Marbles: Into Mind Games
By Tom Ryan
Marbles: The Brain Store, a newer concept that focuses on games
that improve memory and reasoning skills, is finding much wider appeal than
The first store opened in Chicago in October 2008 and now
there are four in the area. It recently opened a location at the Mall of America
in Minneapolis. Its sixth will open on August 17 at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg,
Marbles offers more than 250 products devoted to one of five areas of cognition:
memory, coordination, critical thinking, visual perception and word skills.
While reviewed for effectiveness by the neurology department at the University
of Chicago, a big focus is also on delivering games that are fun. Beyond
large-print puzzles and crosswords, items include: Smart Mouth, in which players
get two letters and have to use them at the beginning and end of a word; Hive,
a strategy game comparable to chess; AstroJaxm, described as a cross between
“juggling and yo-yoing” to improve coordination; and Insight, a video game
aimed at increasing a user’s field of vision.
The concept was originally geared
toward Baby Boomers looking for ways to keep their minds sharp.
“My parents are nearing 70 and dementia and Alzheimer’s are things
they worry about,” Lindsay
Gaskins, co-owner of Marbles: the Brain Store, said in a company statement.
“I discovered that there are products out there that can help, but there wasn’t
a place that brought these products together. I
also learned that brain games were not only important for my parents but for
Indeed, she soon found the concept appealed to parents looking
for learning tools for kids as well as a broad age range seeking crosswords,
Sudoku and others brainteasers.
“We found the people who are the most interested are probably in the
30-to-50 age range. They are buying for their whole families — kids and
teenagers as well as themselves and their parents,” Ms. Gaskins told Brain
interaction has helped turn the concept into a toy store for adults.
“The stores thrive on the Starbucks model, allowing customers to stay
as long as they want, increasing the likelihood that sales would follow,” wrote
Kim Walker from Silver Group, in a review of the concept on www.thematuremarket.co.uk.com. “In
addition to having staff members well-versed and able to instruct store visitors
in each game, Marbles often hosts game nights that have drawn dozens of participants.”
Discussion Questions: What do you think of the Marble’s concept and the
overall market demand for mind-stimulating games?
- Marbles: The Brain
- Name of the game is the brain – Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Brain Games Store Proves ‘Ageless Retail’ Concept – www.thematuremarket.co.uk
- Keeping Their Marbles – Brain World Magazine
- Marbles: The Brain Store to Open Third Store In Chicago’s Lincoln Square
Neighborhood – Marbles: The Brain Store