While research on the brain-activating power of Puyo Puyo may not seem like the most important thing to do as we currently live through the end times, it can produce fascinating results that are worth talking about. Using puzzles and games to keep the brain active is something many people take part in, but what parts of the brain are activated while you take part in such activities? University students at the Suwa University of Science in Tokyo decided to read the brain signals of players as they played Puyo Puyo eSports, released as Puyo Puyo Champions in English, and found that the prefrontal cortex was highly active while playing the game, with the area even more active during competitive 2-player battles.
To measure the brain activity during gameplay, players were hooked up to a special piece of equipment that could measure the changes in cerebral blood flow in the brain during gameplay. Then, players were challenged to play single player matches and matches against another player in order to measure the differences between brain activity before play and between the two modes.
What these Suwa University of Science students found was that activity increased dramatically during single player Puyo Puyo and even more so when playing competitively. Considering this and the fact that the frontal lobe is traditionally used for problem solving and memory, it’s thought that these results could show that playing Puyo Puyo could have positive effects on the brain health of a person, particularly for children and elderly people.
There are some flaws to this research. First of all, only 6 people were tested to gain these results, and even though all 6 showed heightened activity after play, this is too small of a sample size to make any definitive statements. In saying that, these results do match previous research on the topic. A famous case study involving Tetris in 2009 that similarly measured brain imaging during gameplay found that playing Tetris leads to a thicker cortex and may also increase brain efficiency.
When such a small sample size is used, it’s easy to be too quick in drawing conclusions. At the same time, Puyo Puyo is fun, and if preliminary science shows it can also improve the health of your brain, well, that’s just a bonus, isn’t it?