Video games have always been a comfort to me. Growing up, they helped me avoid the social isolation that exists for so many autistic people like me and they helped me find a place of acceptance to explore new hobbies.
My biggest problem with gaming is specific to my autism: I’m time blind. Without knowing how much time has passed, I can easily sink hours and hours into games that trigger a “just one more round” reaction, such as: Kill the tower can do. Autistic and ADHD sufferers are at higher risk of exhibiting traits and behaviors associated with video game addiction. But instead of limiting my screen time, I adjust my gaming strategy.
At this point in my life, I divide games into two categories: “time is running out” and “brain breaks”. The time sinks that require hours of dedication and focus are things I have to reserve for weekends or evenings. For brain breaks, on the other hand, I choose games with a definitive ending, minimal post-game, and levels and objectives that only last a few minutes. I can occasionally pick them up between meetings or over lunch to stimulate my mind and provide a sense of focus and welcome distraction. These breaks support my executive function and improve my focus and alertness for the rest of the day. I also feel a sense of renewed motivation when playing games as a reward for completing work-related 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 give your brain a boost give.
WarioWare: Get it together
The premise of WarioWare: Get it together is pretty easy. Story mode features 20 characters and introduces you to them one at a time, allowing you to learn their individual skills by playing customized mini-games (e.g. food or sports themed). You have up to 200 mini-games to choose from, each just a few seconds long.
If you add Get it togetherthe online game skills of , WarioWare Updates with a Wario Cup challenge. The challenges support my need for sensory and visual stimulation, but also my need for routine. The Wario Cup Challenges typically last a few minutes total.
This New York Times article says something I was thinking while playing WarioWare game: They’re “perfect for fidgety brains.” The very fast pace keeps me focused for a few seconds, and then I’m refreshed and ready to do something else again.
Kirby and the forgotten land
The simplicity of kirby Games’ formula has always attracted me: you control a pink puffball, breathe in enemies, copy their abilities and defeat the same enemies to save Planet Popstar. To me, kirby Games are all about low stakes: they’re not inherently frustrating and stressful, the environments are beautifully designed, and every part shares 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 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, the levels, each taking less than 10 minutes to complete, have a novel replay factor. You have plenty of room to explore each level the first time, but you probably won’t unlock everything on your first clear. Instead, you can return to complete side quests within them, 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 typically take under three minutes to complete.
Sonic was my first true love in gaming, starting when I was a little kid and my dad had the original Sega Genesis games. Somehow I missed the original sound colors on the Wii, but the remastered edition for the Switch is an unexpected delight. As in most others sound In games you control the blue hedgehog to save the world from Dr. Saving Eggman while trying to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds and dashing through levels while collecting golden rings.
The original sound Levels were 2D masterpieces that never took more than five to seven minutes to complete. Colours has that linear component but with a 3D twist. The colors and level of detail in the graphics make the game so visually stimulating that it somehow feels like it was made for a sensory person like me.
As kirby Title, Tones: Ultimate has a repetition factor. I explore previous levels hoping to collect the red rings I missed, look for objects that give Sonic new powers, or enjoy the graphics while zooming past them with a colorful Sonic dash. Then I zoom back into my work or personal tasks and feel a renewed sense of accomplishment and focus.
This article was edited by Signe Brewster and Arthur Gies.