This month two discerning youngsters joined Merrin Jensen of Yarraville to get real with Busythings.
Merrin has sent us some feedback of her experiences.
Award-winning educational games for ages 3 to 7 and SEN
Keen to test this statement, I used my two children, Henry (1 1/2) and Toby (4 1/2) to put the website through its paces.
Busythings has great appeal from the moment you arrive at the home page. It’s full of bright colour, charismatic animation and detailed composition. The icons are simple and intuitive and there is very little text which is helpful for children who can’t yet read.
The website also has excellent sound design. Your mouse triggers funny sound effects as you move around the screen; and when doing an activity, each action has a corresponding sound.
Main Menu Choices
At the main menu, you are presented with 5 choices. I selected “Creative Development” and then “Exploring Media and Materials” which is a very easy to use set of activities involving sophisticated digital paint effects. Toby was enthralled by the array of options and as he had quickly understood how to use the tools, I left him to play. Some time later, he came running into the kitchen and couldn’t wait to show me all the amazing images he had created.
Engaging and Humorous
Subsequently, I’ve looked through most of the other choices from the main menu and found that they are consistently well designed, engaging, humorous and light-hearted. Some of the literacy and numeracy options are for children older than Toby; some of the activities require a higher level of mouse coordination than he has; and some of the activities worked better with a bit of prompting from me – but there was certainly more than enough to keep him occupied without me.
Explore and Learn
On the whole I think the website is excellent because provides a very non-threatening learning environment. It encourages children to explore and learn while entertaining them at the same time.
Busythings deserves the awards it has received
NBA 2K11 brought massive success to the world of basketball gaming. The new-born relative 2K12 has excelled, offering all new play modes and updated team lists from recent times through to yesteryear.
Game Characteristics and Styling
As in 2011, players have the option to take on the challenges of Michael Jordan’s most memorable games played, with the rewards in abundance if you won. This year’s masterpiece offers not only games with Michael Jordan, but also Magic Johnson, Dr J, Larry Bird, even some of the pioneers of the game with George Mikan from the 1951 Minnesota Lakers. Each game takes on the characteristics and styling of an old TV series with film grain and sepia colours matching technology past. Even player movements and skill-sets match perfectly to the legends, hundred’s of hours of stock footage motion tracked and put to great use bringing realism to basketball video games. Several hundred older players can be accessed, except for the likes of Charles Barkley, who perhaps due to current lack of fitness, is excluded.
Game Modes to Play out the NBA Season
Along with the regular ‘Quick-game’ and ‘Association’ game modes allowing use of existing teams to play out the NBA season, players can once again create their own team member and customise all attributes to the finest detail. If there’s a style of player you admire as a fan, there’s a good chance that it’ll be listed to choose from. But it’s more than just style you’re choosing from – its honing in exactly the kind of player you will become and how smart you will be on the court you will be. You only get one opportunity to show your skills before being drafted to the big leagues, so make it count! I found this whole game-mode more addictive, with countless hours of interest and entertainment, climbing the superstar ladder of the NBA, counting my money and doing press conference statements.
It’s a great idea to practise before really thinking about playing online. You always seem to have seasoned professionals online even shortly after a game is released, so getting in those extra few games of training will make those online hours much more enjoyable and less frustrating. Not only can you play online and achieve even more rewards but download exclusive content which effectively adds another completely new game to be included, with 2on2, 3on3 and even a crowd rallying trick shot competition between the legends of the game, reminiscent of a 90’s McDonalds commercial.