Ever played Mousetrap?

Posted by dkidwell on October 22nd, 2007 — Posted in parenting

Can you see the bowling ball heading for the tub?, originally uploaded by donna_k_kidwell.

Remember Mousetrap? The crazy contraption game that never quite stayed together like you expected it to?

This is a photo from the Life Size Mouse Trap at the Makerfaire in Austin. The Faire is science fair run by carnies – complete with catapulting pumpkins, brain hacking devices and bobbin lace. Really, tremendous fun. More photos are up at our flickr site – just click on the photo and off you’ll go.  Or you can just click here.

And…we’re back!

Posted by dkidwell on June 6th, 2007 — Posted in parenting

Gamermom has been on an unannounced hiatus as I finished up my Master’s degree.




My family was just fantastic through all the nights of reading and fighting my risk analysis homework.   The boys willingly played on my World of Warcraft account and saved up gold and rune cloth for me.   We spent the weekend after graduation working to get my epic mount – a lovely blue elephant (Great Blue Elekk -woooooo!)


So, with school out of the way, I’ll be spending more time here.   I missed you all – keep the emails coming and I’ll catch up on various posts I’ve been holding back on.




Wii – Kids Burn 40% More Calories Says Research

Posted by dkidwell on February 19th, 2007 — Posted in parenting, Wii, Wii Sports

Anyone who’s tried boxing on Wii Sports won’t be surprised that the research is showing genuine fitness benefits with the Wii. It’s not only fun – it’s quite a bit of work!
Wii – Kids Burn 40% More Calories Says Research

New research commissioned by Liverpool John Moores University has shown that kids who regularly play Wii games burn up a significantly larger amount of calories than kids who play other consoles, or spend their time passively watching TV.

The study, headed-up by John Moore’s researcher Professor, Tim Cable, claims that regular use of Wii could help kids shift 27lb (12.25kg) a year.

A lot of ice, a little snow, and a winter expedition for Burning Crusades!

Posted by dkidwell on January 16th, 2007 — Posted in parenting, World of Warcraft

Central Texas is experiencing an ice storm. The city is shut down and for the first time all year, the kids can not wait to get outside and stomp on ice puddles. There are flurries outside, with big flakes that we simply never see here.

Jack and Harry were considering mounting an expedition to the local Best Buy. With the streets patched with ice, they would slowly trek the 7 miles to get copies of World of Warcraft’s new expansion: Burning Crusades. Best Buy decided to open this morning just long enough to feed the WoW addiction and they expect to make a few grand simply by selling copies of Burning Crusades to frozen gamers.

My brother’s family bought their copies at 11:00pm last night, and my nephew has been calling to see if our kids have their copies and are ready to play. My oldest woke this morning and began singing,

Today….is the day….the day of the Expansion.

Burning Crusade, going to get it….

Burning Crusade, today is the day…

Today….is the day….the day of the Expansion.”

Now, I have been arguing that this is more about burning desire and foolish crusades. I wasn’t making much headway until they tried to release the truck from a thick sheet of ice. It’s as if an ice mage threw a frost nova on it, and froze it in place. No Crusades for us today!

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!