Dragonball Z, Budokai Tenkaichi 2 – Wii remote or old school controllers?

Posted by dkidwell on January 14th, 2007 — Posted in ages 4-8, ages 9-11, Dragonball Z, Nintendo DS, parenting, Wii

Turns out my son has found it far easier to play Dragonball Z – Budokan Techkaichi 2 – using the Wavebird wireless controllers that we bought for our Gamecube, rather than learning to use the wiimote. Flying, moving around and generally doing ‘cool stuff’ was just too difficult.

It seems that button mashing is easier in the old style controllers, rather than using arm motions to achieve the same effect. Is this a lack of wii-muscles? Is it poor design?

We’ve suggested that our older son opt for the wiimote when playing his younger brother, who could use the old style controller. This effectively provides a handicap to even out the two boys, who are about 6 years apart in age.

The camera angles in Dragonball Z – Budokai Tenkaichi 2 – are well done and really do have the feel of being in the cartoon. The fighting effects are rather nice, and it’s captivating the fellas for a surprising amount of game time.

Lesson learned, don’t be ashamed to use the old school controllers on the new Wii!

Christmas toys for little boys…Gross out doodle monster!

Posted by dkidwell on November 12th, 2006 — Posted in ages 4-8, Christmas, parenting, reviews, sons

My youngest son is 7 is very excited about getting one for Christmas. He can’t wait:

He offers the following review

“The feature gross out ones can take out their brains, can make bats fly out of its head.  You can pull out its heart (that’s cracked!) and it peal off its hand so you can see its bones. You can draw on it with three different colors so you can creep out your mom.”

They have them at Amazon – just click on his guts in the image below:

The gaming style of a 6 year old

Posted by dkidwell on April 15th, 2006 — Posted in ages 4-8, parenting

Just for the fun of it, I decided to index all of my 6 year old’s various World of Warcraft characters. When asked, he will tell you, “Oh, one hundred characters sounds about right.”

He’s actually got 73 characters scattered across 3 accounts and 14 different servers. He could immediately identify all of his, and distinguish his characters from those of his dad, brother or sister. He’s been creating characters since we started playing in November of 2004.

Index of a 6 Year Old’s WoW Characters:

