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Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Review!!! The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks! (A Virtual World!)

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About the product/service:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received access for 30 days as an "Elite Quest Traveler" in The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World.  This world is based on a series of books by John Bittleston.
Basically, this is like a number of other virtual world games I've seen on the internet.  You become a character and you interact with the world, as well as other characters, and you go on "virtual adventures."  This game attempts to add educational value to the adventures by having the players interact with real people from history in real places. (Okay, well, not the REAL people in real places, but virtual real people!  Hmmmm.  Sounds like an oxymoron, but I think you know what I mean!  LOL)

For example, you kids will meet St. Patrick, Beethoven, Chief Joseph, etc.  The idea behind all this is that these characters from the past have entered the present through a time warp.  Your child's mission is to help them regain lost memories.  Here's a little blurb from the website that give a good description of the goals of this game:

It promises an experience in which players will be able to travel to places around the world, through time and space, meet famous historical people, play dozens of fun enriching games, make new friends, buy exotic islands, build culture-inspired houses, wear clothes from different countries, explore secret locations, solve mysteries and become a legendary traveler!

You can also find out more by watching two videos here.

Not ready to head on over to the website yet?  Here's a screen shot to give you an idea what the virtual world looks like. 

What are the pros of this product?  Well, first of all, being frugal, I appreciate that there is a free, albeit stripped down, version of the game. 

Also, the graphics are very good.  It's also nice that there is actually some educational value to the game.  So many of these games have no educational value whatsoever.  

You can keep your child from chatting with other children, by only allowing them to use a modified chat which will only allow them to click on certain phrases like "Hi!" and "Let's have a party!" 

What's not to like? I thought that while there was some educational value to the website, I found that my kids spent most of their time playing non-educational aspects of the game.  My kids played a lot of pool and darts and other games like that.  It would be nice if there would be some sort of limit on the "fun" games. 

If you allow uncensored chat, you will get just that, uncensored chat.  Be aware that this is just like sending your kids out on the playground.  You never know who you are going to meet or what they are going to introduce your kids to.  One reason we homeschool is to have a certain amount of control over things like this, so why would be keep them out of school and then send them online with who knows who?  With games that allow uncensored chat, there is no way to tell if you are talking to another child or an adult.  In this world, you honestly can't be too careful.  Thankfully, you don't HAVE to allow the chat, but I want you to know about it. 

And I have to mention it; there is a Charles Darwin character.  My kids know all about Darwin and can spot evolution a mile away.  It doesn't bother me, but he is there.  Just a heads up so you can deal with it in whatever way you deam appropriate.  

Also, there is a environmentalist bent here too.  I am all for clean air and water, but I tend to cringe when people go so far as to say human beings are like a cancer to the earth or whatever.  I didn't see anything like that here, but I realize that people draw the line in different places, plus I have not gone through the entire world.  Again, just a heads up. 

The Crazy Mom take:  Well, you know I am not the most disciplined and organized person on the planet.  I have to admit, my kids aren't either.  Because of this, most of them have zero discipline when it comes to the computer.  They sneak on it when they are supposed to be doing something else, or they haven't finished their school or chores.  Once they are on, it's like pulling teeth to get them off.  For this reason, we have decided to stay away from games like this.  I am not saying all kids will get sucked in, but I am saying mine do.  Yes, they like this game, and yes, they would play all day if I let them.  (They love when I review these things because I "assign" them to play.  Talk about catching a break!  LOL)

So, for us, I can say for sure that we won't be buying any subscriptions.  As for the free version, I might allow them to play it on a rare occasion.  I do admit, I like it better than many of the others as there is at least some educational value.
Now, one thing that does peak my interest is the fact that this virtual world is based on a series of books about the Wiglington and Wenks characters.  I had never heard of them.  I will check them out and see if the characters in the books also travel around to famous places meeting famous people.  If this is the case, I will be glad to get these books out of the library for my kids to read.  I don't mind them getting all wrapped up in books.  Well, okay, I don't like to find them up reading at 2:00 A.M.  Ah, yes, we do need a lot more discipline in our lives.  I suppose it should start with me! 

Happy virtual traveling!

 What's the bottom line? Free!  But to access special features you can buy a membership for $5.99 per month.  You can also get better deals by buying multiple months in a single transaction.  See website for details. 

I am going to give The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks 3 out of 5 smileys!!!

Check it out!

See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say @

*The Smiley System: 

I can't really recommend this product.
 I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.
 This is a good product, but isn't right for everyone.
 Most homeschool moms will find this useful.
 This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!

Disclaimer!!!  I reviewed this product because I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew.  I was given the product by the vendor to use and evaluate in my home so that I might share my insights with others.  Other than receiving the product, which I kinda have to to be able to assess the product, I am not compensated for my reviews in any way.  I am in no way obligated to give a positive review.  I do try to point out negatives when I see them, though I am admittedly a pretty easy going gal!  What you read are my honest assessments of the products I receive. 

As with all products, you must do the research before buying.  Please visit the the other crew members' blogs, the vendor websites, and any other review sites you might find before buying.  I can't guarantee that a product will work for you.  You must decide what will fit with your teaching style, and your child(ren)'s learning style(s).  I do not judge anything other than the educational value of the products I review.  I am not qualified to make judgements as to the safely of any product, and I make no guarantee that the products I review are safe for you, your family, or anyone else.  I am simply giving my opinion; only you know what is best for you and your family.

Don't use your blow dryer while you sleep or take a bath.  Don't read my reviews in the tub either, and please do not read them when you are asleep, though I do not guarantee that you won't fall asleep reading them!
Copyright 2010 Ramblings from the Crazy House


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