For our December issue, we asked one of our electronics editors to play with toys. Literally! She played with some of the hot electronic toys that are out on the market for the holidays. Some of the toys are for little kids, others for older ones, and most, as she discovered, will entertain everyone!
Some toys are to be used with an iPad, including the game of Life. Remember that board game? Now it’s electronic! So, too, is Monopoly. Here are some of our tester’s notes as she played with these classic games.
To begin playing the zAPPed Edition: The Game of Life, each player customizes a “Peg” avatar on the iPad. The iPad then gives you basic game instructions and provides an onscreen “spinner.” As you zip around the board with your little plastic car, chose your life path (college or career, to start), and attain successes, you get more “peg-cessories” for your avatar to wear.
Depending where you land—Life, Family, Lawsuit, Payday Space, and so on—you get a visual with it on the screen: a video from “America’s Funniest Home Videos” or mini games, including a memory game and a virtual shell game. You can play those even when you’re not playing a full game, in Arcade mode.
Careers are updated: You can now become a video-game designer or a Web tycoon, along with more traditional job options. Just one quibble with this version: We wished cash was “virtual” as it is in Monopoly zAPPed edition. On the other hand, counting it out might be a math-skills boost for kids.
In the zAPPed version of the Monopoly, your smart device serves as a spinner and also keeps track of each player’s cash, via the included “Touch-banking cards.” So there’s no counting practice—but no more cheating by sneaking extra bills, either!
The classic Chance and Community Chest cards are now virtualized too. When you land on those spaces, you play mini games onscreen to see what’s on the card you’ve chosen. One new element: When you land on a property, you either have to buy it or auction it to another player. The auctions take place on the iPad, and the price keeps ticking up till every participant but one—the buyer—drops out.
At first, we had a little trouble getting the hang of tapping the bankcards; you have to lightly touch just the edge of the card to the screen. This could be frustrating for some players. Once you do it right, you get a satisfying “cha-ching” sound!
Happy holiday shopping! Look for the December issue, on newsstands soon, for her reviews on Sifteo Cubes, Mattel Loopz, Crayola Light Designer, and many more!