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 is a game about learning words. If you are a child, the words presented to you in the games will be easier than if you are an adult. As you progress through the games and succeed, new words are added based on your progress with earlier worlds. The better you do, the harder the words become. Parents will appreciate that after 20-30 minutes of playing, the game suggests you quit for the day. Two of the games can be played with another player using separate DS units. This is a review of the DS version, which is better than the Wii version.
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What's it about?
MY WORD COACH is based on the premise that you can increase your vocabulary by playing word games. This video game for the Nintendo DS presents you with six vocabulary training games and keeps track of your overall improvement as you play the games. The training games expose you to over 16,000 words and definitions. Four of the games focus on learning words and their definitions, and two are spelling games. For example, in one game, the upper screen displays a word. You touch arrows displaying \"Left\" and \"Right\" to toggle between two definitions and then select the correct definition. Your score is based in part on how much time you took. In another game, you're shown a list of words in one screen while alphabet blocks fall slowly into the other screen. The object is to touch the blocks in order to spell the words on your list before the screen fills completely with blocks. When you do spell a word, those blocks disappear.
Is it any good?
As with the popular Big Brain Academy game, what makes this game fun is that you enter a school to train -- here it's called the Institute. You choose from one of four word entertaining coaches to guide you. After taking a simple test to determine your "Expression Potential," a number assigned out of a possible 100, the coach encourages you play games so that you can increase your initial Expression Potential.
My Word Coach does a good job of trying to moderate the intensity of learning words by periodically introducing two recreational games that aren't tracked. Plus, after 20-30 minutes of training, the game suggests you quit for that day. While some adults may resent the emphasis on speed that is part of the games, for kids, the speed angle may actually help to sustain their interest in these educational games. High schoolers who are preparing to take the verbal and writing portion of the SAT might want to add this video game to their backpack – it's more fun than simply memorizing word lists.
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