on November 16, 2007
While some other "nongames" provide limited access to linguistics-based challenges, this is the first I've seen to really capture the joy of engaging with language. I am seriously impressed with this title, and I've been recommending it to parents and colleagues alike.
The good stuff:
- All six training games are engaging, and they never get old, since the words are always changing.
- Even the games that focus on spelling are simultaneously engaging you with definitions.
- The training games feel intuitive with the DS stylus, moreso than I imagine the Wii Remote might feel.
- The games are physically fun to play. Move, arrange, rotate, or draw objects. It's more than just writing.
- The game has intelligently tracked my vocabulary level; I constantly feel challenged, but not overwhelmed.
- The unlocks come frequently, but the pacing is deliberately gradual to retain words in active memory.
- A great experience for 10-30 minutes a day.
What to watch out for:
- As far as I can tell, there is no left-handed support for the one training game where you hold the DS vertically. This is actually a pretty unforgivable oversight. If you are left-handed, you may want to think twice about this purchase.
- Remember that you can turn off the music in the settings screen, and that you will probably want to.
Another review mentioned the lack of pronunciation guide as a problem. I agree that it's a missed opportunity, but it's not a dealbreaker. The lack of southpaw support might be, though, if you happen to be left-handed.
NOTE: comments below indicate varying levels of comfort/success with left-handedness. Your mileage may vary! Someone I know personally had great difficulty attempting one of the six modes left-handed. That's the only reason I mention it at all.
on July 18, 2008
Okay, I thought that MyWord Coach would be a good way to learn some new words... it wasn't, at least for me. (Although I do read a lot.) Here are my complaints-
1. The game seems to have been prepared for the British market; there are quite a few British words in here that aren't really used in American English. For example, I have had "flypast" instead of "flyby", etc. There are more, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.
2. The game does not have good, complete definitions for many of the words. For many of the words with multiple or more complex definitions, the definition expresses only a small part of what the word can mean.
3. There are far too many short/slangy/common words in here. For example: woozy, snazzy, watermill, porker, ninja, freeloader, etc. Now, it might seem a little odd that I'm complaining about this; however, I thought that since words take up little space as text files the game would probably contain many more difficult/advanced words. Also, my level on the game is pretty high, but these low-level words keep appearing.
4. The games get really boring.
5. There is no pronunciation key, nor audio of the words.
I guess I'm just a little disappointed; when I read about the advanced methods they used and the fact that they worked with the Cambridge dictionary, I just expected quite a bit more.
on November 11, 2007
My Word Coach DS (we liked the Wii version so much that we also bought the DS game - the DS stylus makes it easier to write, but my son likes the Wii's fun factor, and the Wii remote seems to keep him more involved in the learning process) - Do you have a kid who hasn't read enough to build a large vocabulary and strong spelling skills OR a kid who finds words fascinating? This game works for both, and provides lots of word practice with a series of different games -- my kid seemed almost surprised at the end of his first series that he had learned so much. There's lots of reading (definitions, etc.) which I think would make it tricky for kids much younger than ten. The game has progress graphs and high score history for encouragement and provides a word review after play. There are vocabulary games (e.g. Split Decision where you match the word on the screen to its correct definition) and spelling games (what could be more fun than grafitti-style spray painting to fill in the missing letter or correct a wrong letter?), with six training games in all and a couple of 'recreational' DS games. There are lots of options to keep a player's interst as the game gets harder -- for instance, both definitions may be wrong in Split Decision. My soon-to-be eleven year old plays until the professor tells him to stop for the day (after he's mastered a profile-determined word list). There's a slight learning curve, but he figured it out on his own without getting frustrated. He intuitively began picking up on clues such as how to guess a word from the definition. My son says it's "lots of fun -- almost, but not quite, like a regular game." I predict libraries and after-school programs will be holding lots of competitions with this game.
Ubisoft has created a new line of language games, starting with My Word Coach for Nintendo DS and Wii My Word Coach. The game design is very similar to Brain Age in structure, geared towards a daily quota of game play. These games help you improve vocabulary and communication skills. Despite a few hiccups, this is a very fun game that can be enjoyed by all, including lefties. :)
+ Games are well designed to take advantage of the touch screen
+ Great games that stay fresh with frequently updated words
+ A good system for improving handwriting! (This should be required training for all MDs)
+ "Results" charts and scores allow you to track your progress and compare
+ Games and difficulty levels are added to improve and remain challenged
+ Included definitions allow you to learn word definitions, which is especially great for kids
+ 4 Characters which can be chosen through your profile, to guide you through the game
+ Detailed instructions are also great for kids and allow them to go on auto-pilot
+ Customizable, including turning off the music, altering your profile, etc
+ Glossary of words for reference
+ Only takes 10-20 minutes a day to meet your word objectives; play more if you like!
