Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Travels of Wiglington & Wenks: Virtual World



As a self-professed "Gamer Mom", I was psyched to have the chance to check out the virtual world of Wiglington & Wenks.  Our family is familiar with virtual worlds, the younger ones being fans of WebKinz, Runescape, and Pirates of the Carribean Online.  I was curious how Wiglington & Wenks would measure up.

We were given a one month free membership for review. As it is designed for ages 7-14, and my five youngest are ages 8-14, I decided we'd roll for it.  We couldn't locate the die, so we picked a number between 1 and 10 and my 8 year old won.  Thankfully, all was not lost for the others as we discovered that W&W also has a FREE account option.  I signed up the four youngest (My 14 year old decided to pass).

Wiglington & Wenks sends you on quests to discover more about historical figures (with a few just-for-fun ones thrown in as well).  You take a quiz, head to Filorat for your passport, and then you are off.  Full of games, costumes, movies, and adventure, my kids LOVED this site.  Their only complaint is that there aren't enough new quests!  This could have something to do with the fact that all their online time has been spent on W&W.  Their other virtual worlds have been left behind as they explore this site.  I think that says a lot!

There is a chat feature available, which I like, as much of the gameplay involves cooperating together to complete the quests.  My biggest concern is the absence of a chat filter.  My husband and I, and my older boys, play World of Warcraft.  This is a game aimed at teenagers and adults and it includes a chat filter.  I always have my filter turned on, so if someone types certain words it comes across as &%$*.  A virtual world aimed at children should include this as a standard feature.  I have heard that they are working on their safety settings, I hope this may be one of them. 

As with any online world, parents need to teach their children what information is okay to share and what needs to be kept quiet.  Some parents may not be comfortable with their children playing online with others, and there is always the concern that the world is a scary place and no matter how safe someone may try to make a virtual world, it does easily allow for misrepresentation and predators.  If you have taught your children basic safety procedures, and keep an eye on them while playing (all of our computers are in public areas of the house), W&W is as safe as any other online community.

My children's free play has included learning more about history lately.  I'm really liking that.  If you enjoy online games, I would recommend Wiglington & Wenks.  But let's get it straight from the kids, here's what they have to say;

"It's awesome! I think that it rocks and it's really cool.  I like when you find quests and stuff.  My favorite part is helping people. St. Patrick was my favorite too." ~Nicole (age 9)

"The best thing about it is helping people and doing quests.  The Indian girl was cool, we don't know the name though.  I like playing pool too. I like it!" ~Ryan (age 8) 

"On Wiglington & Wenks, I like to hang out with people.  I don't have a favorite quest because they are all guys and they need to make a GIRL!" ~Breanne (age 11)

Basic access is free.  Membership (special areas, pets, etc.) is available for $5.99 a month, $16.99 for 3 months, $29.99 for 6 months, or $59.99 for a year.  As with most virtual worlds, you can also purchase credits and virtual cash to be exchanged for in game items. 

*Disclosure: I received a one month membership at no cost, for review purposes.  To see what others thought about this site, check out the TOS Crew hub.*

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