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Brain Quest DVD: Grades 1 - 3

Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Brighter Minds
Developer: Brighter Minds
Media: DVD/1
Players: Whole Family
Genre: Family/ Edutainment

Graphics & Sound:

There has always been a stigma of sorts against DVD games (as in games you play in your DVD player, not games that are on a DVD). But Brain Quest DVD: Grades 1 - 3 isn't trying to be the next greatest triple A title. Instead, the game's simple and colorful presentation shows that it is geared towards its younger audience.

Most of the questions are presented on top of swirling bright colors and a lot of the multiple choice answers that are presented consist of slightly cartoony versions of their real life counterparts (landmarks, people, etc.).

Each question and its answers are read to the player in a very clear voice and the game's various mini-games typically have characters with an over-the-top voice explaining the situation before you.


Brain Quest DVD: Grades 1 - 3's activities come in two styles, straight out questions and answers and simple mini-games to break up the routine and keep the kids interested.

The Q&A are similar to the product's flash cards, except this version provides a much more visual style. Instead of always having the question written on the screen with the four answers below, many times, the answer text will be replaced with some sort of visual cue to help the child learn exactly what they are talking about. For instance, one question concerning the Egyptian Sphinx showed a drawing of a pyramid, the Sphinx and another monument. Another question that asked "Which does not belong" showed a picture of a whale, dolphin and a shark. By showing the pictures instead of just the words, the children are able to not only pull up memories of other references they might have to these objects, but also solidify the facts they are learning just a little bit more.

Vocabulary questions are some of the more interesting ones this game will ask. Sometimes they will show a part of a word with several letters below it and ask "Which letter do you add to make ...". The interesting part of this is that all of the available letters finish various words, so the kid must realize exactly which word is being asked for. For instance, one question displayed the partial word "OUR" with F, S, R, H, and T as the letters to select. The question was, "What letter do you add to make a word that means the same as 60 minutes".

There were two aspects of how this game handled your answers that impressed me. One thing is that, no matter which answer you choose, it will tell you the correct one. This means no negative feedback; where some games might say "Aww, too bad, the real answer was ...", this one just keeps going and just explains the answer. The other part that made this game stand out in my mind is that it would always give you just a little bit more information after explaining the answer. A question about the number of wheels on a tricycle might follow up with "Tri means 3 like in triangle". And there was also the occasional question that had a follow up for the parents (because the developers obviously knew who was sitting next to the little ones playing the game).

The mini-games sprinkled about the Q&A sessions are a nice distraction and though they don't directly test your child's ability to answer questions, they do tend to test other things. One mini-game builds up your kids hand-eye-coordination by having him/her guide a shuttle across a planet, while another one has them tracing paths on a treasure map.


Brain Quest DVD: Grades 1 - 3's questions seem to be at just the right level for the grade and age range this version is geared towards. Questions concerning spelling and vocabulary are very straightforward. The mini-games that show up to give your little player a break are simple to understand, but often take a second shot to really get the feel for them.

Since the Brain Quest flash cards have been out for a while now, they have had a lot of time to refine their questions to the age group they are trying to target. That same experience has been directed towards this DVD venture.

Game Mechanics:

Brain Quest DVD: Grades 1 - 3 uses your DVD remote's up, down, left and right buttons to highlight various selections on the screen. Then with the enter button, you tell the game your choice. This simple scheme allows for a surprisingly wide variety in choices. One of the mini games has you piloting a space shuttle across a lunar surface and with the directional buttons you move up, down or shoot in front or behind you.

The Brain Quest flash cards have been around for a long time, and the Brain Quest DVD game is just the natural progression that just gives you more bang for your buck.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Any computer or game system with a DVD ROM drive or a DVD Player

Test System:

Standard DVD Player, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2

Sony PlayStation 3 Genji: Days of the Blade Nintendo DS Gunpey

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated