Today I took the kids to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Columbus Circle, to a sneak peak of a new online gaming world centered around the places and characters from Kung Fu Panda, hosted by Isabel from Alpha Mom. After grabbing a cupcake Jake headed straight for the game, and played it for almost the entire time we were there, which is a good sign for the makers of the game. I had a great time chatting with my friends Kim from Mom in the City and Anna from Mommy Poppins while our kids played the game.
When you start up this browser-based game, you’re asked some questions that help determine which character you should play. You can change things around, or go with what the game assigns you. Then you start exploring, playing games within the game, meeting other players, buying and trading goods, and earning achievements. There’s a filter on the chat function that prevents kids from exchanging personal info, like addresses and phone numbers, and the game is monitored by actual people (college students, mostly) who know kid slang and online abbreviations. Bullying behavior is flagged (such as a bunch of kids sending one player a frowny-face at once) and if unfair trading seems to be going on, with a kid being taken advantage of, this behavior is pointed out and the player is asked to confirm if he really wants the trade to go through. I have no idea how successful these things are, but I’m impressed with the attempt. There’s also a simple dashboard for the parents that, among other things, can control when kids are allowed to log on to the game.
One of my favorite aspects of this game is the free play option. Most online games will give you a free week or even a month to play before you have to pay to become a full-fledged member. On Kung Fu Panda world, you can play for free the same as a paid member, up until a certain level – about two or three months worth of play – before reaching the point where you can’t earn any more achievements. Then you can continue to play for free (you just won’t advance any more in the game), or you can convert to the paid version of the game without losing any of your friends or achievements. The paid version is $5.95 a month. The free version “costs” one 20-second commercial for each day of play.
Fiona was more interested in the food and coloring pictures from the Kung Fu Panda movie, and wandered over to the game and started playing about five minutes before we had to leave. Unfortunately she’ll have to wait another couple of weeks for the game to be officially open and running online, but you can go to the Kung Fu Panda World site and sign up for email alerts letting you know when the game will be ready.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and the NYC Moms Blog.