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Top Educational Video Games for the Nintendo Wii
Despite all the hype about how playing video games is bad for a child's academic performance, most families do own at least one video game system.
The Nintendo Wii is the most popular choice for parents of young children, since this system attracted attention for its ability to encourage "active" game playing with titles that force gamers to dance, jump, and run in order to score points. However, what you might not realize is that the Wii also offers many video games that are educational in nature.
This article reviews three titles that are fun for tweens and teens.
My Word Coach
Whether you're an avid bookworm or simply wishing for a better vocabulary, playing My Word Coach for the Nintendo Wii is an excellent way to enhance your verbal skills.
Combining elements of Boggle , Scrabble , and other word games, this fun title is great for novice and experienced gamers alike Games available as part of My Word Coach include:
- Missing Letter: Complete a word by writing out the missing letter.
- Split Decision: Choose between two definitions for a word.
- Word Cereal: Spell out scrambled words using the letters in a cereal bowl.
- Word Shuffle: Pin words to their correct definitions on the bulletin board.
- Block Letters: Use titles to play a mini-spelling game that's reminiscent of Scrabble.
- Safe Cracker: Select letters on a dial in order to crack the safe.
If you have friends who share your passion for linguistics, My Word Coach for the Nintendo Wii also includes multiplayer games that allow you to race against another person to see who has the stronger vocabulary.
With a built-in dictionary of more than 17,000 words, My Word Coach can provide a challenging gaming experience for quite some time. Examples of words found in the game include:
Obviously, many of the words used in this vocabulary game aren't suitable for everyday conversational purposes. However, the plethora of words included in My Word Coach makes this game useful for high school students getting ready for the ACT or SAT.
Wii Smarty Pants
Wii Smarty Pants game includes questions covering a broad range of topics. Questions can be tailored to the gamer's age and include both "book smart" and "street smart" questions - making this game fun for kids who would normally shy away from anything suspected to be educational in nature.
Some of the questions for teens and adults that you might encounter in the game include:
- What is another name for the beehive hairstyle?
- Which constitutional amendment prevents double jeopardy?
- Where is the Taj Mahal?
- What card should be removed from a regular deck of cards to play Old Maid?
- What art movement is Salvador Dali associated with?
The correct answer for each question flashes briefly, but there is no way to check your performance after you are finished. Although this speeds up the game play, you are likely to find yourself rushing to the computer to conduct some quick online research if a particular question sparks your intellectual curiosity.
Trivial Pursuit for the Nintendo Wii gives you three different options for playing:
- Classic mode follows the standard Trivial Pursuit rules, requiring you to earn a pie wedge for each category. In the end, however, the active player gets to choose the final question category instead of having his/her competitors select it.
- Facts and Friends allows for only one wedge for each category to force players to compete for their favorite colors. Before each question is asked, you can bet if your opponent will be able to answer it correctly. It's also possible to steal pie pieces from other players, which adds an extra element of excitement to the game.
- Clear the Board is a single-player mode that lets you try to earn the most points while still collecting every pie piece. You are only allowed to land on each space on time, however, so you need to answer a high percentage of questions correctly to be successful.
Like the Trivial Pursuit board game, questions for this Wii family game encompass a wide range of subjects and difficulty levels. For example:
- What material is the basis of the building component known as Corian? (Acrylic)
- What pope was the first to send official papal e-mail? (John Paul II)
- What movie does the famous line "I'm the king of the world!" come from? (Titanic )
One interesting aspect of playing Trivial Pursuit on the Nintendo Wii is that your stats will display on the bottom of the screen so you can quickly see how many questions you're getting right and what your best categories are. Of course, if you're not doing well in the game, this knowledge may be yet another blow to your self-esteem.
Graphics for the Trivial Pursuit game are simple and fairly easy to follow, although the text for the questions should have been printed in a larger font to accommodate those who aren't playing on large screen plasma TVs. The sound effects are minimal, mostly a subtle background music and some occasional cheers or jeers when a question is answered.