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Publisher: Gogii Games    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.4

Babysitting Mania
January 11, 2008 | Charlie Fletcher

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As its title suggests, GoGii Games' Babysitting Mania is a game in which you play a babysitter. In this sequel to the company's Nanny Mania, you take care of children ranging from babies to elementary school age while their parents are away. However, don't expect to actually take care of kids while you play this game. Your job is to keep the kids out of your hair while you clean house.

Babysitting Mania starts out with a menu screen listing the available jobs. At first, there is only one job to choose from, The Smiths. You pick the job and show up to work. When you arrive, the parents have already gone, and a young child is wandering around the house by himself. The house is a mess, and you need to hurry to clean it before the parents return. Meanwhile, a baby lies in its crib, and soon it's crying for attention.

While you're babysitting, your job is to straighten up the house, pick up the clothes strewn all over the floor, wash them, dry them, and put them away, make the beds, feed the baby and change its diaper, and pick up the trash lying all over the house. In the early levels of the game, in addition to the baby in its crib, you also have one or more young boys to contend with.

If you allow them to do what they wish, they add to the clutter and increase the amount of work you have to do. So, the most effective strategy is to click on them as soon as you see them to put them in timeout mode. This causes them to temporarily sit on the floor and stay out of your way.

In the meantime, you race around the house as fast you can getting your chores done. As soon as you're finished, you can put the kids to bed. Once they're in bed, your job is done and the level closes bringing you to a menu screen where you can see how you scored. The faster you finished your chores, the better your score. Once you're finished looking at your results, you click Continue and get to pick a new job.

As you progress to higher levels, you have more chores, and more kids to contend with. However, the game also gives you a power up so you can get your chores done more quickly. In the kitchen, in these later levels, you'll find a coffee pot. When you drink the coffee, it gives you a temporary speed boost.

The graphics in the game were pretty, and the controls were easy to understand and use. But the music was really repetitive and uninspired.

However, my kids found this game to be monotonous and boring. In fact, I had a hard time getting them to play it for very long because they found it to be so uninteresting. The funny thing is that they had begged me to review it so they could play it. But, once they actually got their hands on it, they were very disappointed.

Moreover, as a parent of five children, I was dismayed at the paradigm this game represents. I've hired babysitters from time to time, and some of my children have worked as babysitters. Housecleaning has never come into the babysitting job on those occasions.

I've always thought of babysitting as sitting down and interacting with the kids until the parents come home. On the other hand, in Babysitting Mania, you gain the best scores by neglecting the kids as much as possible. There are no penalties for keeping the kids in timeout mode for the entire level -- and really your best bet is to leave the baby crying in the crib as long as possible.

I know this is just game, but it really bugs me to think that children will play this game and get completely the wrong idea of how parents and babysitters should be treating children. Even though it's a game, it still shapes attitudes. And our attitudes about our kids say everything about the future of our families.

At a time when new casual game titles seem to debut every week, Babysitting Mania is mining the depths of mediocrity in this market.

• Pretty graphics
• Challenging gameplay

• Teaches child neglect
• Repetitive soundtrack

Babysitting Mania
Publisher: Gogii Games
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