V.Smile

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VTech V.Smile
V.Smile Logo.svg
Vtech Vsmile French version.JPG
A first generation V.Smile system (Model 6122)
ManufacturerVTech
Product familyV.Smile
TypeVideo game console
GenerationSixth generation era
Release date
  • WW: August 4, 2004[1]
MediaROM cartridge
CPUSunPlus SPG2xx[2]
StorageFlash memory on ROM cartridge
Controller inputUp to 2 V.Smile controllers, optional keyboard/mouse, graphics tablet, and dance pad available
PredecessorVTech Socrates
SuccessorV.Flash

The V.Smile is an educational game system by VTech. It is designed for children ages 3 to 6, but offers software designed for several age groups between 3-9. Titles are available on ROM cartridges called "Smartridges", to play off the system's educational nature. The graphics are primarily sprite-based. The console is often sold bundled with a particular game. With most of them having a game called "Alphabet Park Adventure." Several variants of the V.Smile console are sold including handheld versions, or models with added functionality such as touch tablet integrated controllers or microphones. The V-Motion is a major variant with its own software lineup that includes motion sensitive controllers and has Smartriges designed to take advantage of motion-related "active learning". The V-Motion and Smartridges however are fully backwards compatible with other V.Smile variants and V.Smile Smartridges, and a V-Motion Smartridge can also be played on V.Smile console or handheld, albeit with limited functionality. However, in 2010, V.Smile NEW and OLD were discontinued. VTech still made games for V.Smile Pocket and V.Motion.

Several versions of V.Smile and V-Motion consoles and handhelds have continued to be sold after newer models are introduced, allowing consumers a wide variety of consoles to choose from (often offered in pink color schemes for girls, as well) without worrying about a lack of backwards compatibility between games or consoles. Some key differentiators between systems and the ability to fully utilize all game functions include the options of a microphone, touch tablet, additional joystick port (for 2-player gameplay), stylus-enhanced controller, or motion sensitive game pad (With V-Motion).

The console[edit]

The second revision of the console with a larger storage bay, from the Dora the Explorer bundle.

A V.Smile generally has an on and an off button on the console itself and two joystick ports, and a compartment for keeping the cartridges in addition to the cartridge slot. Originally only available in Orange/Purple and bundled with a Winnie the Pooh game, a pink/purple colored console was shipped later, targeting girls and bundled with a Cinderella game. Much later, a Red/Blue and Red/Silver model was introduced and bundled with a Scooby-Doo game.

The buttons on the game system and controllers are large to accommodate small children's less developed manual dexterity. The default controller consists of an analog stick, four colored buttons, a large enter button, a button (dubbed the "Learning Zone" button) that immediately takes the player to a minigame section of the software, an Exit button (that either brings up an option to end the game or to keep playing, or to exit out of any menu that the player is in) and a Help button (which repeats the spoken instructions or hint provided by the game to the player). A small latch on the bottom of the controller allows the analog stick to be moved to the other side of the buttons, in order to accommodate left-handed players. This makes it the first console to come bundled in an ambidextrous controller.

A second generation V.Smile console was launched in 2007. The console (Model 752) is now bundled with a microphone, and a redesigned controller was shipped, which now comes with a graphics tablet built in. However, the design of the console is still the same as the first generation console apart from the presence of a microphone holder. The internals of the system also appear to be based upon the design of the first generation console, as software meant for the first generation console is playable on the second generation console, and vice versa, although software that takes advantage of the microphone feature will disable the sections of the software that requires the use of the microphone if played on the first generation console.

In 2008 a translucent-faced V.Smile TV Learning System Limited Edition console was released including two joysticks, and the Alphabet Park Adventure game cartridge. The console colors were reversed (translucent orange face with purple body) from the normal console colors (solid purple face with orange body).

The Special Edition of the V.Smile TV Learning System included two controllers, a game cartridge and a console with reversed body colors.

The last revision of the console (Model 1086) was the smallest of the main line, becoming shorter and square in shape, it retains 2 controller ports, but it adds V-Link functionality, and the cartridge storage on the back removed the cover and became smaller with space for only 4 games. The console also drops stereo sound, having a video and mono audio jack.

V.Smile Pocket and V.Smile Cyber Pocket[edit]

The V.Smile Pocket is a handheld version of the V.Smile console. It features a built-in Passive matrix-based color LCD display and a monaural speaker, but is otherwise similar to the desktop console counterpart. However, there is no connector for an additional joystick, and thus many games that support two player mode will disallow access selection of the said mode. Also, the device is not compatible with games that uses any of the other accessories due to the lack of an additional joystick port. It was originally introduced in Orange/Purple, but a Pink/Purple model was introduced later in line with the color schemes available for the desktop console. However, at the moment there is no Red/Silver or Red/Blue V.Smile Pocket.

