iOS Apps: Taking the Plunge

I’ve added (and subtracted) enough apps to this ever-changing Prezi to warrant a re-post (previously posted as “50 Apps You’ve [probably] Never Heard Of”). I’ve also changed the format to reflect the fact that many are new to the iOS App scene, while others are old-timers at it, and are looking to expand their usage.  Enjoy!


Creativity Fatigue Sets In: iOS and Android Games are Losing Their Edge

There’s been a lot of talk recently about mobile gaming via iOS and Android devices taking over the market, which has been previously dominated by Sony and Nintendo.  Your usual points of evidence include cheaper prices ($.99 vs. $39), ease of installation (install in seconds vs. purchase at store and carry with you), and dual/tri-functionality (phone/app/game vs. game).  Nintendo has stated for the past two years that they not only don’t fear this new trend, but don’t even see it as a competition.  I originally thought this was preposterous posturing, but even as an avid iOS gamer, I’m starting to agree with the Big N. Continue reading

Oh, Dear God…I Was Wrong About the Kinect: An Ode to Child of Eden

I don’t expect that if you’re reading this you’ve read anything else I’ve written.  Assuming that, it would be easy to just pretend like I’ve always loved the Kinect.  That, however, would be a damn dirty lie.  Truth is, I really didn’t think the Kinect would go anywhere.  Boy howdy was I wrong.  I love it.  And, there’s one game that makes the Kinect the best innovation in gaming since the analog stick…Click inside to find out more. Continue reading

2 Minute Tabletop Review – Harry Potter Lego Hogwarts

As the past few 2MinTT Reviews will undoubtedly show, my family and I have become completely obsessed with the new(ish) line of Lego board games.  We finally ventured out from beyond the $10, cheaply invested games, and splurged on one of the more extravagant, expensive sets: Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.

While challenging, and requiring chess-like forethought, it has become a staple of nightly entertainment.  Find out why…

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2 Minute Tabletop Review: Lego Magikus

I had been eying the new set of Lego games for a while now, but hesitated mostly because of the required ages being older than my son.  Usually I can figure out whether or not a game is accessible to my son, despite the suggested age, by looking at the board type and brief directions on the back; however, the Lego games offer no support on the box or indication on how the game is played.

So, I just decided to plunk the $11 down, and pick up one that looked as if it would work: Magikus.  And, to my delight, not only was it fun and accessible to my 5 year old, we were actually playing the advanced rules by the end of our week-long vacation.

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Games and Comics: Providing Counseling for Our Parentless Children

Creative Commons Licensed

Let an artificially intelligent piece of software counsel my child or student?

It’s a tough concept to accept.  We’ve heard horror stories since the 90’s about the effects of video games on our children (amazingly, comics date all the way back to the 1920’s).  You have those who feel gaming makes kids violent, reclusive, or even mentally ill (all have been debunked over the past few years).  And, while the list of those who would argue that video games do induce violence in our children is dwindling fast, the list of those who think video games are socially beneficial is growing at a much slower pace.

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GoGoLingo – Fusing Bilingualism with On-Line Gaming

My son will be starting Kindergarten this August, but will not be doing so in a regular class.  He is signed up to go through a Dual Immersion program, where he will alternate weeks of the year in a class spoken entirely in English, and one entirely in Spanish.  It’s a K-6 program, and with my son being as verbal as he is (and, at 5pm at the end of a long day, it is a quality that is difficult to stay proud of), I imagine he will thoroughly enjoy the chance to become bilingual.

The only issue is that we are hitting him with a one-two-whammy.  Not only is he starting school (which he’s excited about), but we are also asking him to spend half of his school year in a class that speaks a language that he knows nothing about (aside from what Handy Manny says).  While racking my brain for ways to help give him a preview of Spanish, along came GoGoLingo (by way of GeekDad, who did a nice write-up on it, as well).

Read on for thoughts from me and, more importantly, my Kindergaren-aged son. Continue reading

Kinect Fails to Connect

Microsoft unveiled their Kinect (previously known as Project Natal) device on Sunday, a full day before the official launch of E3. No doubt this was done in an effort to set the stage for the announcement of their 2010-11 games that will use the technology.

Kinect — and Sony’s Move — are obviously golden ring grabs at the motion controlling frenzy Nintendo kick-started almost 5 years ago. Yes, it took Microsoft and Sony 5 years to finally swallow their pride (and disparaging comments) and admit that motion controllers did have a place in the gaming circuit.

I own all 3 major consoles, and play each equally (recently racking up time on Mass Effect, Ratchet and Clank, Fallout3, and Uncharted — can you tell I’m a father? My current games are at least 2 years old!); however, I spend a lot of time with the Wii and DS, mostly because I have a 6 year old who loves to play video games, and those are the consoles that constantly churn out quality, family-friendly (not kiddie!) games that we can all play — and, yes, a fair amount of shovelware that I have to dissuade my son from asking for (i.e. anything Scooby Doo, Spongebob, Ben10, and Nintendog clones).

Read more for my thoughts on Microsoft’s ability to foster the same feeling of trust and consistency in a new Blue Ocean market

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When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Scribblenaut: Students, Scribblenauts, and Problem Solving

Last week saw the release of a much anticipated, and even more hyped game, Scribblenauts. The game sports a 22,000 word dictionary of nouns that promises the player the ability to create any object their mind can fathom.

I can substantiate that claim having created some rather off-the-wall items, such as: a vampire, a block of chalk (which I used to thwart off some troublesome ants), the chupacabra, hover boots, and even god, wielding a bazooka and jetpack.

But, what does this all mean? Why would I sit all day and simply type into my Nintendo DS nouns and watch the analog appear on my screen? I do it, because I helps me solve the in-game puzzle — which is to retrieve a captured Starite — in the most creative and improbable way.

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