Carnival Games - Hands-on

Is there anyone out there who doesn't have fond, wistful memories of hanging out at the carnival or county fair when they were little? Okay, other than Voklov from Soviet Russia, is there anyone? No, there isn't. The flashing lights, the "can-that-possibly-be-safe?" rides, the cotton candy and clowns… it's a universally adored childhood experience. And one of its most important parts is the time you spent wasting away months' worth of allowance on the invariably rigged carnival games and the crappy prizes they yielded.

Why did we do it? Did we really need a plastic spider ring or a mirror with a heavy metal album cover painted on it? Or another freaking goldfish? Of course not. But we loved the thrill of the games. The idea of being so good at something you won the biggest stuffed frog they had was too tempting for our machismo to avoid.

Now, at last, you can relive those glory days of randomly boast-worthy feats - like eating ten dollars' worth of cotton candy and then riding the Tilt-A-Whirl five times in a row - with Carnival Games. It's a collection of 35 carnival attractions, all controllable with that dandy Wii-mote and all perfectly sculpted to demonstrate to your friends and foes that you rock at knocking over milk bottles and hitting a board with a really big hammer.

You've got 20 of the old favorites, but to prove it, we'll list off as many as we could write down before the urge to throw dimes onto plates got the better of us. You'll be throwing lots of things: darts at balloons (holding the Wii-mote like a dart), footballs through holes, baseballs at milk bottles and the dude in the dunk tank, tennis balls at fuzzy clown pillows, basketballs through hoops and whiffle balls into wicker baskets. You'll be shooting cork guns at wooden ducks, bb guns at paper targets, and squirt guns into clowns' mouths to blow up balloons.

You'll be testing your strength with a sledge hammer, trying to get a bowling ball over one hill but not the next, catapulting frogs into baskets, ring tossing and mini-golfing. You'll do that one weird thing where you're trying to guide the ring along the electric wire without actually touching the wire. You'll play the crap out of skee ball and its relative Horse Bowling, where your steed's speed is dictated by your ability to score.

There are even some bonus events, such as a claw machine and fortune teller, as well as beefed-up variations of some of the classics. For instance, there's a reinvention of the baseballs and milk bottles game that keeps adding cow-juice containers until there are more than 40 of them stacked up there. Overall, Carnival looks like a good, family-friendly time. It's not online, but this seems like the kind of thing you'll want four people in the same room working on all at once. How else are you going to get all 250 prizes? That toy ray gun looks fantastic, and the gold ninja doll is way cooler than anything we ever got at the real carnival. Well, except the goldfish. This one's for you, Fluffy!