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

Max and the Pirates Makes Reading Fun

Max and the Pirates is the latest game in the Max series, where the lovable little bear goes on adventures around their world. This time around Max and his famous inventor Uncle Pong find themselves on vacation along the Jivery Coast. The game starts out with Pong and Max relaxing on the beach. You can click around the screen to trigger different events, and to see some of the interesting things that Pong has invented. Just on a personal note, the foot irrigator seems downright heavenly. Anyway, eventually when you click on a pirate ship off in the distance a … Continue reading Max and the Pirates Makes Reading Fun

Super Scattergories is scatter-brained fun

From the time you hear the beginning swinging tidings of the Super Scattergories’ theme song, you know that you are in for quite a fun and intense ride. Hasbro Interactive has brought the word category board game Scattergories to the CD-ROM platform. Super Scattergories can be played in a variety of ways. Gaming options include playing solo, Network mode, head to head with another player, or in teams of players. A hints option is given if players would like some help along the way with the game. Don’t worry if you aren’t an expert typist with this game. It only … Continue reading Super Scattergories is scatter-brained fun

Explore Mars with Lego

When Pathfinder touched down on Mars and began exploring the red planet, it was a milestone in human history. But assembling a Pathfinder robot in your living room will be a milestone in family history. The Lego Exploration Mars builder kit is basically an expansion pack for the Robotics Invention System, version 1.5. That means you have the huge box of parts and motors that come with the main robotics kit and a smaller box that enables you to construct interesting vehicles whose big brothers have explored Mars, such as Pathfinder and Carl Sagan station. Looking at all the pieces … Continue reading Explore Mars with Lego

The Sims is Sim-ply amazing

The Sims is a game for anyone who thinks that real life is boring. And that must be a pretty good number because The Sims is the best seller in the nation this week. Created by the same folks who made the popular SimCity series, The Sims drills down to the neighborhood level of a city and in fact puts players in charge of a single household. The first part of the fun in the game comes when you create your family. Will you make a slobbery bachelor, a fresh-out-of-school party girl, a full family complete with kids or a … Continue reading The Sims is Sim-ply amazing

Lego Mindstorms Droid Developer Kit is pure family fun

If I could envision a box of family fun, this would be pretty close to what I would imagine it to be. The Lego Mindstorms Droid Developer Kit is a seamless marriage of tactile exploration and computer enhancement. The computer component of the product does not get in they way of the building phase, but instead is used to enhance the overall experience. When you first open the box, there is going to be a moment looking at the hundreds of small pieces where you wonder what the heck you have gotten into. I mean teams of scientists at laboratories … Continue reading Lego Mindstorms Droid Developer Kit is pure family fun

Hoyle Board Games will leave users anything but bored

Nothing can bring a family together like a board game. Especially the really well made ones like Yahtzee, Parchesi and checkers. But although the computer has a world of multimedia to tap into, games originally built for group fun never really successfully made the transition. The computer until very recently was a stationary object, and only so many people could crowd around the screen at a time. Plus, people who are fantastic board game players are not necessarily computer gamers. So they have been slow to catch on. On final reason for the lull in popularity could be much more … Continue reading Hoyle Board Games will leave users anything but bored

Yoda’s Challenge will sharpen young minds

Lucas Learning Ltd. has developed an Episode One inspired title for young Jedis-in-training ages 6 to 8. Yoda’s Challenge Activity Center has the player join Yoda in the Jedi Council Chamber. Yoda invites the player to choose from six different missions to work on mastering. Interestingly enough, each mission teach valuable skills. Once the player is in the Council Chamber he or she can choose to start on any one of the six missions represented by holographic images on the screen. If help is needed during a mission, the player only needs to click on the Yoda picture on the … Continue reading Yoda’s Challenge will sharpen young minds

Mia is a heroine kids can love

Canadian company Kutoka Interactive’s foray into the children’s computer entertainment and educational market is a good one. Mia: The Search for Grandma’s Remedy has all the elements that can capture a child’s attention: a lovable heroine, an interesting plot and lots of visual effects. Players take on the role of over-stuffed mouse Mia as she attempts to collect enough valuable "sparkles" to buy medicine for her ailing grandmother. Sparkles are apparently the currency of the land Mia lives in, which is a house that is large enough for a tiny mouse and all her friends to remain unnoticed from the … Continue reading Mia is a heroine kids can love

The Axe strikes a blow for armchair musicians

Air guitarists and musician wanna-be’s everywhere now have an outlet for their musical aspirations and frustrations. Harmonix has developed The Axe – Titans of Classic Rock just for this purpose. Music enthusiasts can jam out to some of their favorite classic rock tunes by using a joystick, mouse or computer keyboard as their makeshift axe. This program contains twelve songs from bands that include The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Frampton, Pink Floyd, The Kinks and The Who. For the player to accompany these tunes, a variety of instruments … Continue reading The Axe strikes a blow for armchair musicians

Tonka Raceway takes the checkered flag

Hasbro Interactive has driven car racing games to a new level of fun and complexity for the younger crowd. And this game offers a variety of options entertaining enough to keep the attention of youngsters’ speeding minds. Not only does the player get to race, he or she gets to modify vehicles, change the race tracks included in the game, and even design their own race tracks. This game offers the player three different racing scenarios: racing alone in Time Trial, 2-Player Racing against a friend, and the opportunity to race against the game’s own personal racers. The player is … Continue reading Tonka Raceway takes the checkered flag

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