I was given an activation key to try out the new ItzaBitza game for kids. ItzaBitza is an educational game that encourages young kids to read and be creative. The game asks children to draw things, like a house or a tree, then the drawings become part of the animation and story.
The main objective of the game is to help the “Sketchies” by drawing things for them. Even though the game is probably better suited for younger readers, I had the Little Princess (age eight) test drive the game. She loved it and enjoyed figuring out how to help the Sketchies. Throughout the game, the Little Princess was giggling and saying “cool.” From what I could see, one of the coolest part of ItzaBitza is the ability to draw various objects into the game. Other games let you add objects too, but they usually load predefined graphics from a library.
The other feature of ItzaBitza that I liked a lot is the reading help. If your kids has trouble reading a word, all they have to do is move the mouse over the word and it is sounded out for them. Nice!
Now’s your chance to try out the game. The first reader to correctly answer the following question wins an activation key for ItzaBitza. Mac users need not enter. The game only works in Windows XP and Vista. Here’s the question:
What was ItzaBitza originally called? (hint)
Here’s an overview of ItzaBitza from their web site:
ItzaBitza is a simulation game in which your child’s creativity powers the construction of the game world. This might sound daunting, but the game handles it easily. The main characters are called Sketchies and they have interesting wants and needs. Your child provides for them by drawing new objects into the game world. The creativity comes in when your child discovers this freedom to explore interactions and push boundaries. A whimsical dance of cause and effect plays out.
Learning to read is really hard yet one of the most important skills our children need to learn. ItzaBitza combines the “How People Learn” framework with an innovative drawing recognition technology we call “Living Ink.” This combination motivates kids to read by enabling them to contribute their own drawings to a story. The child’s drawings come alive as part of the game. Help is always near – when the child hovers the mouse pointer over a word, a child’s voice reads it out loud. In this way, ItzaBitza provides a new way for struggling readers to feel the power of reading with consistent reward.
You can see a YouTube demo of ItzaBitza here: