not much pressure in these. Chess commonly incorporates a clock, creating a time pressure (and due to the way it is implemented per game instead of per turn, time also becomes an additional manageable resource), but for most of these games, you can be as leisurely as you like.

Add a drill sergeant standing over your shoulder screaming "You WILL move NOW you digusting piece of slime or so HELP me God you'll give me 20 on the spot! DROP!" and maybe you're getting somewhere :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:22 PM on November 28, 2006

Response by poster: If you know of games I can spend no more than an hour a day playing , I would love to hear about them.

I will accept recommendations for hand held games , of course.

Thanks a million for all the great suggestions so far.
posted by cluelessguru at 2:23 PM on November 28, 2006

The Adventures of Lolo series on the old NES was always a favorite. Also the Lemmings series (mostly for PC, but possibly on other platforms). RTS games like Command & Conquer or Rise of Legends are good at decision-making-under-pressure skills. And for a more traditional action game which also has some very good puzzles, I would recommend Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
posted by SBMike at 2:26 PM on November 28, 2006

Sherlock by Everett Kaser. This is an old Dos game that may or may not work with modern monitors and operating systems. BTW if you try it, do not use a wireless mouse. It will slow you down a lot.
posted by Raybun at 2:53 PM on November 28, 2006

Yes, seconding Lemmings. Someone ported it to Flash and made it freely playable online a few years back, but judging from a quick google search, the lawyers must have become involved because it is nowhere to be seen. However, there are a bunch of imitation games online that presumably have similar gameplay.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:35 PM on November 28, 2006

One more - how about The Incredible Machine?
posted by backseatpilot at 3:48 PM on November 28, 2006

Also, the Interactive Fiction Archive has loads of text adventure games, crafted by hobbiests, and ranks them. The good ones are amazing, and the bad ones are terrible.

A lot of them require emulation of a sort, but it's well worth it. Some of the puzzle ones have a limit for the number of moves and can be solved in 3 minutes or 5 hours, depending on how clever you are.

Zork, of course.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 4:39 PM on November 28, 2006

Unreal Tournament 2004, Vehicle CTF on the clan servers. Really. You're under a lot of pressure to coordinate the best use of vehicle resources and maintain a delicate balance of defense and offense. All while talking, trying not to die, and predicting where your enemy's flag carrier is.
posted by aye at 6:11 PM on November 28, 2006

Backseatpilot: I believe the game you are thinking of is The Secret Island of Dr. Quandary. Great game but it is definitely a kids game.

Another game in the vein of Myst or 7th Guest would be Bad Day on the Midway. Scared the crap out of me when I played it.

I would suggest Darwinia as a great game to play if you have an hour or so but be warned: that hour might turn into five if you aren't careful. It has a Lemmings feel to it but you should really download it and give it a shot as it is almost impossible to describe.
posted by Diskeater at 7:08 PM on November 28, 2006

Zertz is a great, fast game that you can play online, or with a physical board that you make (and unmake) yourself.

Here's an explanation and strategy game. The game can be really quick to play, and if you play against a computer online here: http://www.boardspace.net/english/guest.shtml.

Rules and Strategy here:
posted by eggplantia5 at 7:24 PM on November 28, 2006

Get a Nintendo DS.

Then, get Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, Meteos, and Brain Age.

MVDK2 is kinda easy, but getting the gold stars requires some definite strategic planning before you begin each level.
Meteos makes you apply different strategies to eliminate the blocks from each level. And since the blocks start falling faster and faster, you have to adjust quickly.
Brain Age just makes you smarter.
And Advance Wars is strategy crack.
posted by educatedslacker at 8:10 PM on November 28, 2006

posted by chairface at 9:43 PM on November 28, 2006

Minimal Lemmings
posted by Happy Dave at 3:21 AM on November 29, 2006

posted by soplerfo at 6:53 AM on November 29, 2006

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