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Marissa's Favorites

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As a kid tester for, eight-year-old Marissa has a chance to sample plenty of software, new and old. 

We've compiled the following list of Marissa's favorite computer games, including some older titles that she has favored over many of the new games she helps test. 

Marissa prefers free-play creativity titles that allow her to explore and experiment. She has a particular fondness for simulation software.




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The Sims

Marissa can't quite get enough of The Sims. Well, she does stop playing now and again, but she returns to the game frequently. She is fond of The Sims Deluxe Edition, which includes the Livin' Large expansion. Although the Sims 2 has been released, she still wants to play the original Sims. She uses the "money cheat" quite happily.

For more information, user reviews, or to buy The Sims Deluxe Edition at


Logical Journey of the Zoombinis

Marissa still enjoys Zoombinis Logical Journey after years and years of play. This logical thinking adventure is actually designed for children ages 9 and up. However, many of its puzzles on the lower levels are appropriate for younger kids. As well, the ability to play the game in practice mode makes it easy to play games that are manageable. 

Buy Zoombinis Logical Journey at


Rugrats Munchin Land

This game is pure fun! It plays much like the board game, CandyLand, and the theme is Wizard of Oz -- but with the Rugrats starring in this CD-ROM, it's the Land of Odd! Kids can play alone as they move along the spaces of the game board, or with a friend. Marissa plays this game again and again--both independently and with her sister. See our review of the game here and screens from the game.

For more information, user reviews, or to buy  Rugrats Munchin Land at



Kid Pix Deluxe 3

The ultimate in creative free-play, this creative toolbox offers kids wonderful tools for making masterpieces. Marissa enjoyed this program at school in her Kindergarten class, and often turns to it at home as well. Wacky and traditional tools are included, and a fun sound tool sets this program apart. We like it better than the older versions of Kid Pix. Great fun!

For more information, user reviews, or to buy Kid Pix Deluxe 3rd Edition at



Old Favorites - Titles Marissa has outgrown, but that had unusually long replay value:


Reader Rabbit Learn to Read with Phonics

This program helped Marissa the most when she was learning to read. There are two programs in this package, with the featured CD-ROM, Road to Reading, a system that reinforces letter sounds and introduces sight words through games and story books. She loved this game.

Now repackaged as Reader Rabbit Learn to Read with Phonics Preschool-Kindergarten: Buy Reader Rabbit Learn To Read With... at


Fisher Price Time to Play Pet Shop

There's nothing much here to learn, but who says kids always have to be learning when they play on the computer? Marissa has played "pet shop owner" many a time in the last couple of years. She happily chose animals for her shop, ordered supplies for them, and groomed them.

Buy Fisher-Price Time To Play Pet Shop at


My Disney Kitchen

This fun kitchen and cooking simulation title has been around for a few years, but still managed to keep Marissa engaged for unusually long periods of time. Children are given a virtual kitchen to explore where they can drag food items into pots on the stove to cook them, place them in a blender, and more. Children can make breakfast on the griddle and decorate a cake for Minnie and Mickey Mouse. Marissa thoroughly enjoys freeform creativity titles, and this program allows her to play with all sorts of variables for unique results. It's a lot of fun, and includes recipes for kids to try out with their parents in the real kitchen as well.



Putt-Putt Travels Through Time

Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo

Of all the Putt-Putt adventures, these are the editions that Marissa enjoyed the most. Her older siblings solved the games well before she did, but that didsn't stop her from playing them again and again. Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo is an older title that was developed before the series added randomization to the objects kids are supposed to collect. It is best for preschoolers who like that kind of predictability. The zoo theme is great fun, and the songs are toe-tapping.

Buy Putt-Putt Travels Through Time at

Reader Rabbit Toddler 

When Marissa was just a toddler, she learned to use the mouse with the help of her then-favorite software, Reader Rabbit Toddler. She hasn't played the game for a few years, but this is the one that got her started. This is topnotch software for very beginners on the computer.

Buy Reader Rabbit Toddler 2002 at

Blue's Treasure Hunt

Marissa played every single available Blue's Clues software made by Humongous Entertainment. It is hard to determine which one she enjoyed the most, but she was quick to say "Treasure Hunt" when asked! This software title is packed with activities along with the treasure hunts themselves. Be aware that parents need to help find all the clues. Marissa never did actually solve the treasure hunts, but she didn't mind at all. She enjoyed the activities and participating in "partial" Blue's Clues hunts.

Buy Blue's Clues Treasure Hunt at





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Updated April 2005

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