Karen Breeden, Family Titles Reviewer

Karen is a shining addition to the GiN staff and is highly qualified to review games designed for children. A specialist teacher who works with learning-disabled children, Karen holds a master's degree in special education and an undergraduate degree in elementary education.|Karen believes that educational software and even purely fun children's games are a powerful learning tool that only recently began to be explored by our industry. She feels companies have a responsibility to produce quality children's software, and have to be mindful of whatever message the games contain. She reviews children's software with a mind to what children enjoy and how they will benefit from using the software. She uses her years of study in the field as well as careful observation of children working with computers to guide her in GiN reviews.

Recent Posts

Fritz 8 is Brains and Beauty

The Fritz 8 chess game is a powerful teacher of chess, and also a powerful opponent. Many times during my tests I felt like a grandmaster was sitting the room with me, analyzing my every move. I can safely say that I am a better chess player because of my experience with Fritz 8. When you load up Fritz 8, you can instantly begin playing. But before you do, you probably want to set up the levels of skill that best match your playing style. I found that in automatic matching mode, Fritz did a good job of keeping up … Continue reading Fritz 8 is Brains and Beauty

Fritz checkmates other chess tutors

Learn to Play Chess with Fritz and Chesster is a bit like a wolverine in that it’s cute and furry on the outside, but has some real teeth once you get involved with it. Although the game is designed to teach children how to play chess, the underlying engine is Fritz, which is a mighty powerful AI that is highly respected in chess circles. Grandmasters like Vladimir Kramnik use Fritz to train for big matches. But children won’t be thrown against the full weight of Fritz until they are able to handle it. In fact, most children won’t even realize … Continue reading Fritz checkmates other chess tutors

Nancy Drew Sleuths Out a Winner

In the mood for an interactive mystery adventure? HER Interactive then can fill your order with Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion. This is the third game in a series of 3D Nancy Drew interactive mystery games that HER Interactive has produced. There is a new one about to come out, but in the meantime I figured I would take a look at this title. Message in a Haunted Mansion is recommended for players ten and up. In this adventure, Nancy finds herself in an old Victorian mansion in San Francisco helping a friend with the renovations of the … Continue reading Nancy Drew Sleuths Out a Winner

Jack Attack 2 is for Kids and You

In the family titles realm, playing a game with your children often involves letting the child click around the screen while the adult supervises, offers advice, helps at sticky situations and generally acts as advisor. Jack Attack 2 takes a different approach. It offers a platform where the child and parent can actually play together. This achievement can not be understated. The child and parent, or any caring adult for that matter, are working together to achieve a goal in Jack Attack 2. Both are sitting at the keyboard – or both have game controllers in the case of a … Continue reading Jack Attack 2 is for Kids and You

Sheep is Wild and Wooly Fun

Empire Interactive’s game Sheep is a puzzle/strategy game that allows us to pull the wool away from over our eyes and seek the truth. Those seemingly innocent little lambs grazing out on the open fields are exposed in this game as being former genius beings from another planet. The story goes that originally these highly intelligent aliens were sent here in disguise long ago to observe the earth’s inhabitants. Only over time these sheepish aliens lost sight of their mission and made a self-fulfilling prophecy into metamorphosing into the passive seemingly mindless creatures we think of today as sheep. The … Continue reading Sheep is Wild and Wooly Fun

Mia 2 Makes Science Cool

The long quest to find a children’s title that actually makes science fun has ended. There are a myriad of programs out there that teach reading and other more basic subjects, and even more that are little more than entertainment wrapped in the cloak of educational software. But a program that could teach children the subject of science, and be fun at the same time, would be a gem; it would be worth five GiN Gems to be exact. Mia 2: Romaine’s New Hat is such a program. Right from the start I was enthralled by the exquisite graphics, the … Continue reading Mia 2 Makes Science Cool

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