I admit it. When my kids start talking video games my eyes glaze over. Video gaming has just never been one of my things. It’s a bit of a quandry, because as a mom-I’m not actually that interested-but I want to be able to talk to my kids about the things that interest them while also making sure that the games I’m allowing them to play are age appropriate. Of course there are descriptions on the boxes and age ratings on the games and all–but sometimes you just need some more information.
Because of just these reasons, Walmart has created their Gamer Network. That’s right, they have a resource just for helping families with any and all video game questions! Not only is there a twitter handle (@GamerNetworkHQ) with real live gamers manning it ready to provide their support and extensive knowledge. . . but some stores even have gaming experts IN STORE on Saturdays.
Walmart asked us to try out a few new games (two to be precise) and host a little family game night get together. We chose Just Dance 4 and Lego Lord of the Rings! After gathering some chips, dip and sodas to have a special game night treat we started having fun:Just Dance 4 is a game for the Xbox that requires Kinect–It can see your whole body and tell if you are really doing the moves as they direct you to. Princess LOVED playing it although after two songs she had to stop for a drink–“That takes a lot of energy” she said. That’s just what Mama wants to hear–here in the north we are always looking for things to help the kiddos burn energy in those long, gray, damp, cold winter months. This will do it! Not only that–but it’s full of popular songs (Call me Maybe, Moves like Jaggar, So What) and contemporary dance moves. I giggled to see a few oldies (Rock Lobster, It’s Istanbul not Constantinople, Time Warp) even got my groove on a bit! (no pictures until I loose 20 lbs folks).Lego Lord of the Rings was Buddy’s favorite. It is significantly less active. We have several of the Lego titles–Lego Harry Potter, Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones. He has always loved playing them. The “violence” is minimal-sure, you “kill” things, but they are Lego characters and they just dissolve into a pile of bricks and then reform. No blood. No gore. Lots of levels. The one thing I’ve always HATED–on every Lego game we’ve owned for either the Wii or the Xbox–you had to complete the entire level in order to save.
Can I say how much I hate that? Seriously–we’d have a set amount of time Buddy was allowed to play, the timer would buzz and then we’d have this huge situation because of COURSE he’d be in the middle of a level, have make it past a bunch of difficult challenges. . . and if he quit just then he’d lose all of his progress and be back to the beginning of the level.
So I was excited when about 5 minutes into the game Buddy announced “Mama, you have GOT to tell them that this game has save points!”. That’s right, there are these special statues, and if you go and knock them over you can save at that point. Now when his time is running out I just have to tell him “Buddy, you’ve got about 2 minutes left, you better find one of those statues”.
Much less argument. Which is a very, very good thing.
We had a great time with our family game night. You don’t need to be fancy to enjoy time together as a family–a couple of simple snacks, a couple of fun games, and your family are all you need! And if you don’t know what game to pick–make sure you head on over to twitter and ask the folks at @GamerNetworkHQ for some help!