A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pictionary (DS) can be a decent electronic version of the board game when played in groups. Solo play, even on "easy" level, can prove frustrating for kids as well as adults. Also be aware that one of the many possible clues that kids could be instructed to illustrate is "chain smoker."
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What's it about?
PICTIONARY (DS) is an electronic version of the classic Pictionary board game. Teams of players compete, having one member of a team sketch a picture of a certain clue while his or her teammates try to guess what that clue is. Multiplayer games here can be played in a pass-and-play format with just one DS, or by linking several DS units wirelessly (all units must have the Pictionary game card). Teams can play in classic or "mania" format, the latter introducing challenges like drawing with your off-hand, drawing without picking up the stylus, or drawing with only straight lines. There are also solo modes that only involve guessing the clues sketched by an "invisible artist." Guesses must be letter-for-letter precise, which makes the solo games incredibly difficult.
Is it any good?
If you have at least four people who are willing to play a board game on a handheld video game unit, then Pictionary (DS) could provide some fun. You just need to make sure that your teammates aren't peeking when you read the clue you're about to sketch. And then you have to make sure that everybody can see the small DS screen while you're drawing on the touchscreen with the stylus. It's clunky, but you can make it work. The solo modes offered here are just no fun, though. First of all, who wants to play Pictionary without getting to draw? But worse than that is how difficult it is to make a correct guess (even on the "easy" setting). The computer-made sketches are often hard to decipher, and even when you think you know what they are, you're probably wrong -- because you need to type in the answer exactly as the game understands it. So, for example, if you figure out that the sketch is a person eating sushi, and you type either "eating" or "sushi," you're still wrong, because the answer the game wants is "eat sushi." What you thought was "jump," turns out to be "leap." And so on. It's too frustrating.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about playing group video games together. Does playing together help improve family relationships and dynamics? Can video games really bring families together? Does a handheld game on a Nintendo DS stand a better, worse, or equal chance of doing so?
Do you like to draw and be artistic outside of a game like this? In what ways can you use your creativity around your house?
For kids who love playing games with others
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