- Somewhat long instructions, particularly the first time you play it
- Some of the hand-writing games require some adjustment to have your letters consistently recognized
- The falling "Block letters" game requires you to turn the DS sideways. You might block the words if you hold your stylus left-handed. Hold it at an angle and it's no sweat for me, but some people may be bothered by this
- The "daily training regiment" is based on the regular clock, meaning night owls will have their after-midnight game play count towards tomorrow. Not a big deal for most people, but could have been more thought out.
- I would have probably preferred some "play anytime" options that are not so geared towards word acquisition alone
- Some games, like the missing letter, present options that could be solved with more than one letter. Once again, not a big deal for most people and sure to be improved in the inevitable sequel to this game.
The game is designed so that users will play every day up to a minimum number of words. When you reach your daily quota, the game gives you an "Expression Potential" or EP, out of a possible 100%. It seems the game is designed to start you low, in the 20s or 30s, regardless of your vocabulary, in order to give you an incentive. After each day's play your EP is recalculated. You can plot your progress with included graphs.
In addition to answering the questions correctly, you also get extra points for finishing before the allotted time. The scores you get on "recreation" games don't count towards your daily quota. These games appear as you progress over time.
There are four main components:
1. Training games you use to calculate your EP
2. Recreation games you use to stay sharp
3. Progress functions you use to chart your progress
4. Customize options you can use to change profile settings or turn features on or off
There are six main games in the "training" group that count towards your score.
1. Missing Letters - fill in the missing letter and thus identify the word
2. Split Decision - select a word's definition from two choices
3. Pasta Letters - rearrange letters to spell a word based on a definition
4. Block Letters - spell words using falling blocks before they pile up too high
5. Word Shuffle - match words to their definitions
6. Safecracker - guess a word using a safe combination knob before the computer
Once you get past the first level on these games, other "recreation" games are added. For example, there is "Speed Letters," a game where you try to quickly write characters as they run across the screen.
There are also foreign language games for Spanish My Spanish Coach and French My French Coach, and more are bound to be on the way.
Overall, this is a great game that will keep you interested for a while. It's fun for adults and great for kids. With the DS being marketed as the gaming platform for learning, It's only a mystery that nobody thought of this sooner. I would characterize the positives as awesome and the cons as relatively minor. Get this game! Enjoy!
on November 25, 2007
To the person above that said that left-handers couldn't do this game is wrong. I am left handed and when I read the review that left handers may not enjoy this game at all, I thought oh no. I purchased this game anyway because I have Spelling Challenge DS and loved it and was excited to see that they made another word game!
Left handers out there, no worries. The game does not decrease your fun at all.
The vocabulary game is so much fun that I, an adult gamer, am certainly learning many new words! This game is fun if you love vocabulary and spelling! Great for teens and up!
Fill in the blanks,
Match the meanings to the word given
Word stack (find words as letters drop down before they hit the top)
Spell the mystery word faster than your computer opponent
As you play, you unlock more games!
Who would have thought spelling & vocabulary is fun!
on May 20, 2008
I think this game is enjoyable in the early stages, but as your expression potential goes up you run into problems.
In some case, very obscure meanings of words are used for definitions, ignoring more common uses. Foreign words like 'oeuvre', or 'the rank below captain' being 'subaltern' are more common that I appreciate. In the worst cases, the definitions are not to be found in any Websters dictionary. 'Forelock' according to this game has nothing to do with hair, but is "To show respect to someone in a higher position than you in a way that seems old fashioned." I like to learn new words, and was really frustrated when I looked this one up to find out it was wrong. Now I wonder how many other 'new' words or meanings I've learned are also incorrect?
At first it was mildly annoying to have your score reduced by these deficiencies, but more and more it is becoming a fatal flaw.
If you're looking at this game for kids to have some fun while learning some new words, it might work well. But it you have a good vocabulary and are looking to challenge yourself and see just how good, you run the risk of being frustrated as I am by the poor quality of the words and definitions at anything above the early levels. I have only been using the game for a couple of weeks... it hasn't taken long for these deficiencies to drain a lot of the fun out of it.
on December 25, 2007
I like this game as it has the literary building skills not present in so much product these days.The word challenging could be upped to keep older players engaged,but none the less there are challenges here.
If you want to extend your vocabulary, My Word Coach is a decent mentoring tool. It raises a variety of challenges, but it controls much better on DS than Wii.
An Interface doesn't get much simpler, but the graphic look is clean and ledgible.
Not only engaging and challenging, but you will really learn new vocabulary while increasing expression.
No doubt,This product could be stylistically refined, however it is such fun to be able to engage in enjoyable activities- including word recognition, spelling challenges, and vocabulary definition. The game includes 16,800 words from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary! Not bad!!
When you play My Word Coach, it assesses, monitors, and rewards your verbal-Expression Potential, It scores your ability to actually understand, command and express the English language effectively. The higher your number out of a possible 100%, the better you are able to express, command words- and ultimately master language! I found playing with my daughter very engaging.She is 14,and told me it was her favorite game this year!!.