A second-generation V.Smile Pocket was introduced in 2007, in which a microphone is added to the device. Apart from the new feature, added support for games that use the microphone, and a repositioning of the speaker from the lower right to the upper left, it retained the general looks of the first generation V.Smile Pocket. Still, if compared side-by-side, a slight difference in the bulkiness of the lower half of the unit can be seen, with the New V.Smile Pocket being a bit slimmer and narrower towards the bottom. The game system may seem oversized when compared such devices as the Nintendo Game Boy Advance or Nintendo DS, but a consideration must be made for the fact that the V.Smile Pocket uses full size Smartriges from the console, and is generally offered at lower prices in most markets.

A third generation V.Smile Pocket was introduced in 2008. Called the V.Smile Cyber Pocket, the console was redesigned with a smaller flip-open screen (still Passive matrix-based) and an integrated graphics tablet, while retaining the microphone introduced in the second generation V.Smile Pocket. Also, a proprietary port was added to the console, which a flash drive like device with a matching proprietary connector on one end and a USB connector on another, could plug into the Cyber Pocket. This device is used to transfer the data of games that support such function to a PC, which would in turn upload the data to a website. The data could then be used to chart the player's progress as well as be used to unlock bonus games on the said website.

During 2008's Black Friday sales, limited supplies of New V.Smile Pocket units were sold at U.S. Walmart stores for the reduced price of $25 USD. This was roughly half of the cost of a single Xbox 360 Game Disc at that time, and nearly one-tenth the cost of a PlayStation Portable game system bundle.

PC Pal[edit]

The PC Pal is a variant of the basic V.Smile console with an integrated accessory, a more colorful and functional version of the Smart Keyboard accessory with built in joystick and tablet controls. Unlike a regular V.Smile system, the V.Smile PC Pal has a port for the V-Link accessory. It comes bundled with a Smartrige of games for the keyboard that teach typing and other basic keyboard skills. The main unit looks like a standard V.Smile system with the name "PC Pal" printed on it. It plays all of the Smartridges, but since the joystick controls are built into the keyboard the setup is more easily used on a desktop surface with a small TV serving as a monitor, similar to a personal computer. For someone who already owns a V.Smile, the Smart Keyboard accessory and a touch tablet enhanced joystick will provide a similar experience. Since the keyboard can be disconnected and a standard joystick or other V.Smile accessory used, the PC Pal can easily convert into duty as a normal V.Smile system when needed.

V-Motion[edit]

A newer variant of the V.Smile is the V-Motion Active Learning System (Model 788), introduced as a sort of low-cost, educational alternative from VTech to the popular Wii with its built-in controller accelerometers that detect movement. The V-Motion system is not as advanced, but includes a Wireless, motion activated joystick that is righty/lefty adaptable. The controller can be tilted in a direction to achieve a result on the screen, rather than using the traditional joystick directional control. Dodging things or moving left and right with the controller can inspire the player to physically engage in games. It won the National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval for 2008, and the Creative Child 2008 Seal of Excellence.

Accessories[edit]

  • The V Smile TV Learning System Plus Joystick includes a built in writing pad and stylus. The joystick with writing pad works on both the original V.Smile and the New V.Smile TV Learning System, and can be used to take advantage of newer Smartriges that use the writing pad functionality in games.
  • The V Smile Smart Keyboard is a PC-like keyboard that can be connected to a V.Smile System console. It includes several activities and lessons that teach typing, letters, spelling, and logic.
  • The V Smile Smartbook includes the "Smartbook" - an interface with a stylus that holds activity books and works together with Smartridges (an idea pioneered by Sega with their Sega Pico and Japan-only Advanced Pico Beena educational gaming systems). The activity book plays along with the smartridge and the Smartbook knows which page is being used while the touch sensitive stylus directs the play. The Smartbook may come bundled with a Scooby-Doo Activity Book + Smartridge. Additional Activity Book and Smartridge combos such as "Dora's Got A Puppy" or "Toy Story 2" are also available to use with the SmartBook device.
  • The V Smile Art Studio is a large touch pad and stylus device that allows for "paintings" to appear on screen. Interactive stamps, color palette, picture drawing, color mixing, animation maker, coloring-in pictures are some of the features of the Art Studio. It comes with an Art Studio specific Smartridge.
  • The V.Smile V-Link is an accessory that works only with the Cyber Pocket, PC Pal, V-Motion systems, and a few of the newer V.Smiles. It allows the user to track their progress by keeping the accessory plugged into the Game Console where it automatically tracks a child's progress and scores. By plugging the V.Link into a PC’s USB port and it is designed to auto connect to a secure website where the child can see how they rank against all V.Smile players also using V-Link. As children play more of their Smartridges and master more skills, they are rewarded with on-line bonus games that are "unlocked" by their progress.
  • The V Smile Jammin' Gym Class is similar to dance pads made popular by Dance Dance Revolution. It is called a "soft exercise mat for interactive play, dance and exercise" by VTech. It includes 10 different active learning activities and connects directly to either the V.Smile TV Learning System or the V.Smile V-Motion with the Jammin' Gym Class cartridge. Helps teach letters, numbers, colors, spelling, and health concepts.

