Mensa Academy Has The Worst Football Team

By John Walker on May 30th, 2012 at 9:00 pm.

Sweird - nowadays smart women are hot, but smart men are ugly. Times have changed.

Hey, what’s your IQ? Oh, really, mine is 30 points higher. I pity you. I’m bound to be SO much better at Mensa Academy when it comes out at the end of July.

IQ really is the silliest thing. As a measure of how good you are at IQ tests, it’s incredibly useful. For all other purposes it seems to not translate helpfully to mean anything. But this is of course not really a Mensa game, but a very belated Square Enix response to the Brain Age phenomenon that ended about four years ago. Which could well mean it’s time for it to happen all over again. To be released on 3DS, Wii and PC, it’s clearly aiming for the same crowd. But amongst the promised “fun and stimulating mini-games” will be questions that have been “endorsed” by Mensa! Imagine that!

So who knows where they’re really pitching this. The idea of something as immediately catchy as Brain Age, but with some questions that a dead frog couldn’t answer, does sound appealing. However, Square’s boast that IQ correlates with “intelligence” is perhaps one that requires some raised eyebrows and tutting. They boast it like this,

“Mensa Academy is the most credible game of its kind to date from the definitive experts in the field of measuring and fostering intelligence. The power of the mind is fascinating, the real challenge is how to best maximise its potential.”

I’m not sure that’s going to come about by being able to work out the next wiggly shape in a pattern, or know which word doesn’t mean “concerning”. I suspect engaging the power of the mind to maximise its potential is a little more complicated than playing a game with sums and memory tests. I do wish they wouldn’t market such things with all the woo, but rather just acknowledge it’s about mental stimulation. There’s lots to argue in favour of that, including studies that suggest such neuron activity may well hold off dementia. Go that way, rather than pretending it’s going to make us all smarter. It ain’t.

Still, I reckon it could be a fun thing if only it will feature some difficult questions – unlike every other brain training game ever. We’ll find out on the 27th July.

Oh, but if you’re promoting a game that’s about advancing skills with words and numbers, MAYBE DON’T PUT AN APOSTROPHE IN “100’s” ON THE FRONT PAGE OF YOUR WEBSITE.

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55 Comments »

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  1. Hoaxfish says:

    my eyes are certainly drawn to those very large round…

    …lenses

    • Premium User Badge

      lurkalisk says:

      That was really the case, for me. My thoughts, at first reading the headline went something like… “Mensa Academy has the… Worst… GLAAAAASSES”

  2. frenz0rz says:

    Alt-text contains a profound truth that I had never before realised.

    I shall be expecting this from all my alt-texts now, RPS.

  3. Chandos says:

    I Quse the devs of overly simplifying human intelligence.

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      RaveTurned says:

      I don’t know what kind of chump this is mensa fall for this rubbish.

  4. Jamesworkshop says:

    I’m surprised at John

    fancy not believing in the rights of numbers to possess property.

    For shame

    • Fumarole says:

      Train your brain with 100’s of fun mini-games, puzzles and Mensa® endorsed questions.

      John’s right about this one chap.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I’d say this review read like a 7 out of 10.

    • Mattressi says:

      Excellent comment :D

  5. Heliocentric says:

    I freaking hate the IQ is all important crowd.

    I’m great as the little visual puzzles on account of years of brain abuse caused by match 3 games and the like, but that doesn’t make me a better person.

  6. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    The use of an apostrophe when denoting the plural of a number is acceptable, if not widely used. So they’re not wrong, but you are righter. The righter writer. Heh.

    Also: are those characters realistically proportioned? Do Mensa members really have larger heads than the rest of us in order to process all those inane logic puzzles?

    • Valvarexart says:

      Thank you, sir, for clearing that up. I was convinced that John’s complaint was not entirely justified, and you confirmed my suspicions.

      • NathanH says:

        They should spell it “hundreds” like civilized human beings would.

        • Mollusc Infestation says:

          1×10² is obviously the best way to write it. Especially since i had to open Character Map to get the ² because i couldn’t remember the alt code. Wait, i probably don’t mean best. Laborious. That’s the one.

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            Fede says:

            ² = alt+253 and ³ = alt+252; by the way, does someone know why it’s not the opposite?

  7. Nix Nada says:

    At the end of the game the guy takes off his glasses, shakes out his hair, and reveals he was hot all along!

  8. KeyboardGato says:

    i didn’t know there where people with an IQ of 190. what are you doing writing for RPS? solve the world’s problems!

