Will playing games turn your child into a different person?

Let me start with saying that I am not a parent. I do hope to become one some day soon but it is still a working progress. I read an interesting article written by my blog buddy Yvie. She writes that when her son started playing the well known game “Angry Birds”, that her son turned into a different person. He would share stories and communicate as well as he usually does. That he even lost interest in his other toys.

While our technological advances give us new ways of communication and better source of entertainment we can only ask ourselves. Are things really better? I say yes and no to that. Yes because we are not more connected and even studies have shown that playing video games stimulates the brain and self esteem in many cases. Because solving puzzles and feeling good about “saving the world” makes a difference in our daily lives. A sense of accomplishment that is grandiose to say the least. The it comes to the negative part. Videogames, stimulating as they may be, they also isolate us from real achievements in life. Instead of saving the world digitally, how’s about saving the world in reality? Looking outside, I don’t see to many people. It is summer and I don’t see children running outside on the law or playing with friends. When I do, my heart melts because it reminds me of my own youth.

We often think the question “What did we ever do before tecnology?”

I don’t know about you, but I did quite a lot. I explored my surroundings and played outside with my friends. Our games were cowboys and indians, softball using a stick and a pinecone and even played Robin Hood using a home made bow out of stick and rubber. Now that I think about it, the stick was probably my very best friend growing up. I mean it is so simple and you could do anything with it.

I think there can be a happy balance. A great parent know their child and understand what they need. Some children have friends via video games and to those I say good for ya! However, just like we react differently to things, so do children. I believe that we cannot have the same set of rules for all children. My mom actually made that into a point several times that she cannot compare her children because they are all so vastly different. That is why she had to a just the rules to accommodate each child’s needs, which to me makes sense.

I know my children will grow up with video games, but I also know that I will be attentive enough to make sure to take them outside and show them that there is a world out there too, whether they like it or not. That is how I plan to raise mine, how everyone else raises theirs is up to them.

I just hope that my husband wont have them grow up with World of Warcraft. That will be a failure on my part for not supplying them with better options. 😉

One thing they will enjoy will be the motion controls. The luxury of today’s technology is that children do not have to sit still anymore. Imagine all the energy they will burn jumping around like mad! I’ve baby sat so many kids and burning off their energy is the tricky part. I hope that by the time my kid is old enough to join me and my husband in our gaming-ventures, that kinect and motion controls will remain an option. ( Yahtzee had his way, we wouldn’t have any at all). I hope they will not only remain an option, but perfected and made into an available option for all.

I also hope that my example will define what type of person my kid will be. (and maybe his dad if he is nice about it)

Lets check out Wisp and move around a bit

The more I play Kinect, the more I am addicted to the concept. I know that most of us gamers should be appalled at the thought of getting up and move around. Maybe, just maybe, this was created for us who do sit still all day and need to get up and move those slowly growing tuckers. For years I’ve given up on XBOX 360. They never released much of late that captured my interest long enough. Honestly, the last few years I’ve seen stuff growing out of my bellybutton that is more interesting to me then any XBOX releases.

Then we got a Kinect.
People compare it with PS3 motion and the Wii-motes, but trust me, this is different. There are no buttons to control any actions, it is just you and only you.

After completing Kinect adventures I set my attention Michael Jackson the experience. Again, it did not disappoint. I’ve been moving around like crazy, sweating and pulling muscles left and right. Body parts flying all over the room and by sheer luck, nothing has been destroyed yet. Captured by this siren of gaming I’ve neglected to review a Triolith game that I downloading form the android market a while back.

So let me tell you a little bit about Wisp.

Let me first of note that I will be playing this game on an Android phone (sorry apple fanboys). A HTC Evo 4G to be exact.
Feel free to look up the stats so you understand what kind of firepower I am working with.

The game started with loading the Triolith logo, what i notice is that I see rogue pixels in the rounded corners of the logo. I am not sure if it was made intentionally but it did give me the itch to erase them. Just a taste thing I guess.
On to the next screen. It is an image of a tranquil Forrest scene with lovely mushrooms and some glowing dots/flowers. I can read the buttons but i had to squint to read “HQ”. Then there is a logo of a speaker and another one for music. I assume that one removes sound and the other removes music only, keeping the sound effects. That threw me a little bit of because it just seems a little bit randomly placed. I guess this is an attempt to make things faster to access which is appreciated, but confusing for us who are used to an “options” menu.

