My Baby: First Steps
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that My Baby: First Steps is parenting simulator. Players spend their time feeding and cleaning their virtual kids, as well as teaching them how to do things like talk and walk, which might make it interesting to kids who want to be babysitters, or perhaps even expectant parents. Note that there is a commercial element in that one of the game’s objectives is to shop for clothing and accessories for your digital toddlers. Also, nothing is left to the imagination when changing diapers; players will see pee and poop, among other things.
What's it about?
The follow-up to last year’s My Baby Girl and My Baby Boy, MY BABY: FIRST STEPS picks up where the first game left off, with a soon-to-be-toddler who’s ready to start walking and talking. Players begin by choosing their baby’s gender, as well as skin, hair, and eye color (more adventuresome players can leave it all up chance), before being thrown into the ring as the parent of a 15-month-old child about to say his or her first word and take his or her first steps. As the game progresses, players learn to spoon feed their digital children, change their diapers, and leaf through books to lull them to sleep. Their development is guided by a pediatric nurse as well as a pediatrician, who provides pointers on what players need to do to stimulate their children and move them toward each new milestone. Meanwhile, grandma rewards your performance by sending gifts in the form of clothing and bedroom decorations. She’s especially generous if you take the time to snap a few pictures and send them her way.
Is it any good?
My Baby: First Steps is just as fun and educational as its predecessor. The digital kids are wonderfully emotive and show plenty of subtle cues as to what they want. Wide eyes and a brief nod might indicate that they’re ready for the next spoonful of food, while a rapid back and forth motion with their arm could signify they’re ready for you to turn the page of their night-time book. Players will need to learn to recognize these signals to keep them happy.
And there’s rarely a shortage of things to do. No sooner will your child reach her next milestone than will your pediatric guides step in to provide a new lesson. Things can occasionally prove frustrating -- such as when you’re trying to teach your toddler to climb stairs and he decides he wants to eat or go to sleep right in the middle of the lesson -- but that just makes the game feel all the more authentic. The play won’t be to everyone’s taste, but My Baby: First Steps does a great job of what it sets out to do, which is create a believable toddler/parenting simulation.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about whether My Baby: First Steps’ portrayal of both toddler and parent learning is authentic. Do you think that the game has legitimate educational value? Would you recommend it to expecting parents or kids who babysit?
Families can also discuss the game’s frank portrayal of changing diapers. Do you think that it makes the parenting experience more genuine? Would it keep you from recommending the game to players of a certain age?