I’ve been a serious gamer for many years, long before I had children. I love games of all types, including card games and board games, but video games are what take up the majority of my gaming time. Which is precious and limited, being a busy mom of four who rarely turns the tv on when the kids are up. Certain things change when you’re a gaming parent, like the urge to go back and replay old games [there's usually a ton of new ones you haven't gotten to yet], the compelling need to beat everything on the hardest difficulty level [who wants to spend their limited time reloading stupid-hard levels] and the willingness to stick with a game that is mediocre or just isn’t getting anywhere [again, there are lots of titles competing for your time].
And that’s exactly the idea behing Lasting First Impressions. Sean is a busy dad of three, and like me his gaming time is mostly limited to that time after the kids go to bed. On his blog, he shares his impressions of games after one solid hour of gameplay. Because sometimes that’s all that *ahem* mature gamers like us are willing to invest in a title before moving on to the next on the list. Read his very thorough reviews of games on a variety of platforms and find out if “impressed” or not after the first hour.
If you’re a busy gamer too, check out Lasting First Impressions and see which games impressed Sean. You can also find him on Twitter as Xiantayne and 1hr2impress.
Read Sean’s guest posts on Momicon.
So you gave in to the hype or the pressure of your kids, and went out and bought Microsoft Kinect for your XBOX360. I’m sure the idea of gaming without a controller sounded like a great new concept and you were quick to get onboard with it. But now that you have it, what do you do with it? It seems like the promised land of games hasn’t yet come to fruition and you’re left with an expensive gadget collecting dust. Would you be surprised to learn that there are some gems already out there that you can enjoy with your kids right now? Some are full retail games, while others fun little games available through the XBOX Marketplace that you can download immediately. Let’s take a look at just a few.
Kinect Fun Labs
Kinect Fun Labs is a free download from the Xbox Live Marketplace and houses small little add-on modules that showcase new and upcoming technology that you may soon see utilized in future Kinect titles. In particular, the gadget called “Build-a-Buddy” is quite humorous and would be great fun with young children. This ‘game’ allows you to show any object to the Kinect camera (I used my daughter’s favourite ‘Build-a-Bear’ Bunny) and it creates a 3-D replica of it in the game and brings it to life. Once your buddy has been created, performing certain actions will trigger your on-screen friend to speak and bounce around. The kids are sure to be entertained and amazed seeing their favourite toys truly come to life onscreen! Be sure to check out the other Fun Lab Gadgets available, like Kinect Me, where the Kinect scans you and creates an Avatar that looks just like you and is wearing your clothes too! Or how would you like to have your very own Bobble-head, that looks like you? Well, now you can, virtually of course, with BobbleHead. Be sure to check out Kinect Fun Labs and check back on occasion for more gadgets to be added. (more…)
On October 15th, 2011, thousands of gamers around the world will participate in the 4th annual Extra Life Marathon in order to raise money and awareness for the Children’s Miracle Network. The Children’s Miracle Network is a non-profit organization which was found in 1983 with two simple goals:
1) Help as many children as possible by raising funds for children’s hospitals
2) Keep funds in the community in which they were raised to help local children.
As of this year, CMN has raised more than $4.3 billion, mostly donated from individuals like yourself one dollar at a time. This is a pretty amazing feat for something that started as a simple televised fundraiser in a small studio!
In 2008, the plight of a young girl named Victoria Enmon, who was battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, inspired the Sarcastic Gamer Community and its members to send video games and gifts to keep Tori’s spirits up during her many hospital stays. Unfortunately, we lost Tori to cancer that year and thus began the idea of creating Extra Life, a 24-hour video game marathon to raise money for the hospital that treated and fought beside Tori. (more…)
A new episode of 360Prophecy is up, this one is based on the upcoming game Fable III. Although Fable I was disappointing to me, Fable II drew me back in and I’m really anticipating the third installment. I’m not sure how these co-op interactions are going to play out, but I’m keeping an opening mind. Marrying my co-op partner could be a fun novelty, but do I really have to share my gold?! We’ll see how all these new game mechanics go over… I have a feeling it will be a full on hit or miss, but either way it should be interesting.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen me lamenting my lack of gaming time lately. Between my 3 year old permanently giving up his afternoon nap – my prime gaming time – and the Mystery Illness zapping my energy and making it impossible for me to sit some nights, I’ve had very little time to game lately. So, this last week or so, I’ve been playing a lot of iPhone games, which fit this busy Mommy’s schedule perfectly.
After much mocking, I finally jumped on the We Rule bandwagon. I don’t play Facebook games and am not that much of a causal gamer really, but between watching Jeff play it, seeing it pop up on Twitter and this review on AppJudgment, I caved in a gave it a try. It’s surprisingly fun, and not that addictive. Yeah, I play it 4-6 times a day, but only for a few minutes at a time. The social interaction is fun, and even though there’s not really an objective per se, it’s a nice relaxing break in the day. I love clicking on my subjects and hearing their pigeony-gibberish comments or checking out the designs of my friends kingdoms. Best of all it’s free, which suits my budget quite nicely TYVM. If you’re playing, add HotelQueen to your friends list!
Really, if you have an iPhone and $0.99 you need to buy Angry Birds. It’s an old school artillery style game with a crazy premise that has you hurling birds from a slingshot to take down pigs. Why? Because the pigs have stolen the birds eggs, of course! Yes it’s silly, but it has awesome physics, a great art style, tons of variety and an exorbitant amount of levels. The levels are nice and short, a perfect bite-size gaming experience, and the star rating system and achievements have me instantly replaying levels. I’ll be playing this one for a long time. According to their website, Angry Birds is the best selling paid app in pretty much every country on the planet, and for good reason. Quite possibly the best iPhone game ever, and a steal at only $0.99.
I’ve had a chance to play a little bit of Alan Wake with Jeff, and it is aaaaaaaaaaaahmazing! Gorgeous graphics and immersive game play, this game has been in development forever but it was worth the wait. We’re not too far in, and I don’t want to give anything away, but suffice to say you’re going to want to get your hands on this one when it comes out May 18th.
That’s all for this week; let me know what you’re playing in the comments. And uh, you’re going to add me in We Rule, right? ;)
My photo of the day over at The Story of Today was too fun, I just had to share it here too. So, if you’re one of my gaming friends you know the new Splinter Cell: Conviction came out today. The pre-order bonus from Futureshop was a whole toolbox full of things, including this headlamp like the main character Sam Fisher wears. Whenever Jeff gets a box of goodies, he always lets Oliver open it; needless to say, my flashlight-obsessed-son was quite enamoured with the headlamp. Ha ha, very cute, we let him wear it and took some pictures. He graciously cheesed it up for us:
But then… he didn’t want to take it off. So fine, he continues to wear it. And wear it. And wear it. The absolute best was him wearing it during dinner:
I wonder if Sam uses his to get a better view of his carrots?