These days a lot of us have smart phones so of course I have to look at this device and wonder “how can this amazing technology that is becoming cheaper and cheaper and more widely used be applied to Multiple Sclerosis?” Now I have lots of ways that my phone helps me fight MS and lots of ways I think it can eventually be used to help in other areas of fighting and managing Multiple Sclerosis but for now let’s start with some fun!
A good percentage of MS patients deal with cognitive issues or “cog-fog” as we call it. This can be anything from memory loss to impaired problem solving skills and anywhere in between! So like any other weakening muscle it’s important to “work it out” in order to strengthen it! Now no one likes working out but the great thing about working your brain out is you can have lots of fun doing it and not even know you are exercising!
So how can your smart phone help you battle MS? Simple! Download games! I’m not talking about Angry Birds, I’m talking about games that require a little more thinking. First let me present you with a list of some of my favorite brain games I play on my phone and then I’ll provide you with a description of each one and an explanation of how I think it can help stimulate your brain unlike some first person shooter on Xbox!
- Hanging With Friends
- Words With Friends
- Word Search
- Unblock Me
- Robo Defence
- Finger Dance
Odd list yeah? Well let me explain because I do beleive that each of these games can help battle your MS in some way shape or form. Some may be better than others but just like exercising with weights you need your heavy, strenuous, stuff and then you need your cool down time. These games should provide both without you even knowing it!
This game is lots of fun, it is basically hangman! You choose an opponent (who can be random or a friend from Facebook) and you make up a word with the provided letters. Your opponent then tries to guess the word with a set amount of tries. In each game your character starts off with 5 balloons, every time you fail to guess a word correctly a balloon pops and your character who is hanging from these balloons sinks closer to a pit of lava! First person to loose all their balloons loses the game but of course you have the option to rematch! Oh yeah, you can also chat with your opponent during the game! Watch the trash talking haha!
To make things more personal and fun each letter you use when creating a word for your opponent to guess is worth a different amount of points. After you create a word the points are added up and set aside. Once you build up 200 points you get 20 coins. Save your coins to customize your character or your balloons! You can also use coins to use certain lifelines in case winning each game is more important to you than looking all fancy and what not!
Lot’s of fun, lots of competition, especially when you KNOW your opponent! All the while this game is making your brain think, “What kind of words can I make by putting these letters together? What words can I make using the most high value letters? I wonder what word THEY created? Should I guess this letter? No… Well let’s see, after E maybe there is an R or a D”. See? Your using your brain but your more focused on outsmarting your opponent and popping their balloons!
This game is made by the same people who made Hanging With Friends, in fact, it came out first. Don’t like the guessing part of Hanging With Friends but like creating words? Well then this is your game because it’s just Scrabble! You have a set amount of letter in each round and each letter is worth a certain amount of points. You have to build a word using the letters off of a word that already exists on the board! Once all your letters are gone who ever has the most points built up wins the game! Ready for a rematch? You can play random opponents or a friend from Facebook! You can also chat with them during the game just like Hanging With Friends!
Now I hate words searches, I have always sucked at them, even in middle school I remember sucking! I just can’t see the words in the mess of letters, I don’t know what it is. However, lots of people enjoy word searches and if you are looking to work your brain out this is a good one because they say that doing puzzles like word searches can even help prevent Alzheimer disease! Anyways, I am not sure if there is any kind of multiplayer version out there but there are plenty of single player word searches available for free if you prefer to play a peaceful game alone. I am using an android phone so if you have one as well and are looking for a word search game simply go to your market and click the search icon, then type in “word search” and a list should pop up in order of popularity.
Now this game really pushes the problem solving aspect of your brain and can get rather addicting because it’s one of those “I’m going mad because I am one step away from winning” kind of games. Unblock Me is a simple puzzle game in which you have a board full of blocks. One block is a different color than the rest and this block needs to be slid across the board to the exit. The only problem is there are a bunch of block in the way! You need to strategically slide the blocks in order to clear a path to the exit. Each round gets harder and harder, There are many versions of this game but again, just go for the most popular, that is usually the best!
Chess is a no-brainer as far as looking for a game that makes you think. As far as thinking goes, Chess is an all-brainer. I am still looking for a version in which I can play friends say on Facebook but I have yet to find one. So for now, I’ll settle for an artificial opponent. Some people don’t like chess or don’t know how to play. There are apps that will teach you how to play chess that are available on the Android Market for free but if you simply don’t like the game than try Checkers, it’s much more simple but still your using your brain and with these games they’re trying to make you think a few steps ahead which is really good for a lot of the types of Cog-Fog we MS patients have to deal with!
OK, now I am moving into the more “cool down”, fun, kind of games. Tetris is one of my favorite games ever and it makes you think! It’s a timed puzzle and because of that “running out of time” element it makes you think a tad differently. A lot of us MS patients feel like our brains are working a tad slower than usual so Tetris is a good way to exercise our ability to try to think quick! If you don’t think fast enough then you run out of time and your block doesn’t stack right! There are lots of free versions of this game so don’t make the mistake of paying for it because the free versions are just as good if not better! I have tried both!
Now this game is not for everyone, it’s called a “tower defence” game and the object of the game is to create a maze of towers (that have different attacking abilities and can be upgraded) and prevent your enemy from making it from one side of the map to the other. Each kill gives you money that you can use to build more towers or upgrade them. Each round get’s harder and harder. There are many rounds per level. Each level also get’s harder!
This game makes you think even though it sounds like a mindless kind of game. You have to build carefully and create your maze in such a way that it will do the most damage possible to your enemy. Should you build more or upgrade more? This is more of a fun game than anything else but I am putting it on the list because it does require some thinking as far as strategy goes.
There are two versions of this game, the Free version and the paid version with more maps and upgrades. I got so addicted to this game that I bought the paid version just to see what kind of new options there are. Both versions are just as fun so try it if it sounds like you might like it! Takes some time to figure it out but once you do your hooked!
This game is… Ridiculous… However I realized for some of us, as silly as this game is, it can actually be of great help. Finger dance is just a smart phone version of Dance Dance Revolution, you know, the game where you stand on the pad with the four arrows and dance to some cheesy music?
Now how the heck can this benefit an MS patient? Well besides being silly and cracking a smile, it helps with timing and coordination. You have to tap each arrow just as it passes the marker. The more dead on you are the more points you get.
For me I am having fine motor issues with my hands so to try to tap right on the dot is kind of hard but after playing for a while I started getting it! Timing may be a physical issue but it can also be a mental issue so trying to hit the arrows at the right moment can help in that area of the brain as well! Either way this game is silly and it’s just one of those “I need a brake” kind of games that get’s old after a while. Still fun!
So look for these games in your market place, you should be able to find them on both an Android phone or an iPhone. I am not sure about Windows Mobile haha… But try to find the free version of them all, you shouldn’t have to pay for any of this even if you have to find a similar version made by someone else. It’s all out there and if your going to spend time playing on your phone all day you might as well benefit from it plus when someone bugs you about being on your phone too much you can say “I’m healing my MS!” Have fun!
If you would like to play against me in any of the multiplayer games above than add me to Facebook and when you go to start a new game click “friends from Facebook” and find me!