Mind control games like Mindflex are poised to be a big seller this holiday season, but is it really worth spending $80 on? It gives me a headache just thinking about it.

The Game

The object of the game is simple. You must manipulate the vertical movement of the ball using the power of your thoughts. The headband detects the intensity of your brainwaves—the harder your concentrate, the higher the fan in the unit will elevate the ball. Clearing your mind makes the ball descend. Horizontal movement is controlled by a knob on the base. There are five game modes: Freestyle, Mental Marathon, Danger Zone, Chase the Lights and Thoughtshot. Each challenge provides a different test of your ability to guide the ball through a series of customizable obstacles around the track.


The Verdict

It works (to a degree). Granted, it takes a little practice to master but, clearly, the Mindflex game does read and respond to your brainwaves/concentration level. I was able to alter the fan speed to raise and lower the tiny foam ball at will, although there were times when the accuracy or response time was less than stellar. Occasionally, I would relax and clear my mind only to find the LED concentration indicator (and the ball) rise to its highest level. There were also times when I would be concentrating hard, but nothing would happen. Maybe it's the game, maybe it's my awesomely complex brain—who knows.

There are five different game modes, but I spent most of my time in "Freestyle" trying to improve my accuracy. I wasn't all that thrilled with manually guiding the ball around the course with the control knob, but I will admit that the customizable obstacles were a fun challenge—especially the funnel cannon.


You may think differently, but I'm not the kind of guy that finds this type of game interesting for long stretches of time. Although, it would be awesome if the technology matured enough to integrate it into a more complex, multi-dimensional board game. For now, Mindflex seems like something you would whip out at a party to impress your friends until everyone got a headache and stopped after 30 minutes. Speaking of headaches, I have to warn my big-headed brethren that the headset can be massively uncomfortable. I had it on it's biggest setting, but the metal sensor on the inside front part of the band was still digging hard into my gigantic grape. Plus, the clips on your ears don't help matters.

It responds fairly well to your concentration levels.


The customizable obstacles can be a fun challenge.

Some may find the game boring after the novelty wears off.


The $80 price tag is steep.

The headset can be uncomfortable.