Babyz is a very cute game that is sure to be a hit. Upon seeing the Babyz website, I was eager to check this program out. It is like having a virtual baby and includes nursing a sick baby back to health, changing diapers, cleaning up after it, playing with it and teaching discipline. You teach your Babyz to play, crawl, walk, talk and interact with each other and you.
You interact with the baby using the microphone and the IBM Viavoice voice recognition program, which will also help the Babyz learn to talk. As with a real baby, you will find you need to use single words for people, actions, places and things.
One of the most appealing features is that each baby has it's own unique appearance (different skin tones, amounts and color of hair, eye color, body builds, and gender, personality and likes and dislikes just like a real baby). Boys don't have long eyelashes while girls do, in case you can't tell them apart by their hair. Girls can also have no hair, very little hair or one, two or three ponytails.
Each baby is given its own "codez" or Babyz Adoption Serial Number. Think DNA. The Babyz will change their minds, just like a real child. It will also need to interact with you and other Babyz. Some are more social or will like certain other Babyz better or not get along with others at all. Babyz will throw food, have their favorite foods, "toyz" and clothing. Some will be fussier, some will get sicker more often. Also, Babyz will actually learn from you, hopefully like a real child.
Other excellent features are the sounds of the program and being able to interact with your voice with the Babyz, utilizing the microphone included. The Babyz will coo, cry, fuss, giggle and eventually talk. They will try to let you know what they need. If the baby starts crying, you'll know a diaper needs changing, sometimes before he or she starts fussing, as it's movements sound "squishier" when crawling. Also "toyz" such as the record player, mobile, firetruck, drum, toy keyboard and rattle make noise. You may have fun just playing with these items yourself.
The other background and interactive noises are great, too, like the sounds of the fridge running, the baby eating, the microwave, birds chirping and fireplace fire roaring. Also nice in the sounds and other effects department is that you can use the items in each room to some extent. The microwave actually lights up when you open it and makes microwave noises, for instance, or when you click on a book and open it, words, numbers and pictures appear so you can "read" to the Babyz. You can also click on the camera button and take a picture of your Babyz and e-mail them to friends, print out the photo or share it with other people in the photo gallery on the Internet.
There is a fairly good selection of "toyz" and outfits from which to choose and you can go to the website and download more. Each program comes with 15 Babyz to adopt in addition to the original. You can only interact with three Babyz at a time and any others you have adopted must be "sent to Grandma's" or given up for adoption. The official website, as well as websites of other people who have the program, often have adoption links so you can have an even wider selection of Babyz to adopt. You can send the baby to daycare or "sleepoverz" via the internet also; some people are developing health clinics that can take care of your sick Babyz and nurse them back to health for you or give you advice on how to do so.
One disappointment is the limitation of only one person being allowed to play with the Babyz at a time and everybody else must watch. My two year old godson loved the program and believed it was a real baby. He still drags his mother into the room and insists that she turn on the program so he can see the baby and watch her play with it. He interacted with what was going on in the program as if it was a real baby.
Another disappointment is also one of it's best features: the baby grows and develops and learns but only until the age of about 15-18 months. While real parents agree that the Babyz program has them doing and learning things at about the right developmental stages and months, the baby only grows to a certain age. Then you might as well give it up for adoption or to a permanent visit to grandma's and just play with your other Babyz and adopt more.
You may get tired of the same rooms for the Babyz and the same "toyz" and outfits. Mindscape does try to alleviate this by having items and outfits you can download and allowing the program to be used as a screensaver so that the baby can play on your desktop. I also have to configure my computer differently to use this program in terms of screen size. I did not have this problem on a friend's computer, however. Other than these minor gripes, this is a wonderful, realistic (without being rated PG), fun, interactive game.
Graphics: nice graphics and realistic movements although you may tire of same backdrop and need to download more and different toyz and clothes.
Sound: Excellent sound and really neat effects both with background and baby noises and toy noises. IBM Viavoice is really neat.
Enjoyment: Really cute program and fun to interact with.
Replay Value: After Babyz develop to a certain stage, they don't develop any more and you may want to give them up for adoption and play with your others and adopt more, or leave them permanantly at "grandma's"
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