Thursday, January 6, 2011

Technology Toys (a couple reviews and excuses)

I was supposed to do a couple reviews this week-that was the plan at least, but we all know that sometimes life gets in the way. First the excuses-I had a very sick little girl still recovering from a bout of strep throat and nasty stomach bug, and my adjustment back to work was a wee bit difficult after being off for so long. I developed a nasty habit of staying up later and later so it took me more than a few days to readjust to an earlier bedtime. And, my bewitching hour is near, so this post is going to be a teaser for meatier reviews to come.

Technology toys were the "it" items in our house this Christmas, so I wanted to give a brief overview tonight on one of the hits and one of the misses. Santa brought a number of Dsi games for the kids based on online reviews, but the biggest test of a toy is whether your child actually plays with it or not. Two games stood out from the crowd-Zelda Spirit Tracks and Professor Layton and the Unwound Future-but the clear favorite by everyone was the Zelda game. In fact, I started playing it when I found myself a little talked out at my in-laws, and I couldn’t put it down. It literally drove me crazy when I couldn’t figure out the combination of the secret tunnel-the game gave hints about what to push in what order to open the door! The whole game is like this-you are constantly thinking of how to do things, so if your kids like a lot of mental exercise (and you do too), then this game's for you. A note of caution: both my kids enjoyed this game so much that you can imagine how tough it was to share…

A possible "miss" this Christmas might have been Duck Hunter Xtreme. I bought this toy for my husband because it was something that my son picked out personally. I originally thought that since it is a two-person game (one person has to fly the duck while the other takes aim with the "infrared" gun) it would be a good one for the kids to play with their dad. I quickly looked at the age ranges for the toy (ages 10-15) but didn’t worry too much since my son has a couple remote control items already. One problem right off the bat is that this toy takes a huge amount of batteries-the shooter takes 3 AAA batteries and the remote control takes 6 AA batteries-then you have to wait an additional 10 minutes to "charge" up the duck.

The irritants don’t just stop there. My husband is quite the aficionado when it comes to all things electronic, and remote control airplanes make up some of his collection, but this duck is quite different. It flies extremely fast (I was more than a little scared of the thing) and at least right out of the box it would only fly a few laps before losing altitude and coming down-there was no time for any shooting because we were mostly ducking.(No pun intended...) And speaking of shooting, there is no beam that you line up to shoot-just an annoying shotgun sound, so I’m not sure how the gun actually brings the duck down. The toy claims to be for both inside and outside use, but we now know that a normal sized room isn’t nearly large enough to fly this thing. If you were looking at this toy before Christmas, or are looking at it now, you might want to reconsider-the duck was packed up, and hasn’t been taken out again.

Well, that's all for tonight, but I will be back in a couple days for another review.
*Note: Zelda images are free screen shots used for the sole purpose of my review, while the Duck Hunter Xreme image links to its source-the Amazon website.


  1. Ok, I have to admit that despite the drawbacks, I really want that duck! I have been target shooting since I was 11 but don't have time for it anymore. I'm thinking it might be fun to set it off my balcony and try to hit it before it hits the ground! It might be a good way to let off some steam.

    P.S. If the time set is correct, you were up late again when you visited my blog last night. Do I have to ground you for staying up past bedtime? ; )

  2. What an interesting toy.2 players games bothers me more than daddy since he has been working long hours.But most of the games Aria has for 2 players, lol.
    Have a great weekend, Susan!

  3. I hope you daughter is feeling much better! So sorry to hear she had strep throat. :(

    I can't believe the duck was a dud. It sounds like it would be fun if it actually worked well. At least your family has a good Zelda game to play. That's a bonus!

  4. MOTPG, I haven't given up on the duck totally because I want to fly and shoot too-LOL! I am hoping to be able to play with it outside when it's warmer, but there can't be any wind, so, who knows...

    Yonca, my son traps me with the two person games too. LOL!

    Mommy is Green, unfortunately the Zelda game is so addictive once you start playing it, so I have been staying away from the DSi to get a break-LOL!

  5. Do you know how much my boys would want that duck toy?? But I can just see major falling into daddy's TV moments and daddy yelling at me for getting one of those crazy toys!!

    Great reviews Susan. Hope everyone is doing well in your house. Looking forward to the kiddos going back to school tomorrow. They are driving me crazy today!


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