Note: Aside from the V-Link, these accessories are intended for the TV-connected consoles, not handheld versions of the V.Smile.

Competition and comparisons[edit]

The V.Smile Pocket's direct competition is the handheld Leapster by LeapFrog. The Leapster TV Learning System is the less high-profile but available counterpart to the multiple V.Smile and V-Motion consoles that are direct connect to the TV. The Leapster L-Max is comparable to the V.Smile Cyber Pocket and is stylus-enhanced. VTech has the advantage in number and diversity of available accessories such as SmartBooks and Art Studio, where as LeapFrog's Leapster accessories are generally focused on portability options such as batteries and cases. The V.Smile family in general is more focused on TV connectability, while the Leapster family is more focused on the handheld, portable systems, but both VTech and LeapFrog have moved to compete with one another on both fronts. Leapster systems and games tend to be slightly more expensive than V.Smile games. The Leapster does have an age range for some games that reaches up to age 11, which is territory more for the V-Flash than the V.Smile. Noteworthy is that both LeapFrog and VTech continue to sell previous generation handhelds at a reduced price compared to the Leapster 2 and the New Improved V.Smile Pocket.

The V.Smile PC Pal variant console and Smart Keyboard accessory faces direct competition with LeapFrog's ClickStart educational computer offering, and indirect competition with various toy educational laptops and low cost desktop PCs with children software and child-friendly accessories installed. While the V.Smile SmartBook console may face competition from the Sega Pico due to the similarity of the concepts, the Sega Pico has not been available outside Japan for a long time.

Rough comparisons in technological capability with the V.Smile consoles in terms of graphics and sound can be made to Nintendo's SNES console or Game Boy Advance systems, thus generally the console is technologically comparable to most fourth or fifth generation consoles despite being released in the seventh generation era of gaming consoles. The V.Smile systems in general are offered for a fraction of the price of those consoles when they were new, and the V.Smile systems were designed specifically for children with a focus on education.

Durability and quality of plastics and other components of the V.Smile systems is in-line with expectations given the low cost of the devices. Replacement game system hardware can often be bought for less than the cost of a single game on dedicated current generation console game systems from Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo on the market.

Games[edit]

The majority of educational game Smartridges offered for the V.Smile involve licensed characters popular with children in the target age group of 3 to 7 such as Scooby-Doo, Bob the Builder, The Little Mermaid, Go Diego Go!, and The Wiggles. CGI-animated characters from movies also found their way to the V.Smile, including Kung-Fu Panda, Ratatouille, Finding Nemo and Cars. Vtech also offers less commercial or traditional characters in games such as Soccer, Little Red Riding Hood, and Whiz Kid Wheels.

Smartridges are labeled for the intended age of players. Two major categories are Junior Thinkers (Ages 4–6) and Master Minds (Ages 6–8). There are also Beginner's games with age ranges of 3-5, and Advanced games for ages 6–9, such as SpongeBob SquarePants: A Day in The Life of a Sponge. The educational content and difficulty of gameplay is age appropriate. For example, in Dora's Fix-it Adventure (Ages 4–6), Dora will not fall from the edge of a platform if the child makes a mistake when moving her. Instead she will get up on her tip-toes and appear unbalanced. For children in the older age range, Cinderella and Batman games offer more challenging educational and action-based gameplay.

Some titles may include the text "New and Improved Version" on the covers. These are updated versions of existing game titles that now include microphone and/or touch tablet enhanced gameplay, such as Sing Along through use of the microphone feature that was added to second generation V.Smile consoles and the New V.Smile Pocket.

List of V.Smile games[edit]

A normal light purple "smartridge", with a sprigged pin protector, and educational contents table on the backside.

Several games were released in different countries, and as a result of the console being aimed at younger children who might not know English, they were translated into their respective languages. The games also have a suggested age range on the box, that sometimes changes depending on which country it was released in. The Console and its games were sometimes distributed by different companies, such as Concentra in Portugal, and Giochi Preziosi in Italy.

Some V.Smile games were re-released with V.Motion functionality, while some were exclusive to the system, and others were never upgraded.

The cartridges are light purple in color, but there are others; ones that work with accessories are bright yellow, V.Smile SmartBook games are red, and transparent dark purple cartridges, which came with several bundles of the special edition console in different games. The V.Motion cartridges are a rounded top with a hole in the shape od a "V" and are orange in color.

There is a known unreleased title, Adventures in Oz, which was listed on Amazon by VTech in 2004 before the console was released, but it is unknown if it was ever developed or if/when/why it was cancelled[3].

