As a freelance journalist I tend to spend rather a lot of my time lazily flicking through the television channels in the middle of the day when I should be working, and more often than not I find myself distracted by the adverts for the toys currently vying to be placed on children’s Christmas wish lists, in particular the ones that are videogames, but do their best to pretend they’re not (by saying they’re “educational” or “for all the family” or something.) Just off the top of my head there are things like the Game Wave “Family Entertainment System”, and the ridiculous range of educational techo-mcguffins from Fisher Price, such as the Pixter handheld system, or the I Can Play Piano (which brings to mind the Miracle Piano system released for the NES.)
Recently though I’ve been most captivated by the advertising for the Miuchiz handheld system, which, while little more than a Tamagochi-esque trinket, when connected to a PC with the included USB cable, appears to allow the user to take their character into a fully 3D MMORPG, Planet Mion, where they can interact with other users, play games, and that sort of thing.
Is it any good? I have no idea. It’s for kids!
Brandon’s note about Game Wave: I had meant to do a proper post about this, but mathew’s gotten the ball rolling already. All I really wanted to say was that it’s clearly the game system made “by Canadians, for Canadians,” as the parent company Zapit Games is located in the great white north (Mississauga). That particular system is also a DVD player, and comes with four ‘zappers,’ aka remotes, which allow you to interact with the screen in (maybe?) a Wii-like manner. Or perhaps you just choose up, down, left, and right, and it’s really *only* a DVD player that they’ve inexplicably tried to pass off as something else. If that’s the case, there’s a good chance their games will work on anything that plays the format. The only proper game-like game they’ve got is bejeweled, but I’m always entranced by these half-effort style things.
Mathew’s note about Brandon’s note: As far as I’ve seen from the adverts, there is no “Wii” like functionality; not to say that the games don’t have specifics that mean they could only be played on a Game Wave. What the adverts have is a jingle that promises quiz games and rhymes “big words” with “little nerds”, and is performed by the kind of session musicians that cry themselves to sleep every night.
Brandon’s newest of notes: I found that commercial, and it’s as astounding as he says it is. Check the youtube comments too, as they’re clearly written by people who are, let’s say, “concerned” about the success of the Game Wave.