I’m always a little dubious about game-related studies, be they good or bad. Still, hearing about a good one is always, well, good ;).

The UK Telegraph has an article about an experiment done at the University of Illinois (and why is this only being reported in a British publication?) involving 40 people age 60+. Half the group played the real-time strategy game Rise of Nations, and, of course, the other half didn’t.

All in the group were tested on various cognitive functions before, during, and after the training (or not training, as the case may be). Those who played RoN showed marked improvements in mental ability.

The article doesn’t mention if any of the participants had prior game experience or were active gamers to begin with. I would hope not, as otherwise that might skew the results (although given the poor methodolgy often used in game studies, one never knows).

For all that, it would seem that some forms of gaming help to keep the mind sharp and active. Of course, we knew this all along. Heh. What’s nice is that this was a “regular” game being used, rather than one of those “brain training” products that are so hyped these days.

Check out the article and see what you think. Just don’t flinch when you see Rise of Nations called a “role-playing game” instead of RTS.

Older Brains Improved by RTS at the Telegraph