Games: Bookworm Adventures 2

I wasn’t initially interested in getting Bookworm Adventures 2. Bookworm Adventures was lots of fun, but after I finished the game once I didn’t start over and play it again, as Al did. Once in a while I still play the mini-games, but by now my high scores are so high that only by a great stroke of luck can I get a new score into the top ten.

Besides, Al had done the free trial of Bookworm Adventures 2, and the characters were from nursery rhymes, instead of from mythology as in the previous game. For me, part of the appeal of Bookworm Adventure had been that, like the movie The Pagemaster, it might get my son interested in reading stories he might not otherwise have considered. Now, there’s nothing wrong with nursery rhymes, and some knowledge of them is probably part of a well-rounded education, but they don’t exactly make absorbing reading.

However, I do love word games, and if Al is going to spend time playing computer games he could do much worse than exercise his vocabulary and spelling skills. So this week I agreed, and we got Bookworm Adventures 2. It’s full of quirky humor, as the previous game was, even if the humor doesn’t seem quite as original as in the other game. (I don’t know if that’s because they had trouble coming up with new ideas, or just that having seen their style in the first game it just can’t seem as fresh the second time around.)

After the nursery rhymes, there are children’s stories, like the three little pigs, Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel. But there’s something odd about fighting first the pigs themselves, then the wolf. And do you really want to play a hero who tries to kill Hansel and Gretel? Admittedly, they do manage to make Gretel look like a bit of a delinquent for “excessive littering” (all those bread crumbs), but still… And what sense does it make to fight a gingerbread house? Even Lex, the bookworm “hero” of the game, thinks that’s pretty strange.

I find myself paying little attention to the characters and the specifics of their attacks. I just want to make words, the longer the better (so far my longest has been ten letters, from a total of sixteen letter tiles to work with at any time). There’s one “treasure” that lets you get extra attack points for using adjectives, so naturally most of my words have been adjectives (even if the game occasionally doesn’t recognize some past participles as adjectives that I think are, and it did consider “jack” an adjective, which surprised me).

Later in the game, it departs from children’s literature entirely and introduces elements from Chinese mythology, then science fiction. And I have actually found myself impressed by some of the humor, such as in an odd set of battles where the enemies were words themselves – Chinese words, that is. (It was oddest when I was fighting the word “harmony” – how do you fight against harmony, and why is it fighting back?) But the most interesting definition was that of war: a patriotic event to use up excess resources and inspire movies.

One definite positive outcome – after playing the part of the game that dealt with Alice in Wonderland, Al noticed the book on the shelf and is currently reading it.

One negative outcome – I’m staying up way too late playing this game. And I just read a review of it that gave some reasons I might actually choose to play it over again.

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