ROMper ROOM: Learn life lessons with Jumpstart

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As the unreasonable boss, the player controls the pointy-haired, useless entity that enlists the help of trusted consultant Dogbert to push his employees to the limit.

The tasks are fairly consistent and always timed. They involve using the cell phone’s numerical keypad to walk the boss around an office space and deliver projects or items from a conveyor belt to Dilbert and his other loafing brethren who reside in their cubicles.

A selection of missions that add more and more cubicles and project goals give players the chance to develop a deep resentment for loafers and take satisfaction in immediately shredding their finished work. Use of cattle prods to remind the daydreamers who is in charge is strongly encouraged by Dogbert.

The color presentation arrives in Adams’ familiar art style and his brand of humor remains true throughout, down to banishing an unsuccessful boss to Elbonia.

Parents will chuckle often and even younger players will find some of the silly animations worth a round of task delegation.

The best part of the addictive action is not the Whack a Wally bonus game (worthwhile for sure) but collecting comic tokens. These access original Dilbert cartoons that move across the screen in a traditional strip style.

Big Beach Sports (for Wii from THQ, $29.99) Sports enthusiasts will find a reasonable amount of fun in a virtual oceanside setting as they sweat playing some classic outdoor games.

It’s not a rousing endorsement, but the six challenges - volleyball, football, disc golf, bocce, cricket and soccer - are a smart enough mix to give up to four players, especially in tournament mode, a little exercise and entertainment.

Among the Wii-ized sports, volleyball is the best (the Wiimote is cradled in the hands to return a serve or swung overhead for a smash), football is most controller confusing (go long and keep going long), cricket is most unusual (my first exposure to the classic) and bocce (sand bowling meets shuffleboard) is most enjoyable.

Most interesting is the game’s ambitious character creator. This Mii-wanna-be offers a standard selection of clothing, skin tone, facial features and age choices, but adds a DS component to the genetic mix. That’s right. Players wirelessly download a software nugget to their DS hand-held and then can draw on their character’s face and upload the finished work back to the game.

One disturbing point that caught my eye during the action. I was able to produce an avatar that looked like Jimmy Buffett (scary enough) and the guy was wearing a Geico insurance T-shirt. I find it hard to believe a game with so little going for it in the development area required sponsor endorsements to cover costs. However, it’s a trend I bet is going to get worse.

Joseph Szadkowski’s ROMper Room is a place for children and their parents to escape the world of ultraviolent video games and use that gaming system or computer to actually learn something while having fun. Send e-mail to jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com.

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