"Can I play ItzaBitza? Please?" My 4-year-old son asks me this question nearly
daily. And I can't say that I blame him. ItzaBitza is a bright and fun
computer game that is different from other computer games that we've played.
It is designed for ages 4 and up, and it runs on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, or Mac. It
is available for purchase as a download or CD-ROM at www.itzabitza.com.
This game has five different "playsets": "Home Sweet Home," "Camping," "Space Adventure," "Country Farm," and "Haunted House." Within each playset, the child is instructed to draw various items, and the items are integrated in the game's environment. For example, when the "Camping" playset is opened, it is raining. Once you choose a Sketchy (an animated cartoon who will interact with your drawing), you are given the option of drawing a sun, tent, or boots. If you choose the sun, the sun you draw will appear in the background, and it will stop raining. If you draw a tent and forget the door, the game will ask where the door is. Once the door is drawn, you can see the interior of the tent. You can draw a lake and add a fish; then the "Sketchy" will catch the fish that is drawn. If you draw a star to make it nighttime, a handful of your drawn stars will shoot across the sky as your Sketchy sleeps. These are just a few of the options in one playset; the possibilities are nearly endless for what your child can create. Pictures can be snapped of completed scenes to look at another time.
In addition to drawing, the child also collects stars. These stars appear after an item is drawn, and the child then needs to complete a task in order to earn the star. For example, after drawing the sun in the "Camping" playset, the child needs to click on the sun to make flowers grow. The game keeps track of the total number of stars earned, but I'm unsure of their purpose, other than encouragement for the child.
Non-readers can easily use this game because all of the words are read aloud when you move the mouse over the words. The only downside to this game is that the Sketchies burp after they eat. We adore ItzaBitza at our house. I mentioned earlier that my 4-year-old enjoys it, but so do my older sons (ages 6, 7, 9, and 10). At a cost of $19.99, it is worth every penny.