My biggest problem with games is specific to my autism: I’m time blind. I don’t realize how much time has passed, I can easily sink hours and hours into games that trigger the “one more round” response, such as Kill the tower can do Autistic people and people with ADHD are more at risk of exhibiting traits and behaviors associated with video game addiction. But instead of limiting my screen time, I adapt my gaming strategy.
At this point in my life, I divide games into two categories: “time drains” and “brain breaks.” Time lapses that require hours of dedication and focus are things I have to reserve for weekends or evenings. On the other hand, for brain breaks, I choose games that have a definitive ending, minimal postgame, and levels and objectives that only take a few minutes. I can randomly pick them up between meetings or over lunch to stimulate my mind and feel a sense of focus and a welcome distraction. These breaks help my executive function, improve my focus and attention for the rest of the day. I also feel a sense of renewed motivation playing games as a reward for completing work tasks.
Whether you’re interested in improving your executive function like me or looking for a new way to spend your five-minute Pomodoro Technique break, here are three Nintendo Switch games I recommend to stimulate your brain.
WarioWare: Get It Together
Assumption WarioWare: Get It Together is pretty straightforward. The story mode features 20 characters and introduces you to them one by one, so you can learn their individual abilities by playing minigames (like food or sports themed) that are tailored to them. There are up to 200 mini-games to choose from, each lasting just a few seconds.
If you add Put it togetheronline gaming options, WarioWare update with the Wario Cup challenge. Challenges help my brain’s need for sensory and visual stimulation, but also help my need for routine. Wario Cup challenges usually take me a few minutes total.
This article in the New York Times says something I thought while playing WarioWare game: They’re “ideal for nervous brains.” The very fast pace keeps me focused for a few seconds, and then I’m refreshed and ready to jump back into something else.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Simplicity Kirby The gameplay formula has always appealed to me: You control a pink puffer, inhale enemies, copy their abilities, and defeat the same enemies to save Planet Popstar. For me, Kirby the games are about low stakes: they’re not inherently frustrating and stressful, the environments are beautifully designed, and each installment has the same premise, which is predictable to me.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the latest installment in the series for the Nintendo Switch. What makes it so special isn’t the 3D graphics or the new Mouthful Mode, which allows Kirby to transform into everyday objects like cars and vending machines. Instead, it’s that the levels – which take less than 10 minutes to complete – have a new replay factor. You have plenty of room to explore each level you first play through, but you’re unlikely to unlock everything on your first clear. Instead, you can return to them to complete side quests such as eating a certain amount of food, not taking damage during a boss fight, or finding a secret path. There are also Treasure Road levels to unlock, which are challenging time trials that usually take less than three minutes to complete.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate
Sonic was my first real love of gaming, I started when I was a little kid and my dad had the original Sega Genesis games. Somehow I missed the original Sound colors on Wii, but the remastered edition for Switch is an unexpected delight. As in most others Sound In the games, you control a blue hedgehog to save the world from Dr. Eggman, try to collect seven Chaos Emeralds in between and level up by collecting golden rings.
Original Sound levels were 2D masterpieces that never took more than five to seven minutes to complete. Colors it has a linear component but with a 3D twist. The colors and level of detail of the graphics make the game so visually stimulating that it somehow feels like it was made for a sensory seeker like me.
Like Kirby title, Sonic Colors: Ultimate it has a revisit factor. I found myself exploring earlier levels hoping to collect red rings I missed, looking for items that give Sonic a new power, or just enjoying the graphics as I zoom past them with Sonic’s colored bar. Then I approach my work or personal tasks again, feeling a renewed sense of accomplishment and focus.
This article was edited by Signe Brewster and Arthur Gies.