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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Cartoon Network Match Land (iOS, Android)

Your favorite Cartoon Network characters have gathered for a food festival, but food-based monsters have retaliated so you must team up to stop them in this match three puzzle battle game.  It plays similarly to other games like Puzzle & Dragons, and is a free-to-play download on iOS and Android devices (reviewed on iPad here).  You’ll see characters and restaurants from your favorite new Cartoon Network shows, including Steven Universe, Adventure Time, We Bare Bears, and more!

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Penny-Punching Princess (Switch, PS Vita)

Sometimes you gotta fight the bad guy, but if they’re so bad couldn’t you just pay them off? Penny-Punching Princess has you fighting and bribing your way through the bad guys to reclaim your rightful title, lost by your father’s poor financial skills. It’s an action rouge-like title with the twist that you can bribe enemies (and obstacles) such they they fight for you instead.

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Mowy Lawn (iOS)

Spring is in full force, and for many that means having to mow the lawn again!  Get ready for it by playing this free-to-play mobile game about mowing the lawn.  Yes, really!  There’s a game for everything now!  The graphics and title are probably a parody of another popular mobile game called Crossy Road, but I don’t think they’re both made by the same folks.  Speaking of Crossy Road, if you want to play a good mobile Pac-Man game by the same people who made Crossy Road, then try out Pac-Man 256.

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Spirit Island (Boardgame)

Sometimes the whole metaphorical peanut butter and chocolate combination sneaks up on you and surprises you with you didn’t even know you were missing. Spirit Island, the cooperative settler-destruction strategy game is not for the faint of heart, but it distills nearly all my favorite boardgame elements into a single game. Cooperative game? Check. Asymmetric (each player has different powers) Gameplay ? Check. Deckbuilding? Check. Player Development (increase in power during the game?) Check. Simultaneous player decisions? Check. Multiple scenarios or options for play? Double, Triple, & Quadruple Check. Quick to play, easy to learn, a great fit for any crowd?….. well, you can’t have everything. For gamers willing to put up with a bit of a learning curve (really only a game or two), Spirit Island offers a deeply strategic, cooperative game with plenty of variations to explore.

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Bombslinger (Switch, Xbox One, PC)

A Wild West bank robber has a posse after him, but when they go too far and torch his ranch home and kill his wife, he sets out for revenge by bombing everything in sight.  Run around mazes, placing bombs that explode in four directions to blow up obstacles and defeat enemies.  If this sounds like Bomberman, that’s because it’s nearly EXACTLY like Bomberman, just with a western theme.  It’s available to download on Switch, Xbox One, and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Detective Pikachu amiibo

Detective Pikachu is on the case on the 3DS, and there is an amiibo figure to go with the game, too (sold separately).  I managed to get both the game and the amiibo figure, though, so let’s take a look at them.

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NMBR 9 (Boardgame)

With the blocky-ness of Minecraft and Roblox, why not a boardgame with blocky numbers from 0 to 9? NMBR 9 has players stacking up number tiles on top of each other to reach a high score. Tiles are worth more the higher they are in the stack, but numbers can only be stacked if they are completely supported by tiles underneath. NMBR 9 is a great little relaxing game with simple rules and since players are always building on their own number stack there is no antagonistic play.

 

 

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Octahedron (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Late one night, a man ventures from his log cabin into the woods.  In the middle of the forest he finds a giant glowing floating Octahedron.  An Octahedron is a 3-D 8-sided shape.  I didn’t know that until I played this game.  And who says video games aren’t educational?  Anyway, instead of running away from it like a sane person would do, this man does something stupid and actually touches it.  Then he starts glowing and his head turns into an Octahedron, and he falls through an abyss in the ground.  Honestly I don’t think this kind of game needs a background story, but there you go.  In the game, you are a glowing stick man and must jump through 2-D vertically scrolling platform levels.  But you have a unique skill that can help you out.  You can create platforms under your feet so you can jump higher and bypass obstacles.  Octahedron is available to download on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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My Arcade BurgerTime Micro Player

 

 

The nostalgia factor is strong over here at GamerDad. It is hard to get more nostalgic than an upright coin-operated arcade machine. While the dream of owning your own arcade may be hard to achieve, you can create a little mini-arcade on your desk using the line of arcade Micro Players by Data East. While the current crop of available titles is pretty slim (BurgerTime reviewed here) they make an excellent desk toy that is attractive, working arcade cabinet.

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Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (Switch, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, PC)

Ever since the very first game on Game Boy Color (which I still have), I’ve always been a fan of the Shantae game series.  And now my second favorite game in the series is now on Nintendo Switch!  (my first favorite is still the original game).  So here’s a quick review of Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse.  In the game, you play as Shantae, a half-human, half-genie who uses her powers to protect her home of Scuttle Town.  But in the previous game, she was stripped of her genie powers by her arch rival, female pirate Risky Boots.  But now Risky has come back with a proposition for Shantae: help her dispel the pirate’s curse that has taken Risky’s crew, and Shantae may get her powers back.  So now Shantae and Risky must work together in this 2-D platform game adventure.

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