Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Pajama Sam: You Are What You Eat from Your Head to Your Feet

Pajama Sam: You Are What You Eat from Your Head to Your Feet

Fall 2002 Video Games
Ages: 3 & Up
Price: $19.99
Gaming System: Play Station

If your complaint about platform video-gaming is that there just aren't enough wholesome titles for younger kids, here's a child-friendly, non-violent game for PlayStation systems that engrains the themes of good nutrition and cooperation into a fun Pajama Sam adventure on Mop Top Island.

This PS version plays pretty much like the PC version that came out months ago, so if you child has this third Pajama Sam title on the home computer, buying this would be redundant. But this game in either format is good fun. In this one, Sam finds out the hard way that eating too many cookies isn't a good thing. And when he pulls on his Pajama Man cape, he's belly deep in another caper that needs solving.

It seems the Food Pyramid is as out of kilter as Sam's stomach. To make things right, kids need to help the junior superhero using logic, memory and problem-solving skills to rescue four missing food types and get them to the big food convention on time. Along the way, they run into plenty of humorous characters--like a talking wedge of cheddar cheese and a kidney bean with attitude. Plus there are riddles to solve, clues to decipher and obstacles to overcome--from unclogging a giant French fry logjam to skiing down powdered sugar slopes avoiding rocks and signs to unscrambling the punch lines of food jokes. Some of these challenges aren't so simple that 5 and 6 year olds will whiz through them easily. In fact, kids must be pretty good readers to handle this game without parental help; the age recommendation is probably skewed too young by a year or two.

Like in all Pajama Sam adventures, the graphics and animations are clever cartoonish and get more elaborate and interesting in the dozens of colorful and exotic food-related locations. The great sound and music adds tot he adventure. And the bonus in this one is that nutritional tidbits abound--including lessons on the consequences of too many fats and sweets.

One downside of the PS version is that load times seem longer than the swift interludes on the PC. But any kid with an appetite for a challenge will enjoy this fun plate of brainfood.

Don Oldenburg   ©2002 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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