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!

Teaching kids to be polite in game

Posted by dkidwell on February 4th, 2006 — Posted in ages 12 +, ages 9-11, console games, parenting

It’s early on a Saturday and my neice and nephew are over. Five kids have embarked on a raucus round of gaming on our game cube. With Mario themes at the decibal level that seems painful on a Saturday morning, the kids are haggling over who gets to play which character and what strategies to play.

On occassion, they can get really terse with one another. The oldest of the bunch, my son, is showing that ‘oldest child attitude’ and barking orders at the others. I listened from another room, until I went in to make a cup of tea.

I called him over, and pointed out how from the other room, he was barking almost as much as our Great Pyrenees. (Any Pyr owners out there will understand, but they can be quite the barkers when they’ve decided they have something to say.)

My kid looks at me, a bit hestitant as if he’s in trouble. He is not. Kids squabbling is part of working out dynmics of kid-dom, a place where Mom’s have little domain. But, he understood, and said “Oh, I didn’t realize that…ok.”

The last hour has been just as loud, but filled with more random singing and w00ts and hollars.

I won’t be around for most of the times when the kids have opportunities to interact with others their age. From the moment they are on the bus, I lose sight of how they treat others. As they get older, that is just more pronounced. So why not take a moment here, and now, to address it? Not in a confrontational way – the idea is not to model barking – but in a sensible “hey, I noticed this…” kind of way.

This isn’t solely a gamer mom tactic. You’ll have this opportunity with other things certainly. But games provide a unique cause for everyone to work together towards a goal. In multiplayer games, someone is likely to take on leadership and forge a strategy. Is a 12 year old too young to learn to be a strong leader that people like working with? Nah, the timing is perfect.

Now, if only the dog would stop barking…

Don’t Open Until Christmas: Nintendogs

Posted by dkidwell on December 9th, 2005 — Posted in ages 9-11, Christmas, daughters, Nintendogs

Every evening we open up an advent calendar are one day closer to the big event. We’ve emailed Santa, and a Nintendo DS with Nintendogs made the final cut. (Gorgo, the youngest, wants a Gameboy Advanced. Considering his age, this is probably a safe bet. Never thoughts I’d be buying previous generations of hardware, but there you go.)

Anticipation for the Christmas pup rises, and I’ve been watching Amazon and Froogle for prices on Nintendogs Bundles. There was a limited release of bundles – one in Pink sold through Target and ToysRUs, and another in teal pearl blue that could be found in most stores. Not that I’m going to buy one, mind you, Santa had the elves take care of that. But if you need to buy a bundle now, it wouldn’t be cheap. Last I saw them, you could get them for about $129. Now, Amazon has sellers that will give you the blue one for a cool $250, and the Pink for $365.
Hachi machi! It’s sold out in the UK, and very nearly sold out here. It’ll be curious to see after Christmas sales numbers.

Woof!

A nice primer on Nintendogs:

Nintendogs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Currency, Control and In Game Economies

Posted by dkidwell on November 16th, 2005 — Posted in ages 9-11, console games, parenting

Dubious Quality: Xbox Live Marketplace: I Stop Being Stupid

Bill Harris talks about an XBox theory where Microsoft uses the XBox currency and it’s online marketplace to address hacks of Xbox systems….

It’s not a bad dialogue to have with your older gaming kid. If you collected points in game, and the marketplace for spending your points existed online – in an enviroment controled by the creator of the game itself – why couldn’t they enforce software rules to enforce obedience?

“Thou shall not hack thy system, or thy reputation and wealth is lost. LOST, I Say!”

What a great talking point to discuss how software and systems can be used to encourage or discourage user behavior!

And why talk about that with your kid?

1. Get them to THINK and not simply be passive players being entertained by the game.

2. This is a great little example, but history is full of governments using economics to encourage or discourage behavior. Just look at interest rates over the past few years….

Not too early for Christmas Shopping- Pirates of the Spanish Main

Posted by dkidwell on November 14th, 2005 — Posted in ages 9-11, Christmas, reviews

My kids are already creating lovely illustrated lists with grandiose color coding schemes to inform me of each toy’s priority and suggested gift giver. Not that I asked, but I now have lists I could pass out to everyone in the family.

One of the best stocking stuffers this year has to be the collectable card game, Pirates of the Spanish Main. I supposed ‘constructable card game’ applies too; you actually build a little ship out of each card. They are made of a nice plastic stock and are very well produced. Upon creating your little armada, the game begins.

We’ve only got a few decks, and currently play the intro rules – but the advanced rules look very good and I expect that post-Christmas will bring a large enough navy to properly play.

Your local comic or game store likely has tournaments, but we’ve bought ours at Target.
They followed up the Spanish Main collection with “Pirates of the Crimson Coast” and “Pirates of the Revolution”

WizKids – Pirates of the Spanish Main

or more immediate shopping at Amazon