Special delivery

11 08 2008

One night this past week, I found myself at 6pm once again, already wanting desperately to put Ethan to bed. Not because he was being a monster or anything, just because I was so beat: tired of trying to entertain him, tired of scolding him for the same things over and over. But instead of early bedtime, we dug out the old laptop and dusted it off so that Ethan could try out his new game, Thomas & Friends: Special Delivery. (You need a PC to run it, so my Mac wouldn’t cut it. Which is fine; I’d rather have Ethan’s grubby paws all over the old computer than my shiny, pretty Mac.)

Brigther Minds Media was generous enough to give Ethan a copy of this game if I would review it. And I have to say, I had a few doubts. Part of the reason was that Ethan doesn’t know how to use a computer and mouse. I was sure the frustration of not knowing how to work this contraption would have him not wanting any more to do with Sir Toppham Hat after just a few minutes of play. And also partly because he’s only 3; I wasn’t sure what age the game would target, but I just had it in my head that he’d be a little too young to grasp what was going on in the game.

Fortunately, I was pretty much wrong on all accounts. Which is normal. Ethan totally loved the game. And not knowing how to use the mouse didn’t keep him from playing; get this- he simply learned how to use it. Go figure. He was clicking away, sorting shapes, building train tracks, counting train cars, you name it, for almost an hour. I had to promise he could play again tomorrow so that I could get him ready for bed. I think he felt really grown up, using a laptop like mommy and daddy do. And there are very few things as sweet to the ear as my son proudly saying, as he did many, many times while playing the game, “Look, Mommy! I did it! I DID IT!”

I only had two problems with the game: The first is that the graphics are kind of old skool. (I was reminded of the very first computer my family ever owned, which was back in… oh… I think I was in 3rd or 4th grade, so we’ll say around 1990; we had three games for it: one based on a television show called Fun House (and if you remember this show, hosted by J.D. Roth, then I LOVE YOU), Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy; everything was either yellow, green or red, hugely pixelated, and choppy in movement.) (Don’t worry; the Thomas game was nowhere near as bad as those; it just reminded me of those.) Of course, I’m used to seeing more realistic graphics, whereas Ethan is used to seeing… well, no graphics, since he has never played any computer games before this one. And so this was not a drawback for him, only me. But I realized that the simple graphics are perfect for the 3-year-old mind to deal with; fancier pictures weren’t needed, in this case.

The second is that it isn’t long enough! Ethan completed the adventure, and he wants more!

Anyway, dude loves his game. He excitedly asked Jeff as soon as he returned from his trip if he would play his Thomas game with him, and has not stopped singing the theme song in days. Neither have I.



3 responses

14 08 2008

Free games? Totally unfair.

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