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Children's Software Review:

Gary Gadget: Building Cars (CD-ROM)

PC Software Review: Gary Gadget Building Cars
Children's Computer Game for the PC

By Viva Media

Our Recommended Age: Ages 6+

Our Rating: A

about our reviews:
All reviews at Edutaining Kids are independent and impartial. Our children's software reviews are designed to help parents and caregivers find the right computer games for their kids. Evaluations and ratings are based on educational and entertainment value, age appropriate content, and innovativeness.

Here's a game that truly requires children to put on their thinking caps. In Gary Gadget Building Cars, children build cars out of gadgets and "thing-a-ma-bobs". Gary collects all sorts of gadgets and decides to build a car "to see what's at the end of the road". There's plenty at the end of the road--an auto show, neighbors needing help and offering Gary more parts, gas stations, and the like.

Children initially collect items from Gary's junk piles on his lawn, and then build a car part by part from the parts. The pickings are slim at the outset, but once players have built a road-worthy car, they are able to explore the neighborhood and earn new parts. If they attempt to drive an unfinished car, they will learn why they can't yet drive ("Without an engine, we're not going to get very far!", Gary comments).

Essentially, kids continue to create and then test their cars. They discover missions as they drive around the neighborhood--find Freddy's dog, rescue Mia's cat from a tree, and so forth.

There are many factors to consider when building cars. Some engines are not powerful enough to navigate up hills or through mud, for example. Some horns will succeed at getting goats off the road, and others won't. Kids earn medals based on what their cars can do (they create and test many different types, such as hill climbers, lightweighters, and speedsters). Their cars are judged at the Auto Show.

This game is unique in that children truly experiment as they play. Through trial and error, as well as solid thinking skills, they make their way through the game. Children need to figure out which combinations of parts will work for various missions and driving feats. Younger players will need some help to begin with--the software does some hand-holding, but won't tell you exactly what to do. For families looking for a unique title, this one is sure to delight. It's nothing like the standard activity centers or adventure learning games that are commonly produced.

Our Rating:


more information:

For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Gary Gadget: Building Cars (Win/Mac)

Reviewed: December 2006

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