  9. mr.ioes says:

    Why are you promoting this now? By the time it’s released, I’ll already have forgotten about it it. Wait, when was it released again? 23rd of June? 2021?

    • John Walker says:

      I do wish that people could distinguish between our “promoting” something, and our informing readers about a game that’s coming out soon. I’m pretty sure that if Square were promoting the game via me, they’d have slightly objected to the tone of the piece.

      • Dakia says:

        Nonsense! Everyone has an agenda!

      • mr.ioes says:

        Sorry for my bad word-choosing abilities. They are still at noob level and this won’t chance as I quit the being-taught game. Swap “promoting” with “sell out to” and I’d still mean “informing me of”.

        To me this is just one more interesting game that I probably won’t ever hear again from, just like all the others. I think. How could I know if there were even others? My guts tell me.

  10. TaroYamada says:

    IQ is a valid predictor of many things, and while whether it directly represents intelligence as the term is generally used is definitely a heated debate the other things which it can be used to predict (such as academic achievement, mortality, and income level) are well acknowledged. There is a clear correlation between these things and IQ scores, and according to must studies on the subject heritability for IQ is also above 70%.

    Personally I land on the side of scientists who maintain it represents intelligence — as most recent evidence leads me to that conclusion — while the article does not, and that’s fine as it isn’t empirical yet and likely won’t be for some time, if ever. To act as though it doesn’t indicate anything however is purely disingenuous, regardless of your stance on whether it indicates general intelligence or not.

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      CheesyJelly says:

      It completely depends how we define ‘intelligence’. For the most part, though, IQ tests do seem to correlate well with general intelligence (g – if it exists). The sad news is that these brain-training things don’t seem to grant benefits for anything other than the specific tasks you train on – the effects don’t generalise to other intelligence measures.

      • Gilmir says:

        The basic problem with IQ and computer games having IQ in their title is – an IQ test makes sense only if it surprises you. Which the “IQ” games don’t. They show you a problem and once you solve it, train you like a circus animal to perform it better and better. Which doesn’t make you any more intelligent then you were before.
        Real IQ tests have to give you problems that you can’t sove by learning them by heart.
        For some real “IQ testing” in games, I recommend some of the more devious user created Portal 2 chambers ;)

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Look IQ test measure things like pattern recognition, and ability to rotate spatial objects in your mind, and semantic translation, et cetera. And these things are extremely useful. You are way to cynical about its value if you just think it represents training the brain to solve silly tests.

      Granted I think a tool like this game that is aimed at “raising people’s IQ” probably doesn’t help nearly as much as their initial “natural IQ”. The same way I would take a student who got in the top 4% for test they didn’t study for over one who got in the top 1% but did study if I had to pick who was smarter. But life isn’t all about who is smarter, which is why colleges would rather have the studier, better to have augmented your scores with hard work than someone who just coasts on good scores.

    • Kresh says:

      IQ measures mental flexibility. Extrapolate from there.

    • kud13 says:

      hey everyone, repeat the mantra of science:

      Correlation does not equal causation

      Correlation does not equal causation

      Correlation does not equal causation

      Correlation does not equal causation……

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        Llewyn says:

        Which is fine, because he didn’t write anything indicating that he believed there was a causative effect.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I’m glad someone else did this comment so I didn’t have to.

      I also agree that memorizeable patterns do not fill the same function as actual randomly generated puzzles, but even just memorizing stuff is already brain training, like it or not.
      A ton of stuff we do is beneficial, even in normal gaming.
      But there is obviously non-PC stuff as well. Learning how to juggle builds new gray matter, learning more languages isn’t a bad idea either, and taking a walk for a mile a day helps stave off Alzheimers.
      And “use it or lose it” is a fairly accurate simplification of most basic proficiencies related to the brain.

      Bottom line: You can improve as well as do maintenance on brain functions and capacity.
      Whether or not we need “brain games” for that is disputeable, but that they can have at least some kind of positive effect I suspect can be argued over. Then again so does the Sunday crossword or Sudoku.

  11. aPlum says:

    This rant is not dissimilar to some pretty funny ones that accuse videogames of causing violent murderers to commit themselves to violent murdering. I mean if you are going to accuse an nonprofit institution of being based on horseshit premises at least use some evidence.

