Thursday, March 25, 2010

But will it make my kids sleep like that?

These look really cool

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Champions Online free weekend

Champions online is free this weekend. I wanted to see if my oldest might be interested, but then again we've got a bunch of outdoors demo/yard work to do, so mebbe not.
Installer can be found here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wizards 101

My oldest, Nathan, has been playing Wizards 101 lately. I recently asked him to talk a little bit about it.

It is a kid's version of World of Warcraft like Toontown.  For the classes (something Toontown doesn't have) you fill out a form that needs no personal information just what you would rather prefer or think is more destructive.  After you fill out the form it will give you a class (which you can change).  The class gives you free spells of that type and lets you wear special clothes that only certain classes can wear.  After that you do quests to level up your character.  Eventually you have to pay to get into certain areas.  It's a pretty good game overall.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kids on the web

We've decided that my oldest son, Nathan, is responsible enough to have an email account, and to have limited internet access.  There were a couple of situations he came across that we've had to educate him about

  1. Just like in real life. DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS! Gmail's email accounts for minors handle this pretty well. Nathan doesn't get any emails except from those people on an approved list.
  2. Don't participate in chain emails. You know, those "send this on to 5 friends and you'll have a special day", emails.  Nathan has received several of these from friends, and we've told Nathan how they're the digital equivalent of landfill.
  3. Any site that requires registration must be approved by us, the parents, first.  This is a no-brainer, really. But even then, we have to be discerning. Recently my son was invited by friends to join some site called Lockerz, where supposedly you win prizes by recruiting more friends, logging in regularly, etc. Just a big marketing scheme to get you on more spam lists.
  4. Be careful of what browser-based games they play. Again, we have him run it by us beforehand. Even then, there were a couple I let him play until I learned better.  See this article

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Games

As an official member of the Hoffman family, I'm going to talk about my gaming here as well.  Like below, I mentioned Assassin's Creed, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect, none of which are appropriate for consumption by young minds. At least, not by the young(elementary school-age) ones in my house.
My oldest, Nathan, is in middle school, and he has occasionally watched me play these games. I usually avoid the "romantic interest" parts anyway. The violence.. well, that's a whole other debate.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Games the kids are playing

All the kids love Pocket God for the iPhone. Nathan has his own iPod Touch, we let the Mary and Luis use Jen's or my phone.
Mary has been playing on the WebKinz portal quite a bit.
Nathan bought Plants vs Zombies recently, for both his iTouch and the PC I believe, and is enjoying it quite a bit. It's a tower-defense game, with a macro card collection game wrapped around it.
And of course Boom Blox on the Wii is a family favorite. Great game to play together.

Video games I'm currently playing

I'm on an RPG kick lately. Just finished Assassin's Creed. Finally. After playing off and on for 2 years. My impetus for finishing was my desire to get to Assassin's Creed 2, which is a rare case of the sequel being better than the original, from what I hear.

I've been playing Dragon Age on the PC. I started on the PS3, made a bunch of different alts, didn't even get past the beginning segment with most of them.  Playing more on the PC these days, for various reasons. Great story, great production values, great game.

Playing Mass Effect 2 on Xbox 360. This is my favorite game of the moment, lately getting much more time than Dragon Age. Some have protested how this game is more "action-y" than the first. But I love the changes. They've done away with most of the tediousness, streamlined it down to the good stuff.  Combat seems to be closer to Gears of War in this one.. without cover you're toast. The story is somewhat hit or miss.  I'll try not to spoil here, but I've gotta share my main gripe so far in the story.  Of course the main plot deals with saving the universe again, no surprise there right? Part of preparing for that is finding all the people you want on your mission, like how you had Ash, Tali, Liara, Garrus, Wrex, etc. in the first one.
Every single one of these characters has unfinished business, a side-quest that needs to be resolved for that character to fully reach their performance potential (it unlocks a unique special ability for each). The story emphasizes that you're running out of time, but then all these characters need X, Y, and Z. You don't have to do every one of them, but still, it's a bit cheesy. Personally, I've just _got_ to see the side stories for all the characters, so I can't help but think about how long it's going to be until I proceed forward again in the main storyline.  In spite of that minor quibble, I'm loving this game.

First family game report: Dominions

Played our second game of Dominions last night. Players were: Mary, age 7, Nathan, age 11, and myself.
The kids are catching on to the game pretty quick, especially Nathan, who ended up trouncing us. It's a card game, where you build your deck over the course of the game. By the end of our short game (there are things you can tweak in game setup to make ending conditions come quicker) Nathan had 23 victory points, Mary had 9, and I had 6. Hey, I was focusing on teaching Mary the game, what can I say?!  Also, the endgame came quicker than I'd expected.
Anyway, once the players catch on to the basics, play goes very quickly. I'm looking forward to playing more.