My son has a bit of an obsession with the Wii, but his games of choice usually involve leaping around the room, brandishing his Wii controller with some lethal looking attachment on the end of it. And shouting. Always lots of shouting.
And when this shouting and Wii remote waving gets too much, I often wish he could do something just a bit more quiet and laid-back... like drawing, for instance. So you could say my prayers were answered when I was asked to trial the uDraw games tablet for the Wii...
The uDraw has already taken America by storm since its launch last November (where 1 million tablets were sold in 6 weeks). It's basically a graphics tablet, but specifically for the Wii and powered by a Wii remote. You simply slip your remote control into the tablet and use your existing remote buttons to action the onscreen menus and options. The drawing itself is done with an interactive, pressure sensitive stylus.
The stylus takes a little getting used to ('only for a grown-up,' says William, 7, who mastered it immediately) but the effects it can produce are pretty impressive - and fun for every age group.
For younger children there are over one hundred colouring book pages, with tons of themes to colour on screen (and the fun doesn't just start and end on screen, but more on that later).
William liked the sci-fi page and spent ages colouring the screen with lots of different paint and brush effects. For the more 'serious' artist you can create your own masterpieces on a blank screen using any of the tools - and there are loads - watercolours, stencils, sponges, crayons - everything you'd find in a 'real' art set.
You can also use the uDraw to play games; we got Pictionary and Dood's Big Adventure (both sold separately to the graphics tablet). Both are great for family nights in, or small groups of kids on a sleepover or rainy afternoon.
It's fair to say we loved the uDraw - there's not many Wii games or accessories that interest me in the least, but for Pictionary alone I loved this product!
Oh, and your finished works of art? You can save them to an SD card and then print them out or email them. Pretty cool (says William).
The uDraw will be available from March, RRP of £59.99
For more info see www.worldofudraw.com/