The V.Smile system developed by Vtech is a game system for educational purposes. It was developed for an age group between the ages of 3 and 6, but also offers other software for ages up to nine. It was originally released in 2004 and a second generation system was released in 2007. In 2008 the third generation system was released, called the V.Smile Pocket.
The console connected to a television and used cartridges called a Smartridge. Smartridges were interchangeable between the first and second generation systems. However, the microphone features on some of the smartridges would not work on the first generation unit.
V.Smile could store up to six smartridges. Smartridges included with the purchase were Dora, Nemo, Spiderman, Scooby Doo, Winnie the Pooh (on the original version), Cinderella, or the Backyardigans. Each smartridge came with four or five built in games.
The smartridges were labeled for the specific age group: beginner was ages 3-5, junior ages 4-6, master ages 6-8 and advanced ages 6-9. Depending on the age group, was the difficulty in gameplay and the educational content.
The console includes a joystick controller with a writing pad and stylus. It has two joystick ports, and a compartment for the cartridges. The large joystick’s buttons flashed and the enter button was designed for the pre-schooler. A microphone was included on the second generation console, so the user could sing along to some of the games.
It is powered by four AA / three C batteries or a 9v power adapter, not included with the system. It was sold in either orange/purple or pink/purple, with a red/blue or red/silver added later.
There were a few game modes for the child’s learning experience. The child could learn ABCs or 123s and the system included other educational learning tools. An adventure mode combined action with learning.
The benefits that the child learns by using the V.Smile are motor skills, language development, basic math, problem solving, music, discovery and exploration.
A couple variants of the V.Smile were the PC Pal and the V Motion. The PC Pal included a keyboard with a built-in joystick and tablet controls. It was bundled with a Smartridge typing skills program. The V Motion included a wireless connection, a motion activated joystick and was awarded the 2008 National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, and the Creative Child Seal of Excellence.
Accessories for the V.Smile include:
It includes a TV learning system plus joystick with a built-in writing pad and stylus; a smart keyboard for typing skills, letter learning, spelling and logic; and a smart book that is similar to an activity book. Also included is Art studio, which is a touch pad and stylus for drawing and coloring. V link allows the user to track his/her progress on games and also for comparing with other users by way of a PC connection to a website. And jammin gym class is an interactive mat for dancing and exercise that includes ten active learning activities to teach letters, numbers, colors, spelling and health.
A V.Smile Baby Infant Development System was also released shortly after the original system, targeting for young children. It was not compatible with any of the other V.Smile systems. The controller uses an inferred connection to the console and has a mode slider, two switches, seven buttons, and a roller ball. It also has a built in speaker that is used for stand-alone play, playing music, and speech interaction.
Image Caption: A 2008 Vtech V.Smile system with the ‘Cars’ color them. Credit: Xrobau/Wikipedia