Server
Level
Class
Account
Thunderhorn
5
Warrior
Mom
 
8
Shaman
Mom
 
6
Rogue
Mom
 
3
Rogue
Mom
 
7
Rogue
Dad
 
3
Hunter
Dad
 
4
Rogue
Dad
 
3
Rogue
Dad
 
1
Warrior
Dad
 
8
Druid
Kids
 
5
Warrior
Kids
 
3
Warrior
Kids
Thunderlord
1
Hunter
Mom
 
1
Mage
Dad
 
1
Rogue
Dad
 
1
Hunter
Dad
 
1
Hunter
Dad
 
1
Hunter
Dad
 
5
Warrior
Dad
Mal’Ganis
5
Hunter
Mom
 
2
Rogue
Mom
 
5
Rogue
Mom
 
3
Rogue
Mom
 
8
Warrior
Dad
 
5
Hunter
Dad
 
2
Rogue
Dad
 
6
Warlock
Kids
 
11
Rogue
Kids
 
3
Warrior
Kids
Dethecus
5
Priest
Mom
 
5
Rogue
Mom
 
2
Rogue
Mom
 
2
Shaman
Mom
 
5
Hunter
Kids
 
5
Hunter
Kids
 
1
Hunter
Kids
 
2
Hunter
Kids
Stonemaul
6
Paladin
Mom
 
4
Paladin
Mom
 
3
Hunter
Mom
 
5
Paladin
Mom
 
1
Warrior
Dad
 
2
Rogue
Dad
 
4
Warlock
Dad
Dunemaul
5
Paladin
Mom
 
4
Warrior
Mom
 
4
Paladin
Mom
Aggramar
2
Druid
Mom
 
4
Warrior
Mom
 
4
Warrior
Mom
Dragonblight
2
Warlock
Mom
 
3
Rogue
Mom
 
4
Warrior
Kids
 
2
Rogue
Kids
 
5
Warrior
Kids
ShadowCouncil
4
Mage
Mom
 
8
Paladin
Dad
 
4
Warrior
Dad
 
7
Druid
Kids
 
6
Hunter
Kids
 
2
Rogue
Kids
Nathrezim
3
Warrior
Mom
 
1
Warrior
Mom
Boulderfist
4
Warrior
Mom
 
2
Rogue
Mom
Malygo
5
Hunter
Mom
 
5
Mage
Mom
 
2
Warrior
Mom
Twisting Nether
8
Warrior
Dad
 
5
Priest
Dad
 
7
Hunter
Kids
Skullcrusher
2
Priest
Dad
 
Total Level Value
288

Some kids collect matchbox cars, mine collects characters in an MMO. Nice collection, kid!

Super Bowl Sunday

Posted by dkidwell on February 5th, 2006 — Posted in ages 4-8, parenting, sons

Super Bowl Sunday is one of those family days that is very nearly a holiday in our house.  The week has been full of speculation about the game, sadness that the season is over, and softball and t-ball tryouts.  First signs of spring in our house.

My youngest just told me that he only watches football games where Texas is playing because the only players he likes play for UT, the Dallas Cowboys or the Houston Texans.  He’s clearly not been bit by the fantasy football bug, which would disperse his player fan base across the NFL.

He associates playing football with great strength, and is rather impressed with folks that play multiple sports.   He offered words of wisdom for the men that take the field today:

  • watch out for rocks that might be on the field.  They would really hurt when you get tackled and are in that dogpile.
  • don’t wear your glasses, but put in your circle things [contacts] so you can see.
  • don’t wear puffy hair

Now, I showed him a picture of Troy Polamalu, who’s hair is reknown and inspires fan-wigs.  His advice for Troy?  “He may not actually need a helmet – his hair is SO PUFFY that the men will bounce right off.”   We’ll have to see how that tactic influences the Seahawks offense this evening.

Gamer mom wonders how to get her youngest son to read

Posted by dkidwell on February 1st, 2006 — Posted in ages 4-8, parenting, reading

My youngest son is 6 and is struggling with 1st grade reading and math. Those two are likely related – he doesn’t read the instructions for the math, and doesn’t recall words that he just wrote. Maybe it’s what his teacher called ‘academic scaffolding.’ If so, he’s likely to just grown right through it, and retention will just come to him.

Waiting isn’t a good approach, however. So instead, Gamermom is schemeing up a way to get her little one engaged in reading. Approach it from his interests…

Last year, over Spring Break, we found an innovative way to use World of Warcraft to teach him letters and letter combinations. He would sit on a computer behind me logged on as one of our characters. I’d sit on my machine and use the in game page function to send him letters and letter combos.

Our chats looked alot like this:

Huncamunca pages: “A”
Huncamunca pages: “a”
Huncamunca pages: “a”
Huncamunca pages: “E”
Huncamunca pages: “e”
Huncamunca pages: “e”

He would call out the letter I paged with all the excitement that only a 5 year old can.

For a week, we worked through all of the letters and beginning letter combos:

Huncamunca pages: “th”

His teacher called me at work the week following Spring Break. “What did you do with George? His progress is remarkable?”

Well, I explained that we played a computer game together and she responded with “Well, whatever you did, do it every night!”

Yes, my son’s teacher encouraged us to play WoW every night. Lots of arm twisting involved there.

We graduated over the summer to spelling out the name of monsters in the game. The quicker he spelled them out, the faster I’d attack. We died many times, but in the end, he got really good at it.

We aren’t playing WoW currently, and we’ve taken that technique as far as it could go. Now I need something new….got any ideas for how to teach your child to read in games? Stay tuned and I’ll let ya know what we come up with.