KID GAMES

We looked at Net Jet, a new $25 game device from toy maker Hasbro and Tiger Electronics. It’s a hand-held game controller that plugs into any USB slot on a Windows computer. Games come on small flash drives that plug into the controller, much like memory cards plugging into a digital camera.

The games are simple, aimed at players between 6 and 12. Additional memory cards have two games each and list for $15. All this stuff will be discounted, of course, so the actual prices may be considerable lower.

You have to be online for the games to work, so this raises the question of why not connect to free game sites like those at MSN.com (just click the “game” tab), Yahoo.com, AOL.com, CandyStand.com and many others. The argument for using the Net Jet instead of playing free games online is that using the controller means the child does not handle the computer’s keyboard and mouse, with the presumed risk of messing up some computer files. We found that this wasn’t true, and the child does have to use both keyboard and mouse for some games. Further notes: The package was extremely difficult to open and while some of the games were straight-forward, we had difficulty with others. More info at Hasbro.com/tiger/netjet.

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