Brain Training doesn't like Northern accents

Written by Tim Smalley

February 7, 2008 // 1:56 p.m.

Tags: #bbc #brain #directions #nintendo #northern #program #programme #training #tv #uk #watchdog

The BBC's Watchdog TV programme has claimed this week that Nintendo's Brain Training game cannot recognise Northern English accents.

A reporter from a Manchester radio station complained that the game was unable to understand what she was telling it during one of its minigames – where players have to say the colour in which a word appears and not the word itself.

"Basically, you have to say the different colours that flash up on the screen as quickly as possible. I'm saying, blue, blue, blue and it's saying no, even though it was blue. Then it got to yellow. I'm going 'yeller' and everyone's saying to me you need to be a bit posher. You need to say, 'yellow' and as soon as I did, it picked it up," claimed Michelle Livesey.

Livesey was surprised to discover that some of her colleagues were also suffering from the same problems.

"I don't know what's wrong with the way I say 'blue'. I can say it as many different ways that I could try and it just really wouldn't pick it up," explained Michelle Grogan, one of Livesey's colleagues.

Nintendo has sold over 2.5 million copies of Brain Training in the UK since its release in June 2006. The company says that it has received very few complaints from people frustrated by the voice recognition system, but would like to apologise for anyone that has been affected by the problems.

The console maker claims that it has continuously monitored the voice recognition efficiency and also carried out extensive research to ensure that the Nintendo DS voice recognition software would recognise a range of different accents and regional dialects. It also pointed out that voice recognition is only a small part of Brain Training, stating that it is not an integral to the overall enjoyment of the title.

Players wanting to use the voice recognition functionality are advised follow the directions in the game's manual. This suggests that you should be in a quiet environment and be between 20 and 30cm away from the device when speaking, while also avoiding the temptation to shout or blow into the microphone. Finally, you should also aim to "pronounce each word as clearly as possible, and try to avoid using strong dialects or accents."

Have you bought Brain Training and had problems with the voice recognition software? Let us know your experiences in the forums. Reet naa, I say.

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