Popular video games are typically the ones that feature ultra-violence, sex, twitch gameplay or puzzles that would fry the circuits off Deep Blue. Video games for kids are woefully few and far between. Edifying games for children are even rarer, excepting the effortless offerings that teach kids the alphabet or how to count. TOMY Corporation’s My DoItAll for the Nintendo DS looks to make a difference in this underrepresented market.
My DoItAll is less of a game than it is an electronic organizer. Children can turn their Nintendo DS into a handy utility tool that provides a personal place for journaling and can even help them with math and geography homework, using the included calculator and world map. Kids can select a place in the world and learn a few facts about it, like population, currency and capital city. My DoItAll also features a fairly robust calendar program that will help kids stay on schedule. They can plan out their day and block off time for homework, practice and social events, complete with alarms to remind them. With this device, kids will have no excuse for forgetting to do chores, which may justify the purchase by itself.
On the fun side, My DoItAll features a sound effects machine with 25 different sounds and a “voice changer” which takes advantage of the Nintendo DS microphone. Users will also be able to create a private Friend Card, complete with customizable avatar and basic profile, which details interests and other personal data. Best of all, children can network wirelessly with up to six other kids using My DoItAll, allowing them to plan get-togethers, play mini-games, like spin the bottle, or share answers to questionnaires. Parents who want to teach their children how to responsibly use social networking Web sites like MySpace and Facebook may want to invest in this “game.”
My DoItAll looks like a promising effort by TOMY Corporation to turn children’s Nintendo DS handhelds into effective PDAs that both boys and girls can appreciate.