There were 69 titles known to have been released;

   Background shading indicates games with special edition clear purple cartridge variant.
# US/UK Title Overseas title(s) Age range V.Motion Version/ Needed Accessory Release date Developer
1 The Adventures of Little Red Riding Hood France Les aventures du Petit Chaperon Rouge
Germany Entdecke die Welt von Rotkäppchen
United States4-6 No VTech
2 Action Mania Portugal Action Mania
Spain Action Manía
France Sporti'Folies
Netherlands Sport Games
Germany Sportskanone
United States3-7
Spain3-5
France4-7
Netherlands3-5
Germany3-6
Exclusive VTech
3 Aladdin's Wonders of the World Spain El Maravilloso Mundo de Aladdin
France Les fabuleuses aventures d'Aladdin
Netherlands De wonderwereld van Aladdin
Germany Aladdins Welt der Wunder
Italy Il magico mondo di Aladdin
United States5-7 & 6-8
Spain5-8
France5-7
Netherlands5-7
Germany5-8
Italy5-7
No Disney Interactive Studios
4 Alphabet Park Adventure Portugal Aventura Do parque do Alfabeto
Spain Aventuras en el Parque Alfabeto
France ABC Land Aventure
Netherlands Alfabet Pretpark
Germany Abenteuer im ABC Park
Italy Avventura nel Parco Alfabeto
United States3-5
Portugal3-5
Spain4-7
France4-7
Netherlands3-6
Germany4-7
Italy4-7
No VTech
5 The Backyardigans: Viking Voyage France Les Mélodilous: Les explorateurs vikings United States3-5
France3-6
No
6 Barney: The Land of Make Believe Germany Barney: Erlebnis-Reise United States3-5 No HIT Entertainment PLC
7 Batman: Gotham City Rescue Spain Batman: Rescate en Gotham City
France Batman: Panique a Gotham City
Netherlands Batman: De Redding van Gotham City
Germany Batman: Rettung von Gotham City
United States6-8
Spain6-9
France6-8
Netherlands6-9
Germany6-10
No
8 Sesame Street: Bert & Ernie's Imagination Adventure Spain Barrio Sésamo: El Mundo Fantástico de Epi y Blas
France 5, rue Sésame: Les Aventures Imaginaires d'Ernest et Bart
Germany Sesamstrasse: Ernies & Berts Fantastiches Abenteuer
United States4-6
Spain4-7
France4-6
Germany4-7
No Sesame Workshop
9 Blue's Clues: Collection Day United States3-5 No
10 Bob the Builder: Bob's Busy Day Portugal Bob o Construtor: Um Dia Atarefado
Spain Bob y sus Amigos: Un Día de Trabajo
France Bob le Bricoleur: Les P'tits Chantiers de Bob
Germany Bob der Baumeister: Bobs Spannender Arbeitstag
Denmark Byggemand Bob: Bobs Travle Dag
Sweden Byggare Bob: Bobs Stressige Dag
United States3-5
Spain3-5
France3-5
Germany3-6
Denmark3-5
Sweden3-5
No HIT Entertainment PLC
11 Care Bears: A Lesson in Caring Spain Osos Amorosos: Una Lección de Amor
France Les Bisounours: Le monde merveilleux des Bisounours
United States3-5
France3-5
No
12 Cars: Rev it Up in Radiator Springs Portugal Carros: Aventura em Radiator Springs
Spain Cars: Acelera el Motor en Radiator Springs
France Cars: Quatre Roues
Netherlands Cars: Spektakel in Radiator Springs
Germany Cars: Vollgas in Radiator Springs
Italy Cars: Motori Ruggenti
United States4-6
Portugal4-6
Spain4-7
France4-7
Netherlands4-6
Germany5-8
Italy4-6
Yes Buena Vista Games
13 Cars 2 United States4-6
France4-7
Germany5-8
Exclusive
14 Cinderella's Magic Wishes Portugal Cinderela: Os Sonhos Mágicos de Cinderela
Spain La Cenicienta: Los sueños mágicos de Cenicienta
France Cendrillon: Le rêve enchanté de Cendrillon
Netherlands Assepoester: De wonderwereld van Assepoester
Germany Cinderella: Lernen im Märchenland
Denmark Cinderella: Askepots magiske ønsker
Finland Cinderella: Tuhkimon Taikatoiveet
United States5-7 & 6-8
Portugal5-7
Spain5-8
France4-7 & 5-7
Netherlands5-7
Germany5-8
Yes Disney Interactive Studios
15 Cranium Partyland Park: A carnival of play-and-learn fun France Cranium: Le Parc d'attractions
Germany Cranium Freizeit Park: Ein Jahrmarkt Voller Spiel-Und Lernspaß
United States4-6
France4-6
Germany4-6
No Hasbro
16 Dora the Explorer: Dora's Got a Puppy United States3-5 Smartbook
17 Dora the Explorer: Dora's Fix-it Adventure Portugal Dora a exploradora: Em busca das Peças Perdidas
Spain Dora la exploradora: La Aventura arregla-todo de Dora
France Dora l'exploratrice: Les aventures de Dora Apprentie Mécano
Netherlands Dora: Dora's Reparatie Avontuur!
Germany Dora: Dora's Reparatur-Abenteuer
United States3-5
France3-6
Netherlands4-6
Yes
18 Elmo's World: Elmo's Big Discoveries Spain El Mundo De Elmo: Grandes Descubrimientos De Elmo
France Le Monde d'Elmo: Les Grandes Découvertes D'Elmo
United States3-5
Spain3-5
France3-5
No Sesame Workshop
19 Finding Nemo: Nemo's Ocean Discoveries Portugal Á Procura De Nemo: Nemo À Descoberta Do Oceano
Spain Buscando a Nemo: Los Decubrimientos de Nemo
France Le Monde De Nemo: Nemo à la découverte de l'océan
