A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this slow-paced game is perfect for kids ages 6 to 10 who like to tinker. It is not directive or linear, so kids who have grown up on fast-paced video games may find this setting too tame. This title is refreshingly old-fashioned and squeaky clean, set in a community of interesting people who all like to help each other out. No violence or other media concerns here.
What's it about?
Thingamabobs and \"watchamacallits\" take center stage in GARY GADGET BUILDING CARS, a game from Viva-Media that encourages children to experiment with old auto parts and other junk items to build cars. Kids work with Gary Gadget, an inventor who owns a salvage yard that provides over 120 parts. By trial and error, you learn that a car must have an engine, battery, fuel tank, gearbox, brakes, horn, steering wheel, and tires (or something just as good). Once you have assembled a car with all the necessary parts, Gary invites you to take it for a spin and visit Gary's neighbors -- leading to 16 different missions.
Kids scavenge the yard and select pieces to click-and-drag into Gary's workshop. Gary provides a frame onto which the parts will adhere. To find out what a part does, you need only click on it, and Gary will speak up. If you drag a part close enough to where it can fit on the car, it will click into place.
Is it any good?
While it is easy to throw together a car, your vehicle may not be able to drive where you want it to go. Mudslides need wheels with special traction, driving up a mountainside needs a strong engine, and getting cows to move off the road takes a special horn. The game requires kids to experiment with different parts to create cars that can accomplish specific tasks. Medals and certificates awarded for accomplishing milestones such as figuring out how to create a fuel-efficient car, or one that is lightweight.
Building Cars is a good fit for kids ages 6 to 10 who like cars or like to tinker. If your kids enjoy creating with Legos or other building sets, then they will probably enjoy this open-ended game of constructing cars. But if your kids are used to playing fast-paced video games, they will probably quit this game before they discover its imaginative playground.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the process of inventing. How do people come up with new ideas? Do they tinker with old parts and think about how they might reuse them? Do they start with a problem they want to solve and then start looking for the parts to build their solution? How does this game differ from other software/video games you have played?
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