I had the opportunity to try out a couple games from MEGA Brands Kids Zone and came away with mixed opinions. The set up is easy, which is always nice, the games are interactive and kids can play online with other friends in a safe virtual environment which, as a parent, gives me peace of mind. The games, at least from my perspective, are a little combative, but then it seems like a good percentage of video games are these days. I'm not one of those mothers who prohibits her kids from playing with anything resembling a gun (and I have nothing against those who do), but does EVERYTHING have to result in battle? Even cute little Mario can't drive a car in a race without punching, knocking, or otherwise doing harm to his opponents.
One feature I think makes the site attractive to parents is the safe online environment. While mine are still a little young for online chatting (2 and 5), it won't be long and as a parent we can not be safe enough when it comes to the virtual world. I also think the quest games provide a thinking and reading environment that 8-12 year olds can really benefit from. If it is something they are "into" they are more likely to continue to pursue reading the different clues and using problem solving skills to figure out what to do next.
My favorite feature (because it's not really a game) is the drawing game (I don't know why they call it a game, unless I'm missing something). When my son was little (er) and wasn't really into coloring due to not being able to stay in the lines (he's a little perfectionist) I would create a paint document with abstract pictures so he could just click and make different sections different colors. He loved to do this and it gave me time to make dinner. the Mega Kid Zone version is more like the fuzzy posters you can buy and it gives you color and supply options. It does NOT auto fill like paint though, and I found it hard to stay in the lines on this one. My 2 year old, however, loved to click on the different colors and scribble on the pages (not a perfectionist like her brother, she doesn't care if she's outside the lines). They also have blank pages so she can create her very own masterpiece, and I don't have to keep checking to make sure she isn't coloring HERSELF!
If you're looking for a new interactive community that doesn't involve furry stuffed animals, this might be right for your family. Check it out!