Netherlands Finding Nemo: De wonderwereld van Nemo
Germany Findet Nemo: Nemos Unterwasserabenteuer
United States4-6
Portugal4-6
France4-7
Germany4-7
Yes
20 Go, Diego, Go!: Save the Animal Families France Go Diego!: À la rescousse des animaux!
Netherlands Go Diego, Go!: Red de Dierenfamilies!
United States3-5 No
21 Handy Manny Portugal Manny Mãozinhas
Spain Manny Manitas
France Manny Et Ses Outils
Germany Meister Manny's Werkzeugkiste
United States3-5
Portugal3-5
Spain4-7
France4-6
Germany3-6
Yes Disney Interactive
22 United States Jammin' Gym Class
United Kingdom Dance 'N Learn
Spain Gimnasio Interactivo
France Défi Gym (Tapis Multisport)
Netherlands Muziek En Leer Mat
Germany Lern-Und Tanzmatte
United States4+
United Kingdom4+
Spain4-8
France4-8
Netherlands4-8
Germany4-7
Dance Pad VTech
23 Kung Fu Panda: Path of the Panda France Kung Fu Panda: La mission de Po
Germany Kung Fu Panda: Der Weg des Panda
United States4-6
France4-6
Yes DreamWorks
24 Learnin' Wheels Germany Freds Zahlen Rallye No VTech
25 Lil' Bratz: Friends, Fashion and Fun Spain Lil' Bratz: Amigos, Moda y Diversión
France Lil' Bratz Au top de la mode: Complices, Cools et Class'
United States4-6 No
26 Little Einsteins France Les petits Einstein
Germany Kleine Einsteins
United States3-5
France3-5
Germany3-6
Yes
27 The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Majestic Journey Portugal A Pequena Sereia: A Viagem Fantástica de Ariel
Spain La Sirenita: El Viaje Fantástico de Ariel
France Le Petit Sirene: Ariel devient une princesse
Netherlands De Kleine Zeemeermin: De wonderwereld van Ariel
Germany Arielle, die Meerjungfrau: Arielles aufregendes Abenteuer
Denmark Den Lille Havfrue: Ariels majeræriske rejse!
Finland Pieni Merenneito: Arielin Majesteettinen Matka
United States4-6
Portugal4-6
Spain4-6
No
28 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Portugal A Casa Do Mickey Mouse
Spain La Casa De Mickey Mouse
France La Mansion De Mickey
Netherlands Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Germany Micky Maus Wunderhaus
United States4-6
France4-6
Yes
29 Mickey Mouse: Mickey's Magical Adventure Portugal Mickey Mouse: A Aventura Mágica de Mickey
Spain Mickey Mouse: La Aventura Mágica de Mickey
France Mickey: Mickey à la recherche de Pluto
Germany Micky: Mickys magisches Abenteuer
United States5-7
Portugal5-7
France5-7
Germany5-8
No
30 Monsters vs. Aliens Spain Monstruos contra Alienigenas
France Monstres contre Aliens
Germany Monsters Vs. Aliens
United States3-5
Spain4-6
France4-6
Germany4-7
Yes
31 My Pet Puppy Spain Dakota y su mascota
France Mon Toutou tout fou!
Netherlands Mijn Puppy!
Germany Mein Erster Hund
Sweden Min Hundvalp
Finland Koiranpentuni
United States3-5
Spain3-5
France3-6
Netherlands3-5
Germany3-6
Sweden3-5
Yes
32 My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Tigger's Bedtime for Bouncer Exclusive
33 Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: Happy Chinese New Year! France Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: Joyeux nouvel an chinois! United States3-5
France3-5
Exclusive
34 NASCAR Academy: Race Car Superstar United States4-6 Exclusive
35 Noddy: Detective for a Day Portugal Noddy: Detective por Um Dia
France Oui-Oui: Détective d'un jour
Germany Noddy: Detektiv für einen Tag
United States3-5
Portugal3-5
France3-4
Yes
36 PC Pal Island PC Pal VTech
37 The Princess and the Frog: Tiana's Big Dream Spain Tiana Y El Sapo:
France La Princesse Et Le Grenouille: Le grand rêve de Tiana
Germany Küss den Frosch: Tianas Großer Traum
United States4-6
France4-7
Yes
38 Ratatouille: Remy's New Recipes Spain Ratatouille: Las recetas de Remy
France Ratatouille: Les nouvelles recettes de Rémy
Germany Ratatouille: Remys neue Rezepte
United States4-6
Spain4-6
No
39 Scooby-Doo!: A Night Of Fright Is No Delight United States3-6 Smartbook
40 Scooby-Doo!: Funland Frenzy Spain Scooby-Doo!: Misterio en el Parque
France Scooby-Doo!: Panique à Funland
Netherlands Scooby-Doo!: Griezelen in Het Pretpark
Germany Scooby-Doo!: Im Lernpark
Italy Scooby-Doo!: Avventura a Funland
Denmark Scooby-Doo!: Sjov i Forlystelsesparken
Sweden Scooby-Doo!: Tivoli-Tokerier
United States4-6 & 5-7
Spain5-7
France5-7
Netherlands5-7
Germany5-8
Italy4-6 & 5-7
Denmark5-7
Sweden5-7
Yes Warner Bros Interactive
41 Shrek: Dragon's Tale Spain Shrek: El Cuento De La Dragona
France Shrek: Le rhume de Dragonne
Netherlands Shrek: Het Verhaal Van Draakje
Germany Shrek: Die Geschichte Des Drachen
United States6-8
France6-9
Netherlands6-9
No
42 Shrek Forever After Spain Shrek: Felices Para Siempre
France Shrek 4 : Il était une fin
