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: Spintronics – Electrical Circuits via Belts and Gears

Spintronics is a mechanical model of electrical circuits using gears and belts to simulate the flow of electricity. As the final hours of the Spintronics kickstarter winds down (act fast), I thought I’d take a moment to comment on the possibilities of the nifty system.  I’m fairly enthusiastic about its possibilities. At a later date I’ll provide my thoughts on its older brother, Turing Tumble, which simulates computer logic circuits using small metal balls falling through see-saws.

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Cary’s Favorite Golf Games

With Mario Golf: Super Rush on Switch coming out at the end of this month, I thought I’d make a list of my favorite golf video games in honor of that.  I usually don’t dabble in sports games, but golf games translate pretty well to video games and can be very arcade-y and cartoony, so I tend to gravitate to those.  I’m also doing this list in honor of Father’s Day this month as well, since my dad likes to play golf and has enjoyed at least one of the games on this list.  And the games on this list aren’t in any order of preference or anything, so keep that in mind.  OK, let’s tee off!

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Very Very Valet (Switch)

Boy they’ll make a game out of anything nowadays!  There are games where you’re a cook, a lawyer, and now you can play one where you park cars!  Valet parking, more specifically.  Very Very Valet is a madcap multiplayer game where you must drive and park cars, and then deliver them back as quickly as possible.

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Incredible Mandy (PS4, Switch, PC, Mobile)

A brother and sister live in a fantasy world and must solve tricky dungeon puzzles based on their childhood fears.  And I’m assuming the sister’s name is Mandy but I’m not really sure as you play as the brother in this one.  Had I not read the press release before writing this review, I wouldn’t have been able to glean so much information about the story, as it’s not really presented in the game at all.  Something about the boy losing his hand in an accident or something?  I don’t know.  But what I do know is that you play as the boy who wears a metal glove which gives him the power to unsheathe swords of light that you can use to solve puzzles and defeat bosses in Zelda-like 3-D dungeons.  It’s available to download on some current consoles, PC, and mobile devices, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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R-Type Final 2 (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, PC)

R-Type is a classic 2-D side scrolling shooter series that was super popular in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  While these kinds of games were a dime a dozen back then, R-Type stood out with its detailed graphics (at the time), and unique power-up system.  In fact, many consoles back then that had a home port of R-Type would show it off in commercials to demonstrate the power of their system, like the SEGA Master System and Turbo Grafix-16.  Many, many years and sequels later, game maker Irem, creator of R-Type, would release one last game in the series called R-Type Final on the PS2.  Of course it really wasn’t the last in the series, as I do believe they also made a strategy game spin-off.  And even though Irem is sadly no longer in business, R-Type lives on with R-Type Final 2, a sequel nearly 20 years after the last one.  It’s available on most current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Pok Pok Playroom (Mobile)

Pok Pok Playroom is a mobile app with activities for young kids to do.  They’re not really ‘games’ per se, just fun little quiet time things to mess around with.  You pay a monthly subscription and then your kids can play it without ads and you don’t need to go on the Internet to play, so that’s nice.  There are no words so kids can play with no help from parents.  Here’s a list of the games on here so far.  I imagine that in the future, they can update it with more activities.  But for now there are six things to do.  Since there are no words, I gave each activity my own names, just so you know.

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Fire: Ungh’s Quest (Switch, PC)

Ungh is a caveman who is in charge of guarding the fire for his village.  When he falls asleep and lets it burn out, the village elder kicks him out and now Ungh must find more fire.  Shortly after, he comes across a magical tree with seeds that can teleport him all over the Stone Age, but they scatter so now Ungh must search for those seeds and ultimately, a new fire.  Fire: Ungh’s Quest is a really odd, wordless animated point and click adventure style game.  It’s available on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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I Helped Make Some Videos

Hey folks, I just wanted to let you all know that I helped make some YouTube videos!  Now, I didn’t help out THAT much, but I think I did enough that it’s worth sharing here.  The videos that I helped with were a two part series on the history of Pac-Man…because of course I would!  I hate to brag too much and make brazen statements and things like that, but I think it’s safe to say that if someone is going to make a video on the history of Pac-Man, they really should consult with me first.  Again, sorry to make such bold statements, but I think I’m probably one of the biggest Pac-Man fans out there.  If you think you’re a bigger Pac-Man fan than I am, please let me know!  I’d love to hear about other big Pac-fans!  Anyway, so in this blog I wanted to share the videos I helped make, as well as how I got involved and exactly what I did.

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Graviter (Switch, PC)

You are a red ball…planet…alien…thing…out in space, but luckily you have your beloved space kitten (complete with little spacesuit) to keep you company.  But one day a bad black hole monster comes and takes your kitten away from you!  Oh no!  You then find a trail of rainbow colored paw prints.  Could these lead you back to your feline friend?  In Graviter, you’ll use planets to affect your gravity as you fling and swing your way to collect all the pawprints in a level.  This physics and gravity based puzzler is available on Nintendo Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Biphase (Mobile, PC)

Play as a character made up of shapes in this 2-D jumping puzzle game for mobile devices and PC (reviewed on iPad here).  Each time you jump in this game, the background colors change from red to black, and you can land on the opposite color.  Use this simple skill to reach the exit in every level.  Supposedly this game was made to promote awareness of bipolar disorder, but had I not read the press release beforehand, I would never have known.  I think there is a story about it in text before every level, but it flashes by so fast I couldn’t read it.  Proceeds from the game go to helping out the cause, but since the game is free with no ads, I don’t know how that works either.

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