Welcome back to Box Art Brawl, our regular box art-based poll to find the best regional variants from two or more territories.
Last time we took a 20th anniversary look at HAL Laboratory’s GBC game, Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble. With Europe out of the running thanks to the game never launching in that region, it was left to North America and Japan to duke it out. It was a close run bout, but in the end North America emerged victorious with just over 60% of the vote.
This week it’s another anniversary: 16th April 2021 marked fifteen years since the US release of the phenom that was Brain Age — we’ve gone with ‘Age’ because it’s the American anniversary, but it was better known as Brain Training elsewhere. Whatever name it went by, everybody and their gran were glued to their Nintendo DS in the summer of 2006 doing Sudoku puzzles and scrawling numbers on their consoles while a genial Japanese gentleman encouraged you to keep the ol’ grey matter energised.
Did it work? Are we smarter thanks to training our brains for minutes a day? Who can say, but Nintendo sure sold a ton of games, that’s for sure. Let’s see if brains really do beat brawn, then…
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (to give the game its full title) gave an impression of high class and education with its elegant, serif-ed logo at the top, but the bog-standard capitals of ‘IS YOUR BRAIN YOUNG OR OLD?’ down the bottom belies its tabloid-y casual appeal. Rays of — what is that? sunlight? brainwaves? — radiate from the cranium in the centre, which is divided into quadrants that show the various activities contained on the cart.
Sudoku is included — did you spot that? — and we quite like the DS ‘Phat’ used to illustrate how you hold the console like a book to play this one. Functional.
Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? takes a cooler approach with a light blue background fading to a clean white piece of grid paper (the sort that clever people do sums and things on). The cranium returns in blue form and calmly tells us that — yes — Sudoku is included here, too.
There were slight variants of this design with more information at the bottom and different languages between your country in the PAL territories, but they were all very similar to this. Europe gets a nice elegant white DS Lite to demonstrate how you should hold the console to play the game, too. What can we say? We’re a classy bunch.
Japan bins the oddly historical-looking cranium for an oddly polygonal one. Yes, the Japanese version is the only one to feature Doctor K himself on the cover, albeit smallish and plonked down in the bottom right corner. The grid paper is doing a lot of work here, and if it wasn’t for the splash of red livening things up, this would be a pretty bland cover.
So, you’ve seen the options, but which big brain is beautiful? Click on your favourite below and hit ‘Vote’ to let us know:
Congratulations to Dr. Kawashima on fifteen fruitful years as a floating face — we hope you bought a very nice house with all your Brain Training money. As for the rest of you, have a great week and we’ll see you next time.