United States4-6
Spain4-7
France4-7
Exclusive
43 Shrek the Third: Arthur's School Day Adventure Spain Shrek Tercero: En Busca De Arturo
France Shrek Le Troisiéme: L'Aventure D'Arthur
Netherlands Shrek De Derde: Arthurs Schooldag Avontuur
Germany Shrek der Dritte: Ein Spannender Schultag
United States4-6
Spain5-8
France4-6
No
44 United States Smart Keyboard
United Kingdom Smart Keys
Spain Teclado Interactivo
France Tip Tap
Germany Tastatur
United States5+
United Kingdom4+
Spain4+
Germany6+
Smart Keyboard VTech
45 Snow Park Challenge Germany Wintersport United States4-6
Germany4-7
Exclusive
46 United States Soccer Challenge
United Kingdom Football Challenge
Portugal Football Challenge
France Football Challenge
Netherlands Voetbal
Germany Fußball Schule
United States4-6
United Kingdom4-6
Portugal4-6
France4-7
Netherlands5-8
Yes
47 Spider-Man & Friends: Doc Ock's Challenge Spain Spider-Man y Amigos: La Aventura Del Doctor Octopus
France Spider-Man & ses amis: Le Défi du Docteur Ock
No
48 Spider-Man & Friends: Secret Missions Portugal Spider-Man & amigos: Missões Secretas
Spain Spider-Man y Amigos: Misiones Secretas
France Spider-Man & ses amis: Missions Secrètes
United States4-6
Portugal4-7
France5-7 & 5-8
Yes
49 Spider-Man & Friends: Where is HULK? United States3-5 Smartbook
50 SpongeBob SquarePants: A Day in the Life of a Sponge Spain Bob Esponja: Un día en la vida de una esponja
France Bob L'Éponge: Une jourée dans la vie d'une éponge
Germany Spongebob Schwammkopf: Der Tag des Schwamms
United States6-8
Germany6-9
Yes
51 Super Why: The Beach Day Mystery United States3-5 Exclusive
52 Superman: The Greatest Hero Spain Superman: El Hombre De Acero
France Superman: A La Rescousse!
Netherlands Superman: De Grootste Held
Germany Superman: Der Superheld
United States6-8
Spain6-9
France6-9
No
53 The Lion King: Simba's Big Adventure Portugal O Rei Leão: A Grande Aventura de Simba
Spain Rey León: La Gran Aventura de Simba
France Roi Lion: Simba découvre la jungle
Netherlands De Leeuwenkoning: De wonderwereld van Simba
Germany Der König der Löwen: Simba große Abenteuer
Italy Il re leone: La Grange Avventura di Simba
Denmark Løvernes Konge: Simbas store eventyr
Sweden Lejonkungen: Simbas stora äventyr
Norway Løvenes Konge: Simbas store eventyr
Finland Leijona Kuningas: Simban Suuri Seikkailu
United States3-5
Portugal3-5
Spain3-5
France3-5
Netherlands3-5
Germany3-6
Denmark3-5
No Disney Interactive Studios
54 Thomas & Friends: Engines Working Together France Thomas Et Ses Amis: Les Locomotives S'Entraident
Germany Thomas & Seine Freunde: Freunde Halten Zusammen
United States3-5
France3-5
Yes HIT Entertainment PLC
55 Tinker Bell Portugal Sininho
Spain Campanilla
France La Fée Clochette
Denmark Klokkeblomst
United States4-6
France5-8
Denmark4-6
Yes
56 Toy Story 2 United States4-6 Smartbook
57 Toy Story 2: Operation Rescue Woody Portugal Toy Story 2: O resgate de Woddy
Spain Toy Story 2: El Rescate De Woody
France Toy Story 2: Buzz À La Rescousse!
Germany Toy Story 2: Woddys Spannende Rettung
Italy Toy Story 2: Operazione: Salvataggio Di Woody!
United States4-6
Portugal4-6
Spain4-6
France4-6
Germany4-7
Italy4-6
No Disney Interactive
58 Toy Story 3 Portugal Toy Story 3
Spain Toy Story 3
Italy Toy Story 3'
United States3-5
Portugal3-5
Spain3-6
Italy3-5
Yes
59 Up France Lá-Haut
Germany Oben
United States4-6
France4-6
Germany4-7
Yes
60 V.Smile Art Studio Spain V.Smile Estudio De Arte
Germany V.Smile Zeichenatelier
Denmark V.Smile Tegnestudie
Drawing Tablet VTech
61 WALL-E Germany WALL-E United States3-5 Yes
62 Whiz Kid Wheels Portugal Condução Divertida
Spain Conducción Divertita
France Mission pilote
Germany Flitzers Schlaue Städtetor
United States6-8
Portugal5-8
Spain5-8
No VTech
63 The Wiggles: It's Wiggle Time! United States3-5 No HIT Entertainment PLC
64 Wild Waves FranceMartin le Dauphin United States4-6
France4-7
Exclusive
65 Winnie the Pooh: The Honey Hunt Portugal Winnie the Pooh: Em Busca do Mel
Spain Winnie the Pooh: En Busca de la Miel
France Winnie l'Ourson: La Chasse au miel de Winnie
Netherlands Winnie de Poeh: De wonderwereld van Poeh
Denmark Peter Plys: Honningjagten
Norway Ole Brumm: Honningjakten
Finland Winnie The Pooh: Hunajajahti
United States3-5
Portugal3-5
Yes
66 Wonder Pets!: Save The Animals! United States3-5 Exclusive
67 Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!: Attack of the 50 Foot Fleegle United States3-5 No
68 Zayzoo: An Earth Adventure No
69 Zayzoo: My Alien Classmate Spain Zayzoo: Mi Amigo Del Espacio
Netherlands Zayzoo: Mijn Buitenaards Vriendje
Germany Zayzoo: Lernall
Netherlands5-8 No

