GamerDad and family Welcome to GamerDad: Gaming with Children. My name is Andrew S. Bub - the GamerDad - and I've been writing about videogames, movies, and children for over 15 years now. After working as a magazine journalist, I switched gears to write about how media violence affects children, educating parents about them, and working closely with magazines, newspapers, major retailers and even politicians. GamerDad is an internationally recognized expert in this field. Games, movies and media are fun, kids and families love them, they aren't going away. So join me in cutting through the hype and lets have a real conversation about the things that matter: Video Games, Violent Media, and their supposed effect on children and families.
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Unplugged: Holiday Guide 2014

unplugged_titleGive the gift of face to face time with a boardgame.  It’s time once again for me to preach to the masses on the greatness of boardgaming.  Nothing beats the social aspect of in-person gaming with friends.  Last year’s run-down of recommended boardgames was a great success.  Here again are some great examples of boardgames to get you and your family gaming.  You might not find all these titles at your local mega-mart but many can be found online or in a friendly local game store.  Those new to the world of boardgaming may find a bit of a sticker shock as some games are pricier than new release video games, but good boardgames will provide many more hours of entertainment than most video games.  Boardgames are also relatively timeless so they can be pulled out years from now and provide the same level of enjoyment.  In that vein, feel free to delve into some past year’s guides for  2012, 2010, or 2009.  For each game I’ve provided the number of players, retail price, and expected time for one game.  Note that often these games can be found for 20-40% less than the MSRP.

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Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (Wii U)

SONICWIIU_BOXOne day, Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends were being chased by the villainous Dr. Eggman and Metal Sonic.  To escape, they hid in some ancient ruins, and unwittingly freed an evil cybernetic snake named Lyric from his 1,000 year slumber.  Now Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Knuckles must work together to stop Lyric from taking over the world!  Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is based on the new computer animated Sonic cartoon airing on Cartoon Network.

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Skylanders Balloon to Appear at this Year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

PARADEThe best-selling Skylanders video game and toy line has made over 2 billion in sales and is about to make another milestone as well.  There will be a Skylanders balloon featured at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!  The Skylander that’ll be in balloon form is Eruptor, a fire-based warrior who came from the depths of a volcano.  Skylanders is a pretty big deal here at GamerDad, so I wanted to make sure fans will know so you can tune in Thanksgiving morning.  I’m only disappointed that Spyro the Dragon wasn’t picked to be the Skylanders balloon instead.  Oh yes, and there will be a new Pikachu balloon as well.  Click here to see a bigger picture of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ad.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Planes: Fire and Rescue (3DS)

PLANES_BOXPlanes: Fire & Rescue is based on the Disney film of the same name.  Help Dusty Crophopper and his airplane and helicopter friends as they use teamwork and bravery to put our fires and rescue others at Piston Park.  The game is available for 3DS, Wii U, and Wii, but reviewed on 3DS here.

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Digimon: All-Star Rumble (360, PS3)

DIGIMON_BOXOver the years, Pokemon has had many imitators.  One of the best and most prolific is Digimon.  Like Pokemon, Digimon has had several games and even a pretty good cartoon.  Now Digimon is back on the Xbox 360 and PS3 with an arena style battle fighting action game (reviewed on 360 here).  The Digital World has been at peace for a long time, and the Digimon monsters are getting bored.  So to keep them in top fighting shape, they hold a battle tournament to see who is the best Digimon of them all!

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LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Wii U, Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, PC, *3DS)

20909Hotspot-SingStar-80:Layout 1Also known as:  “LEGO Skittles in Space”

LEGO videogames are known for their freeform exploration gameplay, their tongue in cheek humor, and their vast assortment of playable characters. Batman 3: Beyond Gotham supplies all those things with a bit more to boot. Join Batman and the Justice League as they battle Brainiac’s evil plans to use the various colors of Lanterns (green, yellow, red, etc…) to obtain ultimate power (is there any other power worth getting?) Beyond Gotham manages to use the best bits of previous LEGO games rather than trying to “improve” upon what has gone before. Thus, fans of the series should be happy with its implementation, and new LEGO gamers are treated to some of the most entertaining videogame series around.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze (360, PS3, 3DS)

TMNT_BOXTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been famous with kids since, well, I was young.  And now there is a popular new TMNT computer animated TV series on Nickelodeon.  This game is based on that series.  When Donatello picks up traces of a new super mutagen, it’s up to the four heroes in a half shell to find it before Shredder and the Kraang aliens do!  Danger of the Ooze is a single player 2-D platformer/beat em up that plays quite a bit like an old school Metroid game!  It’s available on Xbox 360, PS3, and 3DS, but reviewed on 360 here.

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Cary’s Favorite Weekday Afternoon Cartoons!

A week or two ago I wrote a blog about my favorite Saturday morning cartoons.  That got me to thinking about cartoons during the week that I watched and liked, so I decided to write a blog about my favorite weekday afternoon cartoons as well.

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The Counting Kingdom (iPad)

COUNT_BOXA medieval kingdom is being invaded by monsters, and it’s up to a brave wizard to save the day with…math?  Is he a mathamagician?  Har har!  Anyway, help the wizard zap the monsters with number spells in this game that’s similar to Plants vs Zombies, but with math!  Originally available on Steam, now you can play it on iPad and iPhone, too (reviewed here on iPad).

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Disney Infinity 2.0 (Wii U, PS3, PS4, PC, 360, XBox One)

Disney Infinity FiguresLast year, Disney got into the “real toy figures used in a videogame” market with it’s new Disney Infinity line. While the game had story modes, accessible via the correct figures, the main attraction was a Toy Box mode where gamers could construct, trade, and play in worlds of their own design. Disney Infinity returns this year with the creatively titled “2.0” version. The new story mode has advantages and disadvantages over last year’s game, but the new Toy Box mode has seen some major improvements, so that it easily eclipses the Story Mode part of the game.

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