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 collection of frantic, intentionally silly microgames, is housed within the framework of a mostly text-driven story. There's almost as much time spent simply watching the progression of the story as there is playing the games. These games, which are supposed to be Web videos shown on Carly's program, revolve around behavior some parents will find inappropriate, such as prank calls and vandalizing posters. Fans of the iCarly TV show -- and they can be quite rabid fans, indeed -- will already be used to the types of shennanigans they'll find in the game. The game also glamorizes life on the Internet, living by text and email, which may be problematic for some parents.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
The iCARLY video game tracks the format of the Nickelodeon show on which it is base. Carly and her friends have their own Web program, on which they air strange videos they find around the Internet. A bitter teenage boy, who Carly once turned down, tries to get revenge by hacking into Carly's computer and creating various technical problems to ruin their show. Eventually Carly and her friends figure out the mean kid's password and rewrite his viruses to attack his own computer. During all of this players will "play" Webisodes of Carly's show by taking on a number of quick, strange minigames that are meant to be video segments. Some include finding baby chicks in the dark with a flashlight, ringing a bell to wake up Carly's brother, and bouncing on trampolines.
Is it any good?
What may disappoint some iCarly fans is the way the game doesn't allow the player to affect the story in any way. The plot goes on, the players watch it unfold. Fans may like the story -- and the acting by the real cast members -- but long for some way to be more involved. The fun of this video game comes during "webisodes," the slates of rapid mini-games the player is hit with in a fashion not unsimilar to that of WarioWare (and the games are often just as bizarre and non-sequiter-like as the ones in WarioWare, too). The games are genuinely fun, easy to learn but hard to master, and tend to increase in difficulty as the story progresses. The only problem is that there just aren't enough of them, which leads to a lot of repetition. It's nice that players can "edit" their own webisode, choosing the order of minigames and tinkering with their looks, but it doesn't solve the problem. It's possible to finish the entire game in under two hours.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the good and bad involved in using the Internet. How much time is too much time on the computer? How do you keep your online interactions safe?
Should you limit texting and instant messaging? What kinds of things are okay to say to someone via email and what should be handled in person? What's the best thing to do if an uninvited user interrupts your chats or email conversations?
When does poking fun of someone online turn into cyberbullying?
If you want to watch funny Web videos, how can you avoid ones that are inappropriate or harmful?
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