By peoplestaff225
December 01, 2008 07:00 AM

Have you been spending way too much time lately in front of the television, swinging at an imaginary tennis ball until the wee hours of the morning? Golfing with your neighbors without leaving the house?  If the wireless game craze hasn’t reached your house yet, let me tell you — it’s an addiction that is hard to break! If you have small children, they’ve undoubtedly tried to get in on the action as well, but you know that the controllers aren’t always easy for small hands to operate. The good news is that there’s a totally toddler-friendly, more economical option in Playhouse Disney Ultimotion by Jakks Pacific ($75). Not only is it designed to be used by children, it allows them to hang out with some of their favorite Playhouse Disney characters like Handy Manny and the cast of Little Einsteins.

Getting started is simple. Just insert two AAA batteries into your Ultimotion controller and 4 AAA batteries into the receiver, which connects to your television or VCR with an audio/video cable.  Depending on the type of television you have and how many other machines you have going already (cable box, in-home stereo system, etc. etc.) there are different directions for how to connect; the instructions do a good job of troubleshooting all possible scenarios and problems you might encounter during set-up. Because of its wireless technology, there’s no software to download or console to make room for, either. Just find the correct a/v input, insert your batteries and you’re ready to go!

Click ‘more’ to read about other Ultimotion options for your future athlete or little princess!

Disney Ultimotion comes with four different paddles — a rocket ship for playing with Little Einsteins, a hammer for Handy Manny, a ‘mousekatool’ for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and a magnifying glass for My Friends Tigger and Pooh. Snapping the controller into the paddles is easy, then secure the wrist strap and begin playing! Our 4-year-old loves being able to help Handy Manny with his various projects and flying with the Little Einsteins throughout the solar system, and because the games are designed with a preschooler in mind, they are straightforward and easy to understand.

If you want in on the wireless gaming revolution but don’t have a Playhouse Disney fan in your house, never fear: There are still several Ultimotion options available to you. Swing Zone Sports Ultimotion ($58) offers five games — tennis, golf, baseball, football and bowling, at a fraction of the cost of similar wireless games. Like Disney Ultimotion, it is primarily intended for children — but Swing Zone Sports is every bit as enjoyable for adults! My husband and son have spent many a cold, rainy day lately bowling (sometimes with bumpers!) from the comfort of our couch. There is no ability to go head-to-head in tennis, as there is only one snap-in sports paddle in use at any given time, but each of the remaining games allow for two player competition. For the price and the wide-ranging appeal of a sports-themed wireless game, I love Swing Zone Sports Ultimotion as a Christmas present for a son, or even a Father’s Day present for dad.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Ultimotion Disney Tinker Bell & Sleeping Beauty ($59). If you have a girly girl on your hands, this is the wireless game for you! Not only will she get to wave a magic wand (with results!), she also can dress-up with fairy wings and a princess skirt to fly with Tinker Bell and dance with Sleeping Beauty. That’s not all, though. There are several games and challenges for your little one, like conducting a forest concert with Briar Rose and capturing moonbeams with Iridessa.

All in all we’ve been thrilled with Ultimotion. I’ve found it to be reliable, consistent entertainment for our entire family, and that it’s so simple to navigate that our son can power it up and begin playing all on his own is a huge bonus. Best of all, it’s at a price we can afford. For the hours and hours of fun it provides, it can’t be beat.

— Missy