    • TaroYamada says:

      Politics and moral ideologies/ideals taint science. I cannot speak for Europe, nor do I know whether that’s at play for John’s stance, but in America the Dems deny IQ despite evidence favoring it, and the Repubs deny climate change despite the overwhelming evidence for that. Neither of the groups provide contradicting evidence to either of these ideas. It’s a pretty interesting dichotomy as the Dems claim to support academia but then, unsurprisingly, that support dissipates as soon academia suggests something contrary to their platform.

      • Kresh says:

        “Repubs deny climate change despite the overwhelming evidence for that. Neither of the groups provide contradicting evidence to either of these ideas”

        Not reading too much outside your comfort zone, are you. Plenty of evidence to the contrary… at least contrary to the “it’s a giant big emergency and we have to shut down all industries” claims. Plenty of evidence that the climate warms… and cools… and warms up again… then cools down again. Plenty of evidence that it’s a cycle and scant evidence that’s it a giant emergency or mankind’s fault.

        • Salt says:

          (Oh dear, am I about to post about climate change on the Internet? I’m so sorry.)

          Even if everything we’re currently experiencing with regards changing global climate is not the result of humanity’s influence that doesn’t stop it influencing humans.

          If our models are correct then we’ll be losing significant areas of farm land and major cities in the not too distant future. Even if humanity didn’t cause the climate change we’re seeing, it might be a good idea for humanity to act to reduce it.

        • MondSemmel says:

          Nonsense. For example, look at this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change
          There’s a section on “Statements by dissenting organizations”: “Since 2007, when the American Association of Petroleum Geologists released a revised statement,[105] no scientific body of national or international standing rejects the findings of human-induced effects on climate change.[10][11]”

          Of course there’s always dissent – but the case of evolution shows that no matter how much evidence you accumulate, you will _never_ convince everybody.

          • Kresh says:

            Ah yes, Wikipedia. The place where the loudest screaming loony is usually the last word.

            Perhaps I should append my own statement; undoubtedly we do have some small effect on the climate, but it’s not enough to proclaim “IT”S A GREAT BIG F*CKING EMERGENCY! CANCEL WESTERN CIVILIZATION!” If it was, would Al Gore be flying in a private jet to these climate gatherings and have a giant house that used tons of those “evil” fossil fuels?

            When the doomsayers start acting like it’s an emergency and not some big scam, call me. Then I’ll start paying attention.

            Also, consensus is not science. See: Continental Drift, Planetary Orbits, Bacteria, X-rays, and about a million and a half other “scientific beliefs” that were “thought wrong” by consensus. A thousand people shouting “It’s true! It’s true” or “You’re a denier” does not make it so. No matter what the weather channel tells you.

        • RegisteredUser says:

          I think the more interesting question is whether we can push these natural swings enough so that they kill us all before self-correcting again.
          I for one think it might be a great idea not to melt most of the world’s ice or raise the sea levels by our own doing rather than a natural swing which may have been a few thousand years slower.
          Even if we’re just tickling the bear instead of killing it, can’t we at least just try and keep our hands to ourselves?

  12. Persus-9 says:

    I think Eskil Steenberg said it best: – “I don’t understand IQ, because whoever thought that the entire brain could be summed up by a number – that person shouldn’t want there to be a way to measure intelligence.”

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-02-16-eskil-steenberg-love-maker-interview

    • Joshua Northey says:

      While funny, the point is undermined by the fact that knowing someones IQ is in fact extremely useful. It will tell you a lot about their mental abilities. Obviously it doesn’t come with 0.5% of “summing up their whole brain” but it doesn’t need to do that.

      It is enough that it will tell you that Bobby is much more likely to understand advanced math than Timmy, and that STevie is going to be much worse at deciphering codes than Jill. And many other useful things.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Wot Josh said.

      • MikoSquiz says:

        True enough, but conversely membership of Mensa seems to correlate extremely well with, um.. “not being all there”? Is that a good way to put it?

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    Hodge says:

    Amusingly, the font on their website seems to be modeled after the one from the old Police Academy films.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      It’s actually a kind of font used in many American school logos. That’s where Police Academy got it in the first place.

  14. Dances to Podcasts says:

    We need more people trained in pattern recognition. Especially dumb ones trying to get smarter. How else will we be able to keep up a steady supply of conspiracy theories?

    Also, I suspect there are many questions dead frogs won’t be able to answer.

  15. DrOwn says:

    You don’t make posts about religion or politics on this website (hopefully), so why bring up *this* subject? Enjoy your flame war.