Motion controlled videogaming, ushered in by Nintendo's Wii and joined by the PlayStation Move and Kinect, has opened up a whole new market of casual gamers – not least of all because of the ease with which previous non-gamers can get into the action without the need to learn complicated button layouts on a traditional controller. Educational toy company Comfy figured that such ease of use is ideal for its target audience of kids aged four to eight and has released a motion controlled education game console called iCam that has been dubbed "the baby Wii."
The iCam system runs on a PC and consists of a webcam, "Move & Groove" game CD, a driving wheel controller and two "Magic Wand" controllers that are designed specifically for little hands. As the motion detection works by the webcam detecting and tracking the position of the colored magic wands, the controllers themselves don't contain any (breakable) electronic components and don't require any batteries – always a plus for Mum and Dad.
Parents can also rest easy that the system isn't being used to desensitize the child through playing violent first person shooters as the 10 included games are designed to teach numbers, spelling, nature, recycling and other educationally beneficial things. Each game also has three difficulty levels so kids can progress at their own pace, and there are 100 additional games available for download.
Showing that they're never too young to learn, the steering wheel controller is used to play a driving game that teaches youngsters to drive according to the rules of the road – no GTA-like hijinks here.
And since the kids are "edu-physical learning" they're also moving around and getting some exercise, which is likely to help keep them from getting bored as quickly as traditional sedentary computer-based learning games and will hopefully tire them out for their afternoon nap.
The iCam retails for US$69.95 and is available from the Comfy website.