It’s been quite a while since my 5-year-old was into Elmo. A long while. But I still held out hope that he would take to the new Sesame Street games for Wii and Nintendo DS.
I was one of a group of bloggers that went to a game demo in October. It was interesting to meet the developers and hear about how the game was made. We were given Elmo’s A to Zoo Adventure for Wii (there’s also a DS version) and it came with a furry red Elmo cover for the controller.
The remote is held with two hands end to end and the cover covers up many of the keys to make it easier for younger kids to use.
The Elmo cover was very cute, but we ended up needing to take it off. The game wasn’t playing properly with it on. In fact, the controller was a bit wonky when it wasn’t turned and aimed directly at the television screen.
Once my son played without the cover and got the hang of it, he seemed to enjoy it. One of the questions I asked at the Sesame Street demo was how do I get my son interested in playing a game with Elmo and Zoe learning about letters when he’s used to pretending to be Lego Luke Skywalker fighting Darth Vader.
They said to ask our older son to help the younger one play the game. It was a cute idea, but all I had to tell my 5-year-old was that this Wii game was just for him. With a brother 18-months older, he doesn’t have much that’s just his and I think that may have won him over.
Admittedly, my son is an older preschooler and could be in kindergarten right now, but it seems like the game (along with his wonderful new preschool) is encouraging his interest in letters and words. And it’s rekindled his love for Elmo. He wants to read his old Elmo books and instead of curling up next to his plastic light saber at night he’s snuggling with his Elmo doll.
I hope that Sesame Street can fix some of the glitches with the game, i.e. the use of the controller, because I think it’s a great way for younger kids to play a more gentle and engaging Wii game.