My Do It All – The Swiss Army Knife of DS Games

Geek Culture

I’ve always been intrigued by the various attempts to turn Nintendo’s handheld consoles into productivity devices. Ever since the days of the Gameboy Color camera and printer it’s seem like we’ve been on the edge of something really useful – while at the same time really cumbersome.

However, My Do It All on the DS is the first time for me that this has been more than a novelty. Don’t let the kiddie look and feel fool you. The playful visuals and interactions are actually a great demonstration of how to use the DS for something other than games.
My kids have long been intrigued by the black plastic devices that Daddy was always staring at and fiddling with. Now they have played My Do It All they can see for themselves something of the fascination. What’s more they leant a lot about being organised along the way. Here’s my parent’s guide for the game.

My Do It All is a different sort of DS game. In fact in some ways its not a game at all, more of a useful set of gadgets. It provides the PDA/iPhone type functions of a diary, notes and messages in a surprisingly functional and fun format.

What Sort of Game is This?

Self improvement games tap into the popular trend in self development and therapy. Experiences as diverse as Brain Training DS and Wii-Fit have popularized the idea that games can be about more than just having fun – they can improve your brain, body and even mental outlook on life.

What Does This Game Add to the Genre?

My Do It All is almost alone in its aim of helping DS owners improve their lives through better organization. Like Hello Kitty Daily, it provide diary, message and mini-games that provide a rang of fun ways for youngsters to interact with each other.

The game is aimed more at the younger age group than a serious professional. However, it does such a good job you have to wonder whether a fully fledged edition (rebranded appropriately) is in the works. Particularly so, when you consider the DSi and its move towards a more media centric form factor.

What do People Play this Game To Experience?

Kids will be attracted to the game because it lets them play at using their DS like Mum or Dad’s iPhone, or Windows mobile device. While organization and calendar planning is not a central part of my lesson plans, the skills required here certainly contribute to other subjects. The playful nature of the game shouldn’t overshadow the benefits that children will gain from having access to these tools.

In fact the messaging and calendar features alone wouldn’t be out of place in my year two or three communication modules.

How Much Free Time is Required to Play It?

Although the activities themselves don’t take up a lot of time, it’s the tinkering with layouts and swapping messages that are likely to drain the most hours. Parents may want to keep an eye on this usage for kids without a mobile phone.

What Factors Impact on Suitability for Novice/Expert Young/Old Players?

Young gamers who can confidently read and write will enjoy the variety of challenges and organizational tasks on offer here. The game is in fact a great driver of both communication skills and a general understanding of how devices like this work. Perhaps it offers an alternative to a fully functional mobile phone.

Older gamers will find the slightly simplified approach and more limited functions make this more of a novelty than an ongoing tool. It does show that the DS is more than capable of competing in this kind of education an business market though.

WIRED Productivity for kids.

TIRED Can’t sync to my Dad’s iPhone.

Price/maker: $14.99/Tomy

Rating: 8/10

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