I know I shouldn’t have – but I did…
I bought Gavin the V.Smile TV Learning System with the Thomas and Friends Engines Working Together game. After my disastrous attempt to purchase the download rights to the other Thomas and Friends PC games, I figured I would play it safe and buy something I could physically see and touch before I paid money for it.
The V.Smile TV Learning System comes packaged with one game cartridge. Different packages come with different games. Since Gavin is really only keen on Thomas and Friends, I chose this particular package:
Other V.Smile packages are available with Winnie the Pooh, Cars, Scooby Doo. We bought the new model of the V.Smile TV Learning System which comes with the writing pad and singing microphone (the older model doesn’t have either of these) so children can learn to write and sing along with the games.
We bought the V.Smile from Toys ‘R’ Us in Hartamas Shopping Complex for RM389. I thought it was interesting to note that there is a huge price discrepancy between different Toys ‘R’ Us locations. For instance, in Toys ‘R’ Us Midvalley, it was retailing at RM420. In Toys ‘R’ Us KLCC, it was retailing at RM499. As far as I can tell, it is exactly the same product.
They were also selling the older model without the writing pad and singing microphone for RM300, however, the only package they sell is the one packaged with the Winnie the Pooh game. Since the game cartridges retail at RM99 each, I didn’t see the point of paying RM400 for an older model when I could get the newer model with the game I wanted for RM389. Gavin isn’t really that fond of Pooh anyway.
When we got home, Gavin was extremely excited to set it up. He knows what it is all about because he’s seen the V.Smile demo units in Toys ‘R’ Us and always wants to play it. Unfortunately, there is always a line of children waiting to play so he doesn’t get much of a chance.
He was extremely excited about the game and kept asking me to let him play “Thomas and the Trucks” – because one of the activities involves identifying recycled items as glass, metal, plastic or paper and putting them into the correct truck.
The first few days, I almost regretted buying the unit because Gavin was like a drug addict on crack. He couldn’t get enough of it and would throw tantrums whenever I put a stop to his game time. I tried to limit him to half an hour a day, but it was never enough for him.
He is a little better these days because I make a huge effort to drag him out of the house to do other things. He hasn’t been begging to play the game over the last couple of days, so I’m wondering if his interest has fizzled out or if he’s just had better things to do.
Personally, I think some of the activities are still a little too complex for him to grasp. One of the reasons why I was keen to get the V.Smile was because I thought it might encourage him to learn how to write. I’m not sure if that works very well right now because the activities are still a little too complex for him to understand exactly what he is required to do.
Between the V.Smile and the other two Thomas and Friends PC games we currently have – The Great Festival Adventure and Special Delivery – I think I still prefer the activities from the PC games. The V.Smile game Engines Working Together is intended for children age 3-5 years, so perhaps Gavin will find it more educational when he’s a little older.