Grim Pinball for Nintendo’s Gamecube

Posted by dkidwell on March 28th, 2006 — Posted in console games, parenting

Nintendo usually has titles that I’m perfectly comfortable with my youngest kids playing, but recently they announced a pinball variation that is downright grisly!   “Odama” is a pinball game based on medieval Asian battles, and you use the paddles to roll a large ball over the battle field, bashing walls and troops alike.  Since you have to maneuver the ball through your own men, many of them get rolled.  Friendly troops yell out when crunched, “We’re on your side dummy!”  (Gamermom side note – ‘dummy’ and ‘stupid’ are terms that are frowned about in our household.  Using either term will bring a mighty admonishment, more so than many more common expletives.  None of the kids or their friends are actually ‘stupid’ and it’s very demeaning thing to call someone.)

Since you are killing off your own troops, Nintendo seems to have apologized ahead of time.
From their website:

The main character in Odama is Yamanouchi Kagetora, the general credited with creating the Way of Ninten, a philosophy that puts the greater good above the individual’s needs. With this philosophy to guide him, he finds that his individual soldiers can band together to create a force strong enough to defeat even the most powerful enemy.

Hmmm, so maybe that justifies the collateral damage, but the video they’ve released for the pre-launch does not indicate any of this nobility.   I can hear Spock clearly in my truegeek brain, “The needs of the many, out weigh the needs of the few, or the one.”  But do the troops extol such virtue? No, instead you hear “This is no way to die!”  Other dieing troops yell out proclamations that add a touch more depth: “Good bye, my liege,” and “Tell my kids I love them!”  Or simply, “Ow ow ow!”

As Odama gets closer to launch, I hope we see a bit more of the game.  Right now, it’s looking like it’s got all the brutality of medieval warfare, which may have been the point.  We are likely stick with more traditional pinball games here.

Preparing your kids for future jobs with games – Part 2

Posted by dkidwell on March 23rd, 2006 — Posted in mmo, parenting, World of Warcraft

Wired – You Play World of Warcraft:  Youre Hired

“I used to worry about not having what I needed to get a job done,” he says. “Now I think of it like a quest; by being willing to improvise, I can usually find the people and resources I need to accomplish the task.” His story – translating experience in the virtual world into success in the real one - is bound to become more common as the gaming audience explodes and gameplay becomes more sophisticated. The day may not be far off when companies receive résumés that include a line reading “level 60 tauren shaman in World of Warcraft.”

This quote from Wired holds a really nice nugget for a gaming parent – why not look at the obstacles in front of you as one of the quests in your game?  Taken one step at a time, the task is likely to look less daunting, more achievable, and may even include a nice loot drop at the end.  String together a run of quests, and that promotion to ‘management’ falls right into play.

And the tedious quality of most educational programs?  Not so different from the ‘level grind’ in many MMOs.  Slog through high school, pick the toughest quests, read up on strategy on the side, do the same through college.   Now if only they would include a decent sword drop with the cap and gown…

Preparing your kids for future jobs with games

Posted by dkidwell on March 16th, 2006 — Posted in mmo, parenting, World of Warcraft

SXSW interactive just finished up here in Austin.  SXSW is a large music/film/interative conference that brings the best and brightest to Austin.  The interactive  conference itself brings technologiest, internet marketers, and culturists together to discuss how online activities are changing politics, science, entertainment, etc.

It isn’t uncommon there to find that the CEO, CTO, CFO, or other prominently placed executive actively plays games online.  Is it possible that the game you picked up for your child at Christmas has virtually introduced them to a future manager?  Is your child’s behavior in game going to impress them with level-headed thinking, clear communications, and organizational leadership?

Take a moment to look at these two articles:

The business lessons of “World of Warcaft” from News. com

Is World of Warcraft the New Golf? from

Attend the free ScreenBurn Beta Festival today and talk about gaming culture

Posted by dkidwell on March 11th, 2006 — Posted in parenting

Live in or near Austin?

Come check out the free ScreenBurn Beta-Festival today and meet up with some very interesting panelists to talk about gaming culture. Last nite’s panel met to discuss the relevance of gaming, which I’ll blog about more later. Good stuff for parents who want to make sense out of an industry that can produce engaging games like Age of Empires, while at the same time give us Grand Theft Auto.

The list of panelists and presenters – all of whom will be speaking today from 11-6 at the Convention Center:

ScreenBurn Beta Festival – presentation schedule

*and it is free!