V.Smile Baby Infant Development System[edit]

V.Smile Baby Infant Development System
VTech-V.Smile-Baby-Console.jpg
A Spanish V.Smile Baby system (Model 690)
ManufacturerVTech
Product familyV.Smile
TypeVideo game console
GenerationSixth generation era
Release date2006[4]
MediaROM cartridge

An unrelated and separate spin-off system called the V.Smile Baby Infant Development System, was released shortly after the original V.Smile was introduced to the market. The games and cartridges of a V.Smile Baby are not compatible with a V.Smile and vice versa. This is an important distinction since so many of the other consoles named "V.Smile" are inter-compatible. The control system for the Infant Development System is significantly different from those used in the V.Smile that is targeted at older children: it does not have the features of a typical game controller, instead the design is more like that of a playboard. The controls consist of a mode slider, two switches (one for power and the other toggles the board between standalone play mode and console control mode), 7 buttons (5 shape buttons, a "fun" button, a small Exit button), and a roller ball hooked up to a sensor. The controller itself has a speaker which comes into play during standalone mode (in which it functions as a playboard that play music, speech and sound when interacted with). The controller communicates with the console by means of infrared signaling, and runs off six AA batteries.

The console itself is rather unusual in design, having only an on-off switch and permanently attached cables carrying composite video signal and mono audio through two RCA connectors. It runs off four AA batteries or a 6V DC power supply (sold separately), although European systems are missing the DC-in port, only being able to use batteries. The console has a cartridge slot as well as indents to hold four additional cartridges for storage. Also, powering off the controller will also power off the console if the console is switched on at the time. Designed for kids ages 9–36 months.

It was released in several countries with different names;

Country Name
Spain V.Smile Baby Sistema De Aprendizaje Infantil Por TV
France V.Smile Baby
Sweden V.Smile Baby Utvecklingssystem För Spädbarn

List of V.Smile Baby games[edit]

The Baby cartridge is more rounded, with normal exposed pins, but it still retains the educational contents table on the backside.

This is an (possibly) incomplete list of games for the system.

Most games were released in both NTSC and PAL, with PAL region titles sometimes having a different English name to it's US counterparts. Most games were also translated for other European market languages.

The game Bailey Goes to Town came included with the Bailey Teddy bear that functioned as a controller.

