When I was a child there was a sudden boom in basic electronic games, one of them was Merlin, does anyone else remember it. The game was very simple and you just had to press the coloured lights in the correct sequence. It was a brilliant idea, and made an enduring toy, and then what better way to sell it to little girls than to turn it pink, add a few pieces of plastic jewellery and re-name it Barbie Says.
Believe me it was a ploy that worked, as my eldest girl, Louise, who loves all things Barbie, spent her birthday money on this two years ago, as we refused to buy it for her. Now shall we find out who was right about her must have purchase :
~~~What is it?~~~
Barbie Says is an electronic toy that's sort of a mix between Merlin and Simon Says, and is shaped like a pink daisy with five petals. Four of the petals have large light up buttons, while the fifth is hollowed out and becomes a carrying handle. As well as lighting up each of the four buttons features an icon of cellphone (blue), sunglasses (yellow), bag (purple) and shoes (green). The centre of the daisy features a lid that lifts off to reveal several pieces of plastic jewellery. You'll need three AAA batteries for it to work, which is rather annoying as they only come in packs of two or four.
~~~How to play~~~
First you will need to switch it on with the switch at the back when you will be given the choice of three level, level one, two and a friendship game in a very American voice, that I suppose is meant to be Barbie. Once you've chosen the game you have a choice of upto four players, and then the game begins.
This level is very simple and suited to younger children. Barbie will give a list of colours that she wants you to press, and if you press them in the correct order you are rewarded with a prize from the centre, a bracelet, ring or hairband. The maximum number of presses your child needs to remember is 4.
Level two is slightly harder, sometimes Barbie won't say Barbie says, and instead of the colour she may ask you to press the picture of the shoes or one of the other icons. The are also more presses to remember, upto six. Again, getting the sequence correct is rewarded with a prize, while getting it wrong will result in a good try message.
In this game your children need to co-operate, as they will be allocated some of the colours, and when the sequence is called out, they need to press their own colour. There's no prizes this time, but Barbie will still tell them what a good job they're doing.
This is a good game for keeping the children quiet, shame about the actual machine. There is no volume control so it's stuck at very loud, and annoying. Boy is the background music and Barbie's voice annoying, after even a few minutes it's grating at me. So bear in mind that if you buy this for your children, you'll want some form of ear protection.
Although not excessively battery hungry, this does have a bit of a taste for them. Batteries last on average 12 hours, which means they need replacing weekly.
The actual game is very well constructed and durable, shame I can't say the same about the supplied jewellery which has been long since binned. Think of the rings you get in cheap crackers and you'll have a good idea of the quality. The main unit however is still going strong nearly two years later.
~~~What will my child learn?~~~
How to talk with annoying American accent!!!
Well not just this, your child will also learn colour matching from this game, along with sharing, turn taking and co-operation, all valuable skills. Of course, you my find their memories improving as they learn to remember the sequences.
The recommended age range for this toy is 4 years and over, due to the small pieces. However, my younger daughter was playing this with her sister way before she was four, so really I would say it's suitable for a younger age. In fact, a younger child would probably gain more from it.
~~~Price and Availability~~~
The Barbie Says seems to be in the process of being discontinued, but is still available at Argos for £4.99, which is about quarter the price Louise paid for it.
I like my Barbie Says because it's Barbie and I like Barbie and it's easy to play
~~~The Good Points~~~
* Can teach colour recognition
* Promotes sharing and co-operation
* Actual game is durable
~~~The Bad Points~~~
* That awful voice
* The background music
* Cheap plastic jewellery
* No Volume Control
I find the Barbie Says to be a bit too gimmicky, and at times very annoying. The music and voice just get on my nerves, although the actual concept is good. It is a toy that the girl's will sit and play together, when the mood takes them. But at the price Louise paid, I feel she was ripped off.
At £5 I feel it's probably at just about the right price, but I'm afraid I'm not actually recommending this toy as there are similar things available and the cons definitely outweigh the pros