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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Hidden Through Time (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC, Mobile)

When I was little I used to read Highlights magazine.  One of my favorite pages in it was the Hidden Pictures page.  Years later I remember the Where’s Waldo books getting popular.  I was a little too old to get into them then, but I sure do remember seeing them everywhere!  I wonder if those books are still around?  Well, if you liked those books, you may want to check out Hidden Through Time, an object finding game very much like Where’s Waldo.  It’s available on all current game consoles, PC, and mobile, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha & Bravo Special Editions (Switch)

A few weeks ago I reviewed Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo, a collection of scrolling 2-D shooters from the 90s and early 2000s.  I liked it so much that I got the physical copies of both Alpha and Bravo, which only come as special editions with extra stuff.  So let’s take a look at them!

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Double Dragon & Kunio-Kun: Retro Brawler Bundle (PS4, Switch)

Hey kids!  Are you ready for a video game history lesson?  Sure you are!  Anyway, back in the mid-80s, game maker Technos created one of the first brawlers featuring a character named Kunio.  He’s a hot-blooded high school student who sometimes gets into fights, but always stands up for his friends and against bullies.  His first arcade game was a hit in Japan, and they brought it to the US under the name Renegade.  A few graphical and name changes were made.  The character now sported a sleeveless leather jacket instead of a Japanese school uniform, and instead of locations like an outdoor train stop, you fought in places like an underground subway station.  It was a modest hit in the US and got a version on the NES, but it was nowhere near as big as the original game in Japan.  The bosses at Technos wanted to recreate that success in the US, so they tasked the team to make another brawler that would really appeal to overseas audiences.  So they created Double Dragon.  Needless to say, that was a huge hit with countless arcade sequels and ports, a cartoon, and even a live action movie (it was famously bad, but fun in a B-movie sort of way).  And now you can play almost every NES and Famicom version of the Double Dragon and Kunio-Kun series in a collection on the PS4 and Switch (reviewed on PS4 here).  It even includes Renegade’s ‘sequel’ River City Ransom, as well as sports spin off titles like Super Dodge Ball!  Yes!  Super Dodge Ball was my favorite sports video game until Wii Sports came along!

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Code Shifter (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

In Code Shifter, you play as Stella.  She works as a programmer at a fictional video game company testing codes and deleting bugs.  When a malicious virus threatens the company’s latest release, Stella is on the case with a program that lets her avatar “Sera” defeat the bugs in a 2-D platform jumping cyberspace world.  But the cool part is that at certain moments in the levels, you can switch to 8-bit pixel versions of characters from other Arc System Works games and licenses they own.  These include games like Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, Double Dragon, River City Ransom, and more!  Code Shifter is available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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AO Tennis 2 (Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Video games about sports come in two varieties, arcade titles focused on giving a fast-playing game giving just a taste of the sport, and simulations trying to preserve as much authenticity as possible. AO Tennis 2 is one of the latter. Focusing on the Australian Open (thus the AO in the name) rather than some of the It offers up everything one would expect of the genre, tutorials, plenty of character customizations, deep gameplay controls, multiplayer options, and a new career mode. As a simulation, AO Tennis 2 should appeal to those looking for more of a technical tennis simulation, but more casual players looking to smash a ball around with friends should look elsewhere.

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Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary (Switch, Mobile, PC)

I’m such a staunch console gamer now that you might be surprised to learn that when I was a kid, I started out playing home games on computer.  Our first PC was an Apple ][+, and outside of arcades, that’s where I played most of my games until I got an Atari 5200.  One of the games I remember playing on that old computer was Boulder Dash.  It was an action puzzle game that was kind of like Dig Dug in that you dug through the earth, collecting gems while trying not to get squished by falling boulders.  And now you can celebrate its revival with Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary.  At first I was like, “Isn’t Boulder Dash more than 30 years old?”  And yes, it is.  This Switch version (reviewed here) is just a port of an older version that was released a few years ago on PC and mobile when it really was Boulder Dash’s 30th anniversary.  If you’d like to read more about the history of Boulder Dash, please click here.  Just make sure to read my review first!

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Vitamin Connection (Switch)

Meet the Sable family.  Mom, Dad, an elementary school kid, a baby, and a dog.  When they get sick, it’s up to Vita-Boy and Mina-Girl to pilot a vitamin capsule inside their bodies to stop a bacterial infection…and maybe even save the world in the process.  Vitamin Connection is a Switch exclusive for one or two players.  You’ll use your Switch JoyCon controllers in unique ways as you steer the vitamin capsule through microscopic mazes while avoiding obstacles and defeating bacteria with your Vita-Blaster!  It kind of reminds me of a cross between Life Force and Irritating Stick, with some WarioWare style mini-games for good measure.

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Metal Slug Infinity (Mobile)

This game has been out for a while, but a reader requested I review it, so here you go.  A while back I heard about an endless clicker game featuring Metal Slug.  Metal Slug is an SNK 2-D run and gun game series that features some of the best sprite artwork I’ve ever seen.  So the fact they made an endless clicker about it for mobile devices (reviewed on iPad here) got me curious.

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Battle Racing Stars (Mobile)

In Battle Racing Stars, race as your favorite Halfbrick characters from games like Raskulls, Jetpack Joyride, and Fruit Ninja.  You’ll run on 2-D platform stages from those games as you jump and dodge obstacles and try to get first place.  It’s available to download free-to-play on mobile devices, but reviewed on iPad here.

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The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

I was a child of the 80’s, and Jim Henson stuff was a big part of my childhood.  I watched TV shows like Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock.  I saw films like The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and heck, the very first movie I ever remember seeing in a theater was the first Muppet Movie.  So I was very interested in seeing the new Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.  And I LOVED it!  I don’t normally binge watch things, but one day when I was off work, I watched two episodes of it in the morning and two more in the evening.  It was so good.  I’d watch it again if I had time.  So I was excited when I heard they were making a video game out of it, but I was disappointed that it was a tactics strategy RPG game.  I don’t like those.  Could my love of the series and Jim Henson stuff in general save this game for me?  Well you’ll just have to read this review and find out!  The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is available to download on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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