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Game review: My Baby 2: My Baby Grew Up - Wii
Ok, I understand that in reviewing video games you have to take the rough with the smooth. That for every Mario Galaxy and Metroid there are 100 Carnival Games and other similar calamities.
But it was with pretty low expectations, and probably too little enthusiasm, that I first loaded My Baby 2: My Baby Grew Up on to my Wii.
As a man approaching his 30s, this game has little to interest me, but then this game has not been made for me.
So I suspend my disbelief and set about raising a toddler, with a promise on the back of the box that my heart will melt when it first says “I love you”.
I have a boy, of course, and set about making him a footballer or a golfer, as you have to start them young these days.
And that’s the appeal of this game, it’s a dry (literally) run of raising a child from the age of one to three.
As one child on the game’s website says: “It shows you that if you don’t do something right with the baby it will cry and then you have to do the right thing.”
You must play with your baby, clean your baby, teach him or her to walk, climb stairs and much more. You can enjoy Christmas with your baby, plus other holiday treats, and you can take pictures of all the special moments to send to grandma.
For one aimed at younger and, presumably, mostly female audiences, publisher SouthPeak and developer Nobilis have added a decent amount of depth to the game.
Just like real life, your aim is to raise a happy, well-adjusted, presentable and fun-filled baby.
The babies are suitably cute, and the sometimes off-putting parts of parenthood are somewhat sanitised, so the game should hold great appeal for the next generation of gamers.
There were no explosions during the time I played, and no aliens invaded - all positives in this game, apparently.
In fact, the most hardcore this game gets is the odd tumble which, most parents will tell you, come part and parcel with the Terrible Twos and toddling.
There is much to like about this game, which takes much from its predecessor and expands on it, as older children have much more capacity to actually do things.
And while there is more depth, the accessibility of the title is tough to fault. Everything is easy to figure out, although getting it right first time can be a challenge, again echoing parenthood in real life.
The Wii controller fits perfectly into this game, with the controller working well as a toy, wet wipe and more.
One of the charming elements of the game is the fact you can take pictures of your child during all those memorable moments, such as first steps, first Christmas and birthday parties. And no picture will look the same, as your baby has a wardrobe full of clothes to choose from.
I would like to appear macho and deride this game, but I really can’t. It’s utterly inoffensive stuff and, with a captive audience, will provide plenty of amusement and a taste of parenthood that is difficult to match.
And a quick look on the game’s website, mybabyvillage.com, shows that enthusiasm of parents and youngsters is strong.
There is a forum for mothers to share big news, ask questions on anything from potty training to sneezing and generally share in the game’s fun.
The website is currently creating an activity centre for children to play in, so you can bet the franchise is going to run and run, now that it’s finally learned to walk.
29 year old man: 0 dummies out of 10
Young girls: 8 dummies out of 10