09/17/02
Video Game Day
    by Laurie Taylor

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is ready to burgle our homes, but for this little trickster it will likely be with our blessing. Sly is just one of the many new video game characters who will be joining familiar characters like Mario, Sonic, Pikachu in this fall's video games. Sly is, as the title of this game implies, a raccoon and a thief.

As you play Sly Cooper, you learn that Thievius Raccoonus is actually the name of a book that has been passed down from generation to generation in Sly's family. It contains all the secrets of noble raccoon thievery. That is, of course, until the book is stolen on Sly's eighth birthday by cruel villians who divide the volume amongst themselves. The game begins ten years later, when Sly is ready to use his full repertoire of deception, stealth, and dexterity to win back the family treasure and his stolen birthright.

While this may sound a little like many of the video games already available, Sly Cooper provides something extra: intelligent and interactive gameplay. Sly (and through him the player) has to find multiple solutions to puzzles, including outsmarting the bad guys instead of just fighting them, as is so often the case in video games. Playing Sly Cooper also means having to think like Sly and figure out just how a Thievius Raccoonus might try to reach his or her goals, and that is a challenge for young gamesters.

Another game that is innovative, violence-free and loads of fun, like Sly Cooper, is a new installment in the series of games about that famous little red-hatted plumber, Super Mario Sunshine. Here, we join Mario as he attempts to have a peaceful vacation. Apparently, though, the island he is visiting is being polluted by someone who looks uncannily like him. It is up to Mario has to solve the mystery while at the same time preserving the island 's beauty. But, fortunately, Mario works with a number of his friends, like Yoshi the dinosaur, to keep the island safe and the gameplayer happy for hours.

So there are some things to cheer about in video games for kids this fall -- who would have guessed they prizes would go to a plumber and a racoon.

Copyright 2002 Laurie Taylor

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Monday, 16-Dec-2002 00:21:55 EST


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