Friday, October 13, 2006

Virtual Parenting Skills

Game simulations have not only become more and more popular with our students but also with adults. Remember NeoPets, The Sims, and Tamagotchi....the latest craze that may be coming to a computer lab near Eccky.

Eccky is a game in which players create and raise a virtual baby. Eccky combines DNA profiles of Eccky parents to create a unique Eccky each this now how children will think "babies are made?" Health and PE classes are going to have their job cut out for them explaining this one.

The programming behind Eccky uses automated chat technology and cell phone text-messaging to communicate between the "parents" and baby. For example, by the time an Eccky matures (within six days), it can talk on 4,000 different subjects and respond with 60,000 unique answers via IM or mobile text messaging.Parents can even get a babysitter for their Eccky baby.

Eccky grows and ages three years for every one day of gameplay. And in six days, Eccky develops from a cooing baby into an eighteen-year-old young adult with its own character. Every Eccky is unique at birth, and the way in which the user parents raise their Eccky further individualizes Eccky’s demeanor and characteristics. On the sixth day, or upon turning 18, Eccky leaves the house to venture off into the wide world, and the game ends. At that moment your Eccky’s happiness rating is displayed in an end score that is included in the rankings on the website.

NeoPets (now owned by MTV) has over 25 million pet owners online. This time next year will we have over 25 million Eccky babies running around virtually left abandoned by their virtual parents?

The game is only available in Dutch at the moment...but with Microsoft's MSN to the can be sure to see students everywhere online creating and raising their babies.