The music is very captivating and very euphoric, which is to be expected for a “fantasy” style game. The loading time for the first level itself took well over 10 seconds, which is not to bad, it just did have me worried momentarily that my phone crashed. So for you people who have no patience, wait…a….bit…longer.

Now, to the controls. They threw me off a bit since my fat fingers kept getting in the way of the lovely wisp character Eira. I think this is something that can grow on me a bit later, but for now the primary controls are tilting your device left and right to move, while holding your finger on the screen to have her ascend. I was surprised not to see a story or an intro. Nothing really to introduce the character in the first level. I thought maybe I missed something important so I reloaded the first level. Still nothing that really introduces the character.  I wanted to return to the main menu, but there was no option in game to go there. Probably for the best too, because the finger is all over the screen, you would most likely keep pressing menu by mistake. I do think that there is a solution. For instance, instead of a pause button on the right top corner and a reload button on the left, there could be an option button instead that pauses the game automatically (encase you press it by mistake) and it would give you the option of returning to the main menu. What I do enjoy is that you get to see the instructions as you “fly along” which is a bit more interacting rather then a manual. Once you finish a level, the menu will be available to you. It brings you to the level selection so I can for now assume that there isn’t an intro story in the very beginning. That the creators might have placed it along the way. I pressed to continue on level two. Again I thought it froze, because it took 13 seconds before the loading screen turned up. I might just be impatient or something.

Now it gets a little bit more challenging. Still no story really but you are told that there is some black icky vile goo that is dangerous. Just for the hell of it, I flew in to it to see if I’d experience some fairy splatter, but nope. It was a quick implosion. Parents, this is childproof. Thought I wouldn’t let children touch the device because, you know, stiiiiicky fingers. While flying around and enjoying your tranquil wispy groove, you come across some shiny things. You know how them fairies like shiny things.  There are three in each level. That is how many there has been thus far so I can assume that it is that way on every level. Some are hard to get, protected and cleverly hidden. When you collect all of them, you are presented with a perfect game. This brings a bit of a challenge since not only do you have oozy black holes (that are fueled by pure evil!) but you have to satisfy her bling satisfactory too. Greed doesn’t become you Eira! Either way, to the point. It is a very much enjoyable game. Even if I would like an intro to present me with a task of survival and/or save the world. It felt empty to start. But continue on and you will be rewarded. If anything it will give you some relaxing tunes while and a beautifully yet simplistic designed graphic to go with it.

Now, the big question, would I buy it? Well I already did, so yes I would. I enjoyed it and I will continue enjoying it. Does it feel like something revolutionary and new. No, it is very familiar and somewhat safe. I Would’ve liked to see some other theme using this engine. Fantasy casual can sometime become disappointing for people who are used to the crazy elaborate stories and new types of battle engines. I think that if you are going to make something casual, use a design and a model that is unique. For instance, instead of a wisp in a  Forrest, a cat wearing a top hat that moves itself around by expelling some methane gas, and be careful of the fire torches! I know that it sounds silly and probably someone already made this but it would be a bit more entertaining to me. Then again, I am a big fan of Thunderbang!

I can’t wait to see what Triolith comes up with next!

A kinect for fat fighting

Today Kim brought a wonderful surprise.
With my work and lifestyle, I do not move around much. Even as an owner of nintendo Wii, the motion you do is minimal. Not to mention that I’ve been pissed at the Wii ever since it told me I was obese!

Either way, Kim bought a Kinect.
We’ve been playing it to the point of sweat and soreness, seriously, I can barely move.
He also made me promise to use it every day. Basically I need to get back in shape. Ever since my unfortunate misscarrige I’ve havent had much incentive to do anything at all to be honest. I’ve occupied myself with work and that has been great for peace of mind, however my body took quite a beating!
No more though! I shall fight of the fat by jumping and taking silly pictures while doing so!

Here is a little presentation of the fun we’ve had today!

Sorry about the hair, I honestly will take care of it once I’ve gotten over my stomach issues.
On a different note, I had my childhood buddy Louise visiting me the last week and a half. It sure was fun to meet someone from the old country. She was just as great as I remembered her and hope to see her again soon.
Now I am looking forward to a spider man movie marathon with my beloved husband and some freshly baked biscuit.
Have a fantastic rapture everyone!