Leapster Game - reviews... would you buy used? New?

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Posted 10/14/2008 by Maizie in NSBR Board

* Happy Camper *

PeaNut 223,117
September 2005
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Posted: 10/14/2008 10:50:10 AM

I am debating getting DD, 3 1/2, a Leapster for Christmas. I would love any and all reviews on this toy. Also, would you buy something like this used (to save $)? Should it only be a new toy? Are games hard to come by now that they have a 'Leapster 2' out? How long did/does your child play with it? Through what age I mean... and we have NO other video games or TV, so this would be her 'technology' thing with no real competition except for the occasional movie... if that helps.

Any information you can provide is wonderful!!!
Thanks a lot gals!!!

I'm PEAchy Keen!

PeaNut 74,479
March 2003
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Posted: 10/14/2008 11:28:06 AM
Hi Maizie

I just bought dd a leapster for her 3rd birthday and it was, by far, her favourite present.

I bought the classic leapster. Of the reviews I read, it seemed like the best option. The leapster 2 can be hooked up to the internet - some games can be downloaded and a parent can log in and chart the kids learning. The Leapster LMax can be hooked up to the internet and the TV.

Most parents complained about the TV hook up, saying the graphics weren't great, the connection came loose. Other parents said that leapfrog was slow to add anything great on-line for the Leapster 2 and the Lmax versions.

Lmax games can be played on the classic leapster, but some graphics might not look as good.

Dd is very happy with her Leapster. We bought her the leapster new, but bought her a game on ebay. I really wanted to get her the Letter Factory game.

The game is great. She loves it. I've seen Letters On The Loose (the newer version) and I wish I'd bought that instead - it is a little mroe advanced. Dd is already getting bored with the Letter Factory.

The next game I plan to get her is the one about taking care of pets. I've read great reviews on it.

I should add that it comes with 2 games. The first game is a little over her head but i'm sure in the next 6 months she'll get the hang of jumping onto letters / using the keypad. But the second game is drawing/painting/etc. and dd LOVES it. She is now so capable of changing tools / functions, that it amazes me.



PeaNut 114,469
November 2003
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Posted: 10/14/2008 11:41:36 AM
We love our leapsters. We have the leapster and l-max. I would definitely invest in the new one. The games are all educational. My children have learned a lot from playing them. I love all the leap brand products. 5 stars from me!


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PeaNut 223,117
September 2005
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Posted: 10/15/2008 10:06:38 AM
Thanks Ladies!!! Paige, your reviews are GREAT!

Are the screens/graphics color cartoon like or are they black blocky graphics? Soms of the kids 'computer' games are still that black blocky graphics, really outdated like and hard to understand the voices on them. Is this one easy to hear (if it is even a speaking toy) and are the graphics more updated and colorful?


PeaNut 251,276
March 2006
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Posted: 10/15/2008 10:27:53 AM
The graphics are in color and are good. I find the audio on all leapfrog toys to be good, and I think this one is especially good.
I got a leapster l-max for my older son when he was 4, and my younger son, who is now 3 1/2 wants one. My older son is now almost 7 and still uses his all the time, so I'm going to be buying a 2nd one for Christmas. Trying to decide between the original, the l-max, or the leapster2. We almost never use the tv feature, but my younger son is aware that it exists, so just my luck, if I don't buy that one, he will ask how to hook it up to the tv.
This is my favorite educational toy ever. We have gotten SO much use out of it. I have rechargable batteries in it, so that helps, but they don't run out too quickly anyway.

I'm PEAchy Keen!

PeaNut 74,479
March 2003
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Posted: 10/15/2008 11:05:27 AM
I just want to add again that the graphics are colour and I think great. If you have the leapfrog letter factory dvd, the same picture/video is in the game.



PeaNut 27,295
January 2002
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Posted: 10/15/2008 11:19:59 AM
My DD got one for her 4th Bday - the original Leapster. She loves it and now has amassed quite a few games - I think 10-15? Graphics are good. Our original leapster actually had issues with the touchscreen and I never got a good response from Leapster to fix, but I think that was just a timing thing, as I have heard their customer service is good. The second one we bought was also original and it works fine.

I have the new leapster 2 on my son's Birthday list. I got the impression that L2 and the new Digi were replacing the original leapster so I would hestitate to buy original at this point. Graphics look better on the new one from what I have seen.

My DD's favorite games (might get names slightly wrong):
Creature Create
Animal Genius
Diego Game

Also have
I Spy
Star Wars
Disney Princess
and a few other purely learning games.

I have enjoyed the learning component of the toy.

I would also recommend buying the add-on battery recharging plug in. We just put our leapster in there when not in use and it keeps it charged and ready to go.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 75,924
March 2003
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Posted: 10/15/2008 12:08:39 PM
My kids love their leapsters. We got DS an LMax for christmas when he was 4 because he wanted "video games", but we didn't want them to be mindless. He loves loves loves it still at 7 and it has helped him with math and spelling, even if he doesn't realize it. He likes to take the Leapster everywhere and always has it with him in the car. (Headphones are a must for the car!).

He does like the TV option, and the games are fun on the TV, but what we don't like about the LMax is that he sometimes has trouble logging in to the games in the handheld unit and sometimes must plug into the tv to do it. It is as though the letters on the handheld screen don't match up with whatever is programmed, so when he touches the letter, nothing happens. It's only on the login screens. This is frustrating. For this reason, I wouldn't want to buy a used leapster. The games, sure, just not the leapster unit.

He much prefers to play his sister's basic Leapster (not Lmax) and will play it even though it is pink. It doesn't have the problem with the stylus sometimes not working unless the screens are projected onto the tv. I was psyched to find new in box leapsters at Goodwill earlier in the year for $10! The boxes were a mess, but the units were in good shape and worked fine (I keep batteries in the car to test stuff like this). Now both DD's have them too.

We have a LOT of games because we have picked them up on clearance sales. If you have a Five Below store near you, they recently advertised leapster games for $5. THey had about 8 titles. I went and picked up all the ones we didn't have and DS was thrilled to get them for his birthday. Some games are too advanced for him still, but he's excited enough about Batman that he wants to learn more advanced math to play the games.

He loved the Letters on the Loose and the Leapster Kindergarten game. Unfortunately, the K game is lost somewhere in the recesses of his room or the basement and we haven't yet found it, something he brings up weekly despite now being in 2nd grade. There's a carnival game on there he really liked. I had hoped that this title would be in the Five Below sale, but it wasn't.

My 10 yr old still plays with the leapsters when we're in the car. I think if we had other handheld video games, she probably wouldn't, but she likes them well enough still.

I'd suggest purchasing rechargeable batteries as you'll go through a lot of batteries. They also sell a recharging dock which makes it easy for kids to recharge.

* Happy Camper *

PeaNut 223,117
September 2005
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Posted: 10/15/2008 2:48:05 PM
Thanks A Lot Ladies!!!

Is everyone seeing the same movie I'm seeing?

PeaNut 18,597
July 2001
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Posted: 10/15/2008 3:15:27 PM
I bought Jack the Incredibles Leapster game on ebay because I couldn't find it in any stores (I think maybe it's been discontinued or something?). Anyway, I bought it used, with no box or anything. It was only a couple bucks plus a few dollars shipping. And it works perfectly. I was thrilled because those games are expensive!

Got Samoas?

PeaNut 70,391
February 2003
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Posted: 10/15/2008 4:37:51 PM
Happy to weigh in, because when I was looking to buy DD's Leapster, I needed info, too.

DD is 5, and we got the Leapster for her just before summer started. I stored it away as a special surprise for something to keep her occupied during the summer. She loves it. She plays with it a lot for a while, then something else gets more of her attention. But it is GREAT for long car rides, etc. (She took it with her -- with headphones -- on our 2-hour drive to the beach, but not ONTO THE BEACH, lol.) When she's into it, she wants to take it EVERYWHERE, so we have to put limits on that.

The graphics and the sound are GREAT -- no problems with either, they're both very good, and I'm pretty picky about that. To start with, I got a great deal on Leapster.com -- I waited for a sale AND a free shipping code, and I got a combo deal -- the Leapster (original) and a two-pack of games -- Dora's Pinata Party and LetterPillar. I think I got both games for $14.99. I got DD a green one, because she's not that into pink, and green is her favorite color. So at first I gave her the Leapster, and she played with the pre-loaded applications a lot -- it's a drawing thing (it's awesome -- you can animate your drawing a bit), and a Rabbit Run game that's like Frogger, only you leap onto spots with letters on them. So at first you're looking for lowercase vs. uppercase letters, and as you advance, you're leaping onto letters that spell simple words. Also awesome. Once she got a little bored with those games, I gave her the Letter Pillar game. A month after THAT, I gave her the Dora game. So it kept her busy and intrigued through the summer!

All the new games work on the Original Leapster and the Leapster2. We did not get an L-Max because, for me, part of the appeal of the Leapster is that she'd NOT watch TV for a bit. And I didn't want to deal with any whining about "WHYYYYYYYYY can't I hook it up to the teeeeeeveeeee?" (She's not a whiner very much, but I try to avoid situations where it might come up, lol.) She watches a fair amount of Sprout and whatnot, and I just wanted something more engaging, and the Leapster filled that void.

To avoid losing the games, I have a basket on MY desk that she MUST return the cartridges to, when she's done playing them. A couple times, I've found a game on the coffee table or something, but she's very careful with the Leapster and with the games -- I gave her a big speech about how it's a COMPUTER and you need to be careful with it, and it's VERY EXPENSIVE. (I try to teach her the VALUE of things and how Daddy works to pay for these things, so she will take care of them.) She's allowed to go into that basket to get the games when she wants to play with them.

I just bought Mr. Pencil Draw and Write on eBay, new in box. I paid $15, and that included shipping. Haven't received it yet, but it was definitely one of the games I wanted her to have -- she's a lefty and her handwriting needs work, and I think she'll really enjoy it. (I work with her with actual PAPER, too.) She wants a SpongeBob game, but we don't do SpongeBob here, so no dice on that one. (She asks for it because she wants to see if I'll cave, lol.)

I really like it, a lot. I like that they're not totally getting rid of games that work with the original machine -- all games till work on the Original AND on the Leapster2. And it seems it will grow with her for a bit until she's ready for a Nintendo DS. As her first exposure to video games, I like that it's all about learning something. (Although Santa is bringing a Wii this year, lol.)

Finally Four of Us
Regional vice president of the National Sarcasm Society (Like We Need Your Support)
Senior Executive Vice President, Dunder-Mifflin Paper Co., Scranton PA
"Every time I use a coupon, Satan gets another one of his toenails pulled out."


PeaNut 76,314
March 2003
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Posted: 10/15/2008 4:57:48 PM
Any reviews on the latest Leapster - the small white one? ds2 loves the demo version at T but its $70 plus $20 for the jedi game and he'll be 3.5 at christmas time.

Stacey S_O
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