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Games for the Brainiacs

Well how many times have we been herded like sheep away from our PCs, Xboxs, PSPs or even good old Nintendo DSs? Sometimes it's exams, sometimes it's get-away-from-those-eye-damaging-screens, but more often than not, our parents pull the knowledge card. Starting with a lengthy speech about how their young age was spent either following their parents' every rule or pursuing knowledge in books and outdoors, they begin with descriptions of their unshakable first positions all throughout school and finally wrap it up with a healthy dose of criticism for both us and the video game companies. Since it's our parents and not the company's, it's us who have to grudgingly lay down the controllers and pretend to badger the wisdom tree for a while. At least while mom and dad are looking. Allowance day is coming up.

We could end up learning some things that way, but reluctance is not exactly the best tool for edification. What else we could do though is that we could point out to the parents how tremendously enlightening video games really are:

Sim City:
Teaches: Planning, Budgeting.

As edureaserch.com puts it, Sim City is about understanding variable manipulations for urban management while building a simulated city. Sounds pretty impressive, right? While we were sitting in front of our PCs and causing rebellions or having a go at messing up the power supply system, we actually were managing a whole city!

We grow up and go to college and take years to learn budgeting, planning or urban management, while our ten year old selves were clearly doing a better job.

Brain Age:
Helps with: Creativity, memory, communication and Self-control
Sim City might not be exclusively made for making you brainier, but there are some games that are. Brain Age and Brain Age 2 are Nintendo DS games that have inspired from neuroscientist Dr. Ryuta Kawashima to help the players exercise their minds, with simple fun. It calculates your brain age, and trains you with simple arithmetic, reading out loud and Sudoku; the key to succeeding in training is sticking with it, and these games have plenty reasons why you should.

Professor Layton Series:
Teaches: You are dumber than initially thought

The Professor Layton series provides the players with a healthy dose of mindboggling puzzles and an okay storyline. Professor Layton is a master of solving even the most ridiculously tough riddles and his young assistant Luke is just learning the trade. There are a lot of head-scratchers and you cannot stop playing once you start. This is one of the most addicting educational games, ever.

Phoenix Wright Series:
Teaches: Legal System and Crime-solving

As awesome as being a lawyer sounds, it's a ton of work. The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is all about being an ace lawyer, except it is better, without all the cramming and ludicrously high tuition fees. The players have to defend clients, sometimes solve crimes and the story twists and turns keep the gamers on the edge.

Yes, not ALL games have something to teach us, but most games do. Even good old Mario taught us failing once or twice doesn't mean you can stop trying. Apart from that though, more and more countries are realizing the impact that gaming has on kids, and trying to incorporate the planning, adventures and simulation of video games into the educational systems. We hope they get far (imagine being taught history this way!); in the meantime, we have an excellent excuse to keep playing.

By Orin

Animal Upgrades

Recently there has been some buzz around the news ether about the supposed introduction of Hippos in Kaptai Lake. While this particular piece of news proved that our ministers think about the country even when they are roaming the world, the environmentalists ridiculed the idea, pointing towards the destruction of ecological balance and the possibly mortal hazards of fishermen. Alarmists! Even though the idea has since been retracted, we at RS believe that it is a wonderful notion that should not be mocked, rather applauded. And drawing inspiration from this pioneering idea, we present to you a few other animals that we think should grace this beloved land of ours.

The Lion Prides
Let's face it, everyone likes Lion King. Who can forget the regal Mufasa with his flowing mane and cute little baby Simba running for his life through a stampede of Wildebeest. Thankfully, we don't have Wildebeest in Bangladesh and can provide a safe home for the poor lionpup. We have acres upon acres of artificial savannah [read: dhankhet], which will be perfect for them. And if they get hungry… well, we do have a slight population problem.

Bald Eagles
Not only are they the symbol of the most powerful nation in the world, but their very presence exudes class. Bald Eagles, also known as MFC (not some fried chicken outlet but Majestic Freaking Creatures) would rid us of the annoying crows who stand as testaments of our poverty and keep waking us up way too bloody early. Or those of us whose houses are close to a dustbin. Bald Eagle, two thumbs up. Let them run riot.

We aren't the best of nations when it comes to sports. While we may have some semblance of respect on the cricket field, our athletics has been below par compared to the rest of the world. Hence, Kangaroos. Not only can they teach us about jumping really high, they can also teach us to run really fast when they decide that they are annoyed with us and would like to have a piece of our intestines to decorate their walls. If that isn't enough, who doesn't know about the Kangaroo's phenomenal skills in boxing. In no time, our people will be fit enough to knock out Mike Tyson.

Our canals are drying up; our water is being hoarded by our neighbours; our lakes are being filled to make room for more houses and we have less that 10% forestry. Dhaka City, at our last count, had a total of six respectable trees. Basically, we are becoming a concrete desert. So, why waste time protecting today what we will hunt tomorrow and instead why not just invest in some camels? Camels are tasty. Camels can carry men and women to many places easily. Camels don't need much water or food. And their milk is apparently better than cow's milk, which we import from New Zealand anyway. Yes, they spit sometimes, but so do we, at every chance we get. We even take aim, when we are having a bad day.

While the lions have it easy, the question of how Bangladesh's environment can support the other creatures is also quite easily answered. Just take a walk down Mirpur Zoo. We can make anything survive in the worst of conditions. For quite a few weeks.

By Bald and Balder



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