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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.
Self improvement games tap into the popular trend in self development and therapy. Experiences as diverse as Brain Training DS and Wii-Fit have popularised the idea that games can be about more than just having fun - they can improve your brain, body and even mental outlook on life.
My Do It All is almost alone in its aim of helping DS owners improve their lives through better organisation. Like Hello Kitty Daily, it provide diary, message and minigames 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.
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 organisation 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.
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.
Young gamers who can confidently read and write will enjoy the variety of challenges and organisational 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.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: