Saturday, 22 September 2012

Toyologist Review: My First Clock Game

They say time is the fire in which we burn. It's like a predator - it's stalking you.

Or that time is a companion, that goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment because they'll never come again.

Two contrasting views on how to spend the ever-so brief time that you spend on this planet. But which view best compliments this game? A cherished moment, or a waste of your precious life that you could have spend doing something else? I've read a number of reviews where the children have loved this game. Do mine agree?

So far my method of teaching my children how to tell the time has been by saying 'you can play on the Wii at suchatime.' Amazing how effective that's been. Ravensberger has come up with a different way, via a game.

At least, it's supposed to be a game. You see, I always thought games were meant to be fun and this one, well, isn't.

The box includes a cardboard clock, a big pile of cards with pictures of clock faces set at various times (with the time in digital on the back), and then a little booklet with rules on.

The instruction book irked me a little. On the first page of the rules there is a lot of detail about how a clock works. No, nothing to do with quartz, cogs, or anything like that, but that the hands go clockwise, and that if the minute hand goes all the way round once an hour has gone by. Okay, I thought, maybe the instructions are aimed at children. But no, there are constant references to 'your child'. Maybe there are some parents out there who can't tell the time who will play this with their children, but since it's essential for all the possible games that someone plays who can tell the time, it leaves me at a complete loss.

While there are three possible games suggested, they are basically all variations on matching a card to the time set on the clock face. None of the variations are in any way exciting to play. It basically comes down to pointing at a clock and saying 'what time is this?' This alone does not make a game - it's more like a classroom exercise. Fine for school, but not something a child would choose to play at home. I can easily think up a few ways that learning to tell the time could be made into a fun game, but sadly none of them appear here (heck, even something simple like shoving a couple of dinosaurs in somewhere would liven it up! How about making it based around 'What Time is it Mr Wolf?'). There's no sense of competition between players, no real 'goal' to strive for to win at the end, no fun aspect. Just 'what time is this?' over and over and over. Simple games often make the best games, but this is almost too simple.

The children were not impressed at all.

They were slightly more excited when they started throwing the game cards around, but, try as I might, I couldn't find this particular game in the rule booklet. Maybe they forgot to include that page in my copy.

Telling the time is important. Otherwise you turn up late to your job and you get fired. That's probably the most important reason for telling the time - not being fired. While this game might help you learn how to tell the time, not get fired, and have a long and successful career, sadly it's unlikely anyone will be interested in playing this game for long enough for this to happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment