Wii uDraw review by expert reviewer and accessible gaming enthusiast Kati Lea
Here is our first review, expert assistive technology reviewer Kati Lea looks at Wii uDraw and other art technology:
I was given the uDraw as a birthday present from family, so I hadn’t researched it as much as I often do before I consider if something may help with balance or co-ordination in any way.
I did used to enjoy sketching and doing water colours but since I acquired Ataxia is not something I have done as much and found the initial drawing work the hardest due to struggling particularly with fine motor control.
First of all you need to plug the wii remote into the tablet. I don’t push mine right in as I found if you do, the infra red bar can’t pick up when you press the A button in beginning to select uDraw and start it. They could have put some kind of window into it so when positioned correctly the wii remote could still be used. I tend to start the game first then plug it into the tablet.
You need to be able to hold a stylus and have some level of co-ordination to be able to draw anything. I was finding it a challenge to start with even to control the direction of a line. (although it does have a button to help you draw a straight line) So I started with just random patterns using right (dominant) hand for some lines and left hand for others.
The stylus is very chunky so its easy for me to grip, and in that respect I found it much easier than trying to use a DS stylus with Art Academy. The software you get with it doesn’t have a teaching mode though which is a shame. I think a version of Art Academy for the uDraw would be really good with more structured lessons to follow.
Udraw features suggested
A Tracing feature would have been good if you could trace from a photo to help with learning pen control. You can save to a SD card then connect SD card to a computer to print things off but it places a watermark on (uDraw logo) on the bottom left of every picture.
It does have a colouring book feature so if you just wanted to practise with a pen or paint tool and keeping within pre-drawn lines you can do that too.
I have started doing some free drawing too and still experimenting with the colour blending which isn’t happening as easily as doing it wet-on-wet with real watercolours, as I never used Acrylics paint this is something I will have to keep practicing with.
You are kind of left to work out techniques yourself though there is a brief description of most functions in the tutorial section, but it would have been good to have some structured lessons for things like blending colours.
I decided to go back to basics just trying line drawings with either the pen or charcoal options. These skills obviously still need a lot of work, but considering I have ataxia and my movements are quite jerky, particularly when trying to control a pen to write/draw it wasn’t bad for a first attempt.
I did also buy ‘Doods Big Adventure’ to play on it and that adds some good basic co-ordination skills. You can either draw a line to create a trampoline for your character to bounce on, or blow him along, or hold the tablet at each side and tilt it to roll your character around the course. You can also colour in your characters.
They aren’t many games out for it yet. I think the other two are Spongebob Squarepants and Kung Fu Panda. I would hope a more advanced drawing game may come out along the lines of Art Academy and things like the Sims would be good where you could design your characters clothes, houses, wallpaper designs, landscape your SIMS gardens! .. anything really. It has good scope for more imaginative/designing style games.
As a tool for therapeutic use I would recommend it if person enjoys drawing, it’s a more simpler interface than software like Coreldraw. The stylus is chunkier than ones you usually get with graphics tablet so maybe easier if gripping is difficult for you or causes increased tremor.
I don’t think I will be producing masterpieces but if it keeps the connections working between my hands and my brain I think it would have been worth the money (if I had bought it myself!).