Scripps Spelling Bee

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Scripps Spelling Bee Game Poster Image
Challenge your spelling with mini-games and a virtual bee.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game promotes intelligence and learning. It equates being smart with being cool. Friend characters in the game are supportive, and the one bully character is used to demonstrate bad sportsmanship and how ugly bragging can be.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the characters are supportive and encouraging. They all admire intelligence. There is one obnoxious, bragging character, but he is used as a negative example.

Ease of Play

The words here are meant to be difficult, and many of them truly are. However, the game will test your spelling and assign you to a specific word level that should fit you. There are multiple levels to cover a wide age range of kids playing. The game's biggest flaw is in the sometimes muffled voices that pronounce the words for you to spell. We strongly suggest you play with headphones if you want to avoid mistakes.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

The game is licensed by the real-world Scripps National Spelling Bee, which bares the name of the E. W. Scripps Company, a media conglomerate.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the vocabulary used in Scripps Spelling Bee is quite advanced (if you've ever watched the National Spelling Bee on TV, expect to see words of that level of difficulty), and feels more appropriate for children who are already good spellers and wish to challenge themselves. Kids who want to use the game to help them with basic spelling might find it too difficult. However, you can always use the custom list feature to enter your own spelling words.

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What's it about?

The SCRIPPS SPELLING BEE video game allows you to simulate the experience of competing in the National Spelling Bee. In the story, you start off with small contests in your school and neighborhood and eventually move all the way up to the national finals. Along the way you will be cheered on by your teacher and best friend while being mocked and challenged by a bragging rival student. In addition to the story mode there are also several word-based mini-games.

Is it any good?

The details used in the Scripps Spelling Bee video game are nice. Once you hear your word spoken, you can ask for a definition, its country of origin, and to hear it used in a sentence -- just like in the real National Spelling Bee. You do need to hear the word, though, which is why the game is far from perfect. The audio isn't always clear enough (we mistook "pumice" for "hummus"). But that's when checking the definition can come in handy. Wearing headphones helps a lot, too (just make sure the volume isn't too high). The friends-and-rivals storyline is repetitive and feels generally unnecessary. On the whole, the mini-games are a lot more fun than the main spelling bee mode, and shouldn't be overlooked. You will undoubtedly learn from this game, though. Even the strongest spellers out there are bound to come across a word they don't know.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the competition aspect of the real spelling bee. Are the children who compete exposed to too much pressure to win? Would you ever want to take part in a real spelling bee?

  • Parents and children can also discuss the storyline that is used in the game. Do the bully and friend characters seem realistic? Do you understand what they are meant to convey?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
  • Price: $19.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: THQ
  • Release date: September 28, 2010
  • Genre: Educational
  • ESRB rating: E for no descriptors

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