Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Have a blast with VTech V-Motion Active Learning System

We are serious video game junkies in this house. Okay, make that two of the three of us are. I'm a total moron when it comes to that kind of stuff.

The amount of gaming consoles we have in our house is embarrassing. We have a Wii. We have an xBox, an xBox360, and a Nintendo somethingorother. See, I just can't even get into it. Anyhow, this isn't about me, it's about the youngest gamer in the house, Monkey Man. He just loves video games and computer games. The kid has his own laptop, for pete's sake.

Parent Bloggers Network emailed a few weeks ago and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing the VTech V-Motion Active Learning system. Although we probably need another system in the house like a hole in the head, I told them to send it on so we could check it out. I knew about VTech from some friends that had purchased other items made by them, so I was pretty intrigued to see what all the hoopla was about.

The day it arrived in the mail, I eagerly tore into the box to see what it was like. Monkey Man, ever the skeptic, came into the kitchen and peered into the box. "That looks...boring," he said, dismissively rolling his eyes and plopping back on the couch with a resigned sigh. And since he wasn't that into it, I left it in the box until the following weekend when I had plenty of time to hook it up.

I had all these visions of the normal trials and tribulations that I have trying to hook anything electronic up. Let's face facts - I can build a building, but don't ask me to hook up a VCR because suddenly my brain will explode. So I braced myself, opened the box, and prepared for the torture.

What a surprise...I had the thing completely hooked up in less than ten minutes, and that included unpacking the system, inserting batteries, and hooking it to our TV. And as I unpacked it, Monkey Man wandered in and was clearly interested. "What's that?" he asked, his eyes glazed over in that typical Man Meets Electronics look. "Well, since you said it looked boring, I figured I'd hook it up and play with it," I answered slyly.

He was hooked. He stayed by my side the entire rest of the time. I played through a few rounds of the Action Mania game (which is the Smartridge included with the system) and finally he practically clubbed me with the cool wireless controller so he could commandeer the system.

The system is sleek and easy to operate. Heck, even Monkey Man was able to get it up and running by himself the next day. And I love, love, love the wireless controller - it's not like a Wii controller exactly, because there's far less motion required to get the characters to move. But he was just as animated as could be, swaying from side to side and moving around trying to get the characters to move like he wanted. His favorite games so far are "Street Race" in which you steer a car to find letters to complete words, and "Balance It" where you get the character to balance on a big ball while you go through an obstacle cource and find pictures of healthy foods.

Another feature of the V-Motion Active Learning System is that it includes the V.Link, which can be used in a PC to upload game scores to the internet and also download games. I thought that was pretty darn cool.

So, will the VTech V-Motion Active Learning System replace Madden '09 in our house? Probably not, but he's had a total blast...and honestly, I'm happy that he's learning something educational and getting a little exercise to boot. And compared to other gaming systems it's reasonably priced at $69.99, with Smartridges costing $24.99. That's a bargain, folks, if you're looking to get into a reasonably-priced gaming system. It's aimed at ages 3 - 7, but I think the kids who are in the 4 - 6 age range would probably like it the most.

Once again, thanks to my friends over at Parent Bloggers Network! Stop on by PBN and check out some of the other campaigns they have going on right now!

Parent Bloggers Network

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