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September 12, 2006
The busy season for new children's edutainment products is upon us now. Upcoming reviews include more Vtech and LeapFrog electronic learning toys, Pet Vet 3D: Animal Hospital simulation software, a music software program for young children entitled Tooning Up, a whole slew of DVDs designed for little ones, children's music, and more.
March 25, 2006

We are currently reviewing Chibi-Robo! for Nintendo Game Cube. How refreshing! A game filled with puzzles and adorable sound effects...and without violence. Excellent for families looking for something different, a bit odd, non-violent, and fresh. Full review coming soon.

January 10, 2006

On the review shelf: We have Totally Spies for GBA (it's a great game!), The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree for GBA, Scholastic Video Collection: The Wheels on the Bus DVD, The Baby Society DVD, The Alphabet Stories DVD, Jack the Cuddly Dog DVD, One World, One Kid (children's music by Putumayo), and more.

November 14, 2005

The new Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire game for PCs and consoles has been released, and we're busy reviewing it. It's based on the movie, which in turn is based on J.K. Rowling's fourth book in the Harry Potter series. The GameCube version, NGC Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire, thus far is considerably different than the previous Harry Potter games. It doesn't hold players' hands, and is thus quite a bit more challenging.

October 27, 2005

We just received Chicken Little for the XBox and we've been testing it all day. So far, so good. Kid testers are thrilled with the little chicken, and they're enjoying the clips from the movie interspersed throughout the game. We will have a full review of the game in the next few days, and of the movie itself next week.

October 9, 2005

Graphics card sales must be going through the roof these days. It seems that most new computer games, including children's software titles, require Direct X 9.0 3D compatible video cards. It's frustrating a lot of families because video cards are not cheap and although they're rather easy to install, it's inconvenient to have to upgrade--especially when a computer is fairly new. Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus, the all-new Math Blaster program, Sims 2, and JumpStart Reading with Karaoke are some of the latest software games requiring it.

October 4, 2005

On the review shelf : Creatures: Village, a new game by one of our favorite software companies, Kutoka Interactive. Designed for children ages 5 and up, this program features virtual life forms called Norns who have their own Digital DNA, brains, and biochemistry. Kids care for their virtual pets and explore the world of Creatures. We also are working through Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon—the first in the Nancy Drew software series to feature the Hardy Boys.

September 27, 2005

We are looking forward to reviewing the new John Deere software series for young children. Two titles are being released this week that feature all the characters from the popular book series. Also on the review shelf are two new Barbie software titles: Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus CD-ROM is based on the new direct-to-video movie of the same name, and My Scene Goes Hollywood, the second My Scene CD-ROM, now available. The graphics in the My Scene game are fabulous, as you can see from the screenshot at right [Note: the My Scene Goes Hollywood review is now available]. We're also taking a look at the new Care Bears movie--The Care Bears: Big Wish Movie--and new additions to the fabulous Scholastic Video Collection: Bear Snores On and Danny the Dinosaur.

July 27, 2005

We have a review copy of Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock and will have a review for the title soon. Its retroactive feel commemorates Nancy Drew's 75th anniversary. [Note: the Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock review is now available] We're also reviewing Barney's The Land of Make-Believe--an all-new full-length direct-to-video release that is set for release on August 30th. The release date for Book #12 in the Lemony Snicket series of books has been announced. Expect to be able to read this shockingly upsetting (or vice versa) Nameless Novel as early as October 18th, 2005.

May 23, 2005

E3 Expo wrapped up this weekend, and companies showcased games and products that are new and up-and-coming. Some news of interest to our readers includes an all-new ESRB rating--"E10+"--designed to further refine the ratings in order to help parents make more informed decisions when purchasing games for their kids. This new rating will encompass games that might include moderate amounts of cartoon fantasy or mild violence, mild language, and/or minimal suggestive themes. The PS3 is due to be released in 2006. A four-player melee game, Shrek SuperSlam, is in the works. In July, Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life for GameCube and Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town for the GBA are set for release. These new Harvest Moon games feature females as the main characters. Nintendo announced a few details of its planned next-generation console, code-named Revolution. Warner Brothers Interactive announced upcoming games that include Scooby Doo Unmasked, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Her Interactive will release the first game in the Nancy Drew series of computer games to feature a retro feel, The Secret of the Old Clock, in honor of Nancy Drew's 75th anniversary.

May 11, 2005

We are currently reviewing two new Reader Rabbit reading software titles: Reader Rabbit Early Reading Learning System Ages 3-5 and Reader Rabbit Learning System Ages 4-7. Each title includes 3 CDs as well as flashcards and stickers. The main CD-ROM in each package is a new interactive storybook CD-ROM that includes lessons in reading, such as letter sounds and sight words, and educational games. Another CD-ROM includes printables as well as a collection of reading activities culled from excellent Reader Rabbit curriculum titles from the past, such as Reader Rabbit Preschool. The third CD is an audio CD featuring music for fun and learning. So far, so good. The programs are not the type of games that kids are clamoring to play, simply because the focus is academics and the presentation isn't flashy. However, the quality of the educational content is high. We will have a review for each program soon.

In toys, we are evaluating the My Friend Tad toy by LeapFrog. My Friend Tad is its name in Canada, and Learning Friend Tad in the US. Both toys are bilingual (English and French in Canada, and English and Spanish in the US).

We have some screenshots for the upcoming Madagascar PC game (it will be released on May 24th):

 

April 29, 2005

On the Review Shelf:

We are preparing reviews for some of the latest children's computer games, and I thought I'd give our readers a run-down. Our initial testing of Robots for the PC is not getting great reactions from our kid testers. It looks charming, but gameplay is awkward.

Fairly Odd Parents PictureJust like the show, which is rather irreverent, Fairly Odd Parents: Shadow Showdown for the PC has its "odd" moments. For example, the whole idea behind the game is that Timmy needs to go to Fairy World to save TV, as his television has broken at a most inopportune moment--during the season finale of his favorite show, Crash Nebula. Kids unlock activities as the story unfolds, after which they can access any unlocked game when they want. The activities are arcade-style and the logical thinking ones are quite clever.

Spongebob Squarepants The MovieSpongebob Squarepants the Movie for PC takes the form of a treasure hunt-style adventure game (it's not a platformer). We love this style of game, but so far, there is a lot of walking back and forth from area to area, which makes it a tad tedious. It's similar in style to SpongeBob SquarePants Employee of the month (see our review). Testers are currently stuck at an early point in the game, so we decided to put up a walkthrough and game help when we are finished the game. [Update: Review, Game Hints]

Petz: Dogz 5 and Catz 5 Compilation is not educational, but it's a huge hit. This title bundles the latest versions of Catz and Dogz (Catz 5 and Dogz 5). Kids create virtual pets and play with them/care for them. This game is great for the 7 to 9 crowd. [Update: Review]

Nicktoons Basketball is quick to learn. It doesn't have a lot of depth, and is not as involving (nor educationally valuable) as a title like Backyard Basketball, but it is rather amusing. Watching SpongeBob perform a slam dunk is fun in and of itself.

What is really knocking our socks off is Cosmic Blobs: Lab Rat Edition, a 3D animation program for kids that is nothing like anything we've seen to date. Reviews and screenshots for the above games are coming soon!

 

 

 

 

 
 

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