Saturday, February 23, 2008

Beanie Babies v. Webkinz: A Review

My kids are new to the world of Webkinz. They each got their first pet for Christmas, so it's only been about two months. But they love them. Mr. T is newly motivated to stay on "green" (the school's method of tracking behavior follows the stoplight - green is good, yellow a warning and red is bad news) since he can only play with his Webkinz if he stays on green.

Since they love the Webkinz so much and their favorite animals to actually play with are Beanie Babies - Mr. T still has the first one he got when he was two and still picks it as his two choices to go with him on overnight trips, I thought the combination of Beanie Babies and the online play might be something they'd enjoy. So I bought myself one to check out before getting the kids their own.

I think you might be required to listen to the site. I hate all the random internet sounds, so I don't even have speakers. We have headphones that can be plugged in when we need to hear something. But based on no sound, I just don't get it. It starts with a very creepy, Frankenstein-like electrocution of the pet I got. It was assigned a name, a name that seems to be given to all pets of that variety. Then I got some tour from a big bear, but since I didnt' hear him and there were no actual words to help me out, I have no idea what was going on. I played a game and won a flag. What? What do I do with that? I don't know. It seems I have to make 10 friends to advance. Um, no. My kids aren't allowed to use that function of Webkinz and I'm not going to allow them to use it here either. I am very quick with new applications/websites, but I just didn't find this remotely intuitive.

All in all, it was completely confusing and if I couldn't get it, I'm not letting my kids loose on it. Since we weren't around when Webkinz started, I'm willing to give BB2.0 another chance as it continues to grow. For now, I'm putting the guinea pig away and not letting the kids know of its existence. We're going to stick with Webkinz for now.

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