There were only 3 titles known to have been released;

# US/UK Title Overseas title(s) Developer
1 A Day On The Farm Spain Un Día en la Granja
France Un jour à la ferme
Germany Mein erster Bauernhof
VTech
2 Baby Einstein. World Of Discoveries Spain Baby Einstein. ¡Baby Descubrimientos!
France Baby Einstein. Un monde de découvertes
Disney Interactive Studios
3 Bailey Goes to Town VTech
4 Barney Let's Go To A Party!
5 United States Care Bears
United Kingdom Care Bears Care-A-Lot Park
6 Discovery With Baby Mickey & Friends France Les découvertes de Mickey et ses amis Disney Interactive Studios
7 Learn & Discover Home Spain La Casa de los Animalitos
France La Maison des Animaux
Netherlands Dierenhuis
Germany Meine Kleinen Tierfreunde
Sweden Lär och upptäck
VTech
8 United States Mother Goose
United Kingdom Play And Learn Nursery Rhymes
9 Noah's Ark Animal Adventure France L'Arche De Noé L'aventure des animaux
Netherlands De Ark van Noach: Dieren Avonturen
VTech
10 Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood Adventure Spain Aventuras en el Bosque de los Cien Acres
France Winnie Et Ses Amis Dans La Foret Des Rêves Bleus
Netherlands Poeh's Honderd Bunderbos Avontuur
Sweden Nalle Puhs Äventyr i Sjumilaskogen
Disney Interactive Studios
11 The Backyardigans Big Backyard Adventure Nickelodeon
12 United States Time For Teletubbies
United Kingdom Make Friends with the Teletubbies
France C'est l'heure des Teletubbies Ragdoll Productions / BBC Worldwide

Region protection and inter-compatibility[edit]

The pins in both V.Smile and V.Smile Baby cartridges are the same, although both systems aren't compatible with each other.

Even though the V.Smile range of games are compatible with most of its consoles, the V.Smile Baby games aren't. The cartridges are shorter, but are also thicker and wider than normal V.Smile ones, meaning they can't fit on other systems. However, both cartridges have the same connector and pins, meaning V.Smile Smartridges, which are slimmer and narrower, can be physically inserted into the V.Smile Baby and connected, although it's harder to do so, and the game won't work with the console.

The V.Smile range of consoles are apparently not region-locked. While the console itself come in NTSC and PAL versions and the BIOS on the consoles appear to be region specific (distinguishable from the speech sample played in the screen after the VTech logo when the console is started with no cartridge inserted)[citation needed], games purchased from an NTSC region can play on PAL systems and vice versa. Observations suggest that both the V.Smile and V.Smile Infant Development System used different methods of booting: The V.Smile and V.Smile Pocket variants will apparently boot into their own BIOS, then obligingly run the software on the cartridge. The V.Smile Baby appears to boot from the default BIOS when a cartridge of the same region is inserted or when there's no cartridge in the system, but appears to boot from a different BIOS when a cartridge of a different region is inserted.[5] Currently it is unknown if the extra BIOS resides on the cartridge or on the console itself.[6]

Criticisms[edit]

Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) show that Vtech's V.Smile Baby product, marketed for ages nine months to three years, does not meet the claims that it helps with early childhood development or education in any way, stating that children ages 0 to 2 years do not understand what is going on on a TV screen.[7]

On October 17, 2011 AAP's Council on Communications and media released a report titled Media Use by Children Younger than 2 Years concluded that "the educational merit of media for children younger than two years remains unproven despite the fact that three-quarters of the top selling infant videos make explicit or implicit educational claims," and further found that media viewing by children under 2 years of age can have a negative effect on language development.[8]

Video game and technology critics are also quick to discount Vtech's line of products, including V.Smile (ages 3–6), V.Smile Baby (ages 9m–3), V.Flash (ages 6–36), V.Smile Pocket (ages 3–8), and V.Reader, citing the lack of professionally developed games, as Vtech consoles have no major third party video game publishers[9] aside from Disney Interactive[citation needed].

Critics also state that the V.Smile proves the notion that the need for special electronics for children is artificial, as products like mainstream consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, Wii), tablets (iPad, Android), and computers (PC, Mac) have a variety of educational and children's software. Furthermore, such devices offer flexibility that allow children to grow with them, not outgrow them.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "V.Smile Games". Giant Bomb. Giant Bomb. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  2. ^ "SunPlus: The biggest chip company you've never heard of". 18 April 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  3. ^ https://www.amazon.co.uk/VTech-V-Smile-Learning-Game-Adventures/dp/B000296M6A
  4. ^ https://www.vtech.com/en/press_release/2006/vtech-unveils-v-smile-baby-and-v-smile-enhancements-at-london-toy-fair/
  5. ^ "V.Smile (Platform) - Giant Bomb". 26 July 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  6. ^ Confirmed with a PAL V.Smile Pocket bought in Malaysia and a NTSC V.Smile Cyber Pocket brought in from the US using both an Australian PAL smartridge and a North American NTSC smartridge. Likewise, the V.Smile Baby was tested using a PAL console bought in Malaysia and a North American NTSC smartridge.
  7. ^ Keim, Brandon. "It's Official: To Protect Baby's Brain, Turn Off TV". Wired. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Policy Statement: Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years". Council on Communications and Media. The American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  9. ^ Vinciguerra, Robert. "The Top Ten Most Hilariously Bad Game Consoles of All Time". The Rev. Rob Times. Retrieved 26 December 2013.

External links[edit]