While the Wii(tm) version takes advantage of the Wii Remote(tm) through lively mini-games and user friendly controls, the Nintendo DS(tm) version makes full use of the system's dual Touch Screen.It provides me and my family engagaging skill building activity. My daughter is left handed and she had no problems with the controls.(others mentioned this as a possible factor)
All in all I like it very much!! Better yet, so does my daughter.If you like scrabble this is a game for you.
on January 18, 2008
I don't know if I've ever seen any game come down in price this much this quickly. Maybe it's because no one wants to keep it for very long!
At first, I thought this game was great. After playing it almost every day for about 5 weeks, I have a very different view.
Most of the games are actually fun at first. You'll probably learn some words and their spelling. Easy to pick up.
Now for the much longer list of cons-
This game does a terrible job of gauging your current level. It asks you far too few words, almost all of which are highly advanced, and placed both my friend and I FAR lower than it should have. There's nothing you can do about that. I'm 24 years old, and after 5 weeks of updating my expression potential to 34%, I'm still seeing words like kettle, jaguar, squirt, traumatic, solitary, airfield, canine, rephrase, acoustic, receptive, sparrow, nutrition, slang, stumbling, optimism, and so forth. I would say 80% of the words I've seen on here are elementary school level, while the other 20% are middle-school level. I have not "learned" a single word that I would consider calling high-school level.
You'll learn very little for the time you spend playing. Of the few words that were new to me, hardly any of them were repeated more than a few times, often in the same day. You are bombarded with far too many words over time, when it should just be reinforcing groups of words before moving on to more. Also, the only time you actually learn anything is when you read through the definitions after each game. There's nothing at all to be learned by playing the games. It teaches you like a dictionary does. But the worst part is that there is no context or pronunciation! After playing for long enough, you will eventually unlock a game that doesn't count toward your EP, but does have recordings of the words being spoken as well as context examples. However, you can only access these one random word at a time. You are given very little time to read the examples. This means that pronunciation and context are on the game, but you can't look them up or access them at all while supposedly updating your potential to express yourself with words you don't necessarily understand.
The definitions are often VERY weak. The part of speech (verb, noun...) is not given at all. If a definition is too long then it simply cuts off rather than allowing you to scroll down to read the whole thing. Many words appear in their own definition, which is never acceptable. Words with multiple definitions will only have one of them provided. Some definitions couldn't possibly be more wrong: inflammable is defined as, "Things that burn very easily." First of all, inflammable is an adjective and the definition is given for a plural noun. Also, while it is technically true, it has been a VERY long time since vernacular changed to avoid confusion, and even my dictionary suggests that you not use the word like this.
The simple little games become mundane very quickly. You would have to play this game for several months to really get that much out of it, but it will get very boring long before that. Most of what your coach says to you is hardly better than mindless dribble. The graphics are quite simple and the music is extremely limited and dull. One day it randomly told me that the word of the week is minstrel. Apparently the word of the week means a word you won't be learning, because it never gave me the definition or even put it in any of the games. It's not that uncommon for it to tell me that my EP has been updated when in fact it is exactly the same.
Ultimately, the developers were too lazy to provide the necessary elements for learning a new word, make it accurately gauge your personal level, come up with enough games to keep it interesting for a long time; they didn't even make sure they got the definitions right! They started with a great idea, and released a product that falls unforgivably short of its potential.
When I turned 49 this year, I realized this was my year for self improvement. I read more, exercised more, cut back eating a lot of red meat and started to do puzzle books to increase my memory.
My Cousin Jeremy spent a few weeks with me. He had a Gameboy DS. I started playing Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day! and I was hooked. I broke down and bought a DS unit (see Jeremy, Its all your fault!). Jeremy gave me Brain Age 2 as a gift. But I wanted more.
I was never a fast finger sort. I was more a trivia based/fact filled information junkie person. So I bought Crosswords DS (see my review)..and I wanted more.
A friend suggested this program and I bought it. I have been writing for many years. I still found this program interesting. It is for young and old alike.
Now the problem I have it letter reconizing on a timed game situation, which is hit or miss. The same problem I have with Crosswords DS gameboy game. The system see an I for an L or an N for a H. Once you get passed that problem, the software is a nice tool for education for young and old alike to have a GREAT VOCABULARY! I think since this is done is a game like arena, we should hand this out in schools and tell the teens, "Sure play your copy of "My Word Coach" or "Brain Age 2"..I know a few teachers, but maybe with this kids may learn
I would have enjoyed a lot less timed games and a harder level for adults. But on the whole, it is a great software for those learning words and others who want to keep their brain active
Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
on May 31, 2009
I have been playing Word Coach everyday for over a month and I find three very annoying error. Did anyone else have these bugs.
1. The EP does not go any higher than 59%. It moved steadily up and has stayed at 59% for the last three weeks.
2. The word "Abbot" comes up every day almost every game I play for the last three weeks. I know what it means please retire the word.
3. In Word Shuffle the target time is 3 minute but they end the rounds before that time is up. I have tried by holding back during the first round to see if it is 1 and 1/2 minute for each round and I ended up with 2.39 second.
These are the three main bugs I have found. It takes away from the fun of the game.
After playing this game for over a month I am getting bored of the game.