Babysitting Mama, just released for Nintendo Wii, is a toy like nothing you've ever seen before. The Wii game comes with a life-sized, soft bodied baby doll, as well as a game disc for your Wii. There's a cavity in the doll's back, and you stick the Wii controller in there, fastened with velcro into the nappy.
The motion control system means that players can complete around 50 mini-games by moving the doll and wiggling the attached nunchuk (though there are frequent on-screen reminders that shaking a baby is just plain wrong). With the controller in place, the doll giggles or cries depending on how well you're taking care of it.
This is the Marmite of games - you will either love it or hate it. I didn't like the way it presents taking care of the baby as "Mama's work" - where is Dada in all of this? And breastfeeding supporters will undoubtedly raise their eyebrows at the fact that a bottle is presented as the only way to feed your baby.
And yet I can see how this toy would have its uses if you are preparing an older child for the arrival of a new baby in the house. Child psychologist Dr. Amanda Gummer has commented that the game could be helpful for young girls in coping with the introduction of a younger sibling and becoming a big sister. It's just a shame that the styling is oh so pink - this could be a good tool for little boys to develop their caring side too.
Parents I showed this to either thought it was something their daughter would love, or too creepy to give houseroom to. My children weren't keen on the mini-games, though they loved the doll with her soft features and cute curl in the middle of her forehead. But at nearly £50, it's a lot of money to pay if it just ends up as yet another cuddly toy.
Babysitting Mama is out now and widely available, RRP £49.99, suitable for age 3 and over. Many retailers currently have £10 off this toy, best price right now is £39.91 at Asda.
Here's a trailer so you can see for yourself - would your child love this?
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