Sunday, November 3, 2013

Think Fun-Analysis: Rush Hour, an oldie but still a goodie

Game On!

Recently, Think Fun revamped the look of their classic traffic jam game, Rush Hour.  Now in it's sleek and gray scale version, Rush Hour may be found on any Mensa-hopeful's shelf to help exercise your brain.
The basis of the game is to get the red car out of the traffic jam in the fewest moves possible.  Graded from beginner to expert, the single player must first set up the puzzle board with the black, gray and red cars.  Then moving one car at a time, spaces open up to eventually slide the red car out of the garage.  This may seem simple to you, but it is not.  This game uses many skills.  First, the ability to match the cars to the picture calls for significant spatial skills.  Then, problem solving, strategizing, and persistence must be harnessed in order to move the cars out of the way.  Let alone, the fine motor to manipulate the cars (though they could easily be moved with a mouth stick once set up).
My eight year old was able to persist independently to challenge 18 (out of 80) parking scenarios.  Then as the complexity increased, frustration emerged and he decided to hold off till another day.  The following day, he discovered the fail safe solving instructions in the back to which he referred as the "clues" and completed number 80.  I laughed and said he cheated, to which he replied "No I didn't, I just followed the directions."  Ya, got me there kid.
I didn't get much farther than him during some quiet time I had.   Mensa member, I am not.  But it was the pleasure of the pursuit.  The a-ha moment of getting the car out.  Apparently I need to work on my spatial skills.

I know many of my OT friends have been using Rush Hour for years.  It is a fun yet intellectual game rated for kids 8 and up.  Rush Hour is available at many stores from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and specialty toy shops around the way, as well as straight off the Think Fun website.   For $14.99, this is a wonderful game to keep a child or adult occupied on a rainy afternoon.  Because of the pieces, it doesn't travel too well.  However, there is an app for that.  Rush Hour Free and the full version  Rush Hour (for $2.99) are available on the App Store so you can play any time, any where.  My kids or I will play in the car, at a restaurant, doctor's offices etc.  There is even a mini Rush Hour Holiday version for .99 cents with presents and a penguin.  Really cute.

For a game that has been around since 1996, Rush Hour continues to provide edutainment to the young and young at heart.  Hmm...I wonder if there has ever been a clinical study on the benefits of this game on the aging brain....

Though I received Rush Hour for gratis in return for my review, my thoughts are my own, as out of the box they may be.

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