Barbie: Video Game Hero
By Andrea Beach,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Barbie's a smart coder in gentle video game adventure.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Simple explanations of code and how it works, computer viruses, and NPCs (nonplayer characters).
Teamwork gets things done. Don't be afraid to try new things. Play how you want to play; just because something's always been done one way doesn't mean you can't change it. It's OK to be scared; just don't let it stop you. You have to think outside the box to solve problems. Note that Barbie's invited by a character in her tablet to beta-test a game. She thinks for a brief second and clicks the yes button; online safety issues aren't addressed in any way.
Positive Role Models
Barbie and her friends are coders designing, programming, and testing a video game. They support each other with compliments about the ideas and solutions they come up with. Barbie's patient with her little sister, makes her feel included, and encourages her to try coding. She also helps her opponents or rivals when they're in danger instead of just trying to win. Barbie never gives up, thinks things through, and is willing to try others' ideas as well as her own. Barbie and other game characters skate and skateboard with only kneepads for safety gear.
Violence & Scariness
Some cartoon mayhem from fantasy creatures (the virus) who smash and throw things. Game characters fall but never get hurt. Mild peril from growing horde of viruses trying to destroy the game and everything in it.
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Products & Purchases
Part of the vast Barbie merchandising franchise, but no products or shopping are directly referenced in the movie. Ads for other Barbie movies as soon as the DVD starts up. Bonus material includes several Barbie Dreamtopia shorts.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barbie: Video Game Hero features Barbie as a smart coder who's designing and programming a video game with friends. Lots of positive messages about creative thinking to solve problems, never giving up, and teamwork getting the job done. There are short, simple explanations of what codes and viruses are. It encourages kids, especially little girls, by showing that they can be coders, too, and make things how they want them to be. Parents may want to talk to kids about what to do if a device is asking them to click to agree to something. That's what starts Barbie's whole adventure, and online safety or consequences aren't addressed.
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Barbie: Video Game Hero
Based on 5 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
When BARBIE: VIDEO GAME HERO's in-game tutorial asks her to help with a beta test, Barbie clicks the "yes" button and is magically brought into the world of the game itself. But it seems the real reason she's been invited in is because a computer virus is threatening to take over and destroy the whole game. To defeat the virus, Barbie will have to win every level. But in-game characters such as Bella and Kris just might have something to say about that. Can they learn to work together to find a way to defeat the virus and save the game?
Is It Any Good?
It's refreshing to see Barbie emerge as a smart girl: a coder who thinks things through, uses creative solutions, and encourages teamwork to save the day. Barbie: Video Game Hero should encourage kids, especially girls, to explore the world of coding and programming.
Each of the three levels in the video game is fun and colorful in a unique way. Each one also introduces new characters, each with their own contributions to make. And it builds suspense and excitement as the virus takes over more and more. The main concerns are what's left out of the movie about online safety and when it's OK to click on a yes button. And characters wearing safety equipment for roller-skating or skateboarding would make that much better role models. But messages about teamwork and problem-solving are strong. It's a fun adventure Barbie fans are sure to enjoy.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Barbie learns that she can change things to find solutions to problems in Barbie: Video Game Hero and that things don't have to be only one way. If you could change one thing to be your way, what would it be? Why?
Have you seen any other Barbie movies? Do you have any Barbie toys? How do you and your family decide which ones to watch or to get?
Have you done any coding or computer programming? If so, was it fun? If not, would you like to? How could you try it out?
- On DVD or streaming: January 31, 2017
- Cast: Erica Lindbeck, Michael Dobson
- Directors: Conrad Helten, Ezekiel Norton, Michael Goguen
- Inclusion Information: Bisexual actors
- Studio: Mattel Creations
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Science and Nature
- Character Strengths: Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 72 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: June 3, 2022
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