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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Epic Encounters (Tabletop RPG)

Tabletop role playing is at an all time high, as one can see by the major kerfuffle over the Dungeons and Dragons brand last month. (The publisher was going to restrict 3rd party content creators but then had to backtrack due to fierce protest.) Where there are players, there are opportunities to jazz up one’s game. The folks over at Steamforged Games decided to use their experience in producing miniatures-heavy boardgames and apply it to the tabletop role playing experience. The result is Epic Encounters, a line of ready-to-play encounters containing everything needed for a great in-person gaming experience. Each box contains figurines, a double-sided fold-out map, and a booklet that gives suggestions for setting up and running the encounter.  

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Buddy Simulator 1984 (Switch, PC)

When I was a kid back in the early 80s, our first computer was an Apple ][+.  It was really my first gaming ‘console’ and I played a lot of games on it.  Most were arcade titles like Pac-Man, Zaxxon, and Frogger, but there were also some original ones like Spare Change and Aquatron.  But the way you started these games was totally different than how you do it now.  Back then you had to enter a floppy disk in and type in some text like ‘run’ and then whatever game you wanted to play.  Some of these games were just text only, too.  And some of those text only games simulated you having a conversation with a person.  I remember one called “Freud” where it was like you were talking to a psychiatrist.  But the main thing I remember about that game was the blocky face of a bearded man.  Another one I remember later was called “Alice.”  Well Buddy Simulator 1984 aims to recreate the feel of those games, while adding in some unsettling AI horror elements as well.  It’s available on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Trifox (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

A band of nasty animal pirates have ransacked a fox’s home and stolen his remote control.  But luckily this is one clever fox and must use skills from a warrior, mage, and engineer to take back his stuff!  Mix and match various abilities to defeat enemies, bypass obstacles, and solve puzzles in this 3-D adventure.  It also has a bit of a retro vibe as it feels like something that would’ve been on the PS2.  Trifox is available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Cary’s Best Games of 2022 Awards Show!

It’s the end of the year so you know what that means?  It’s time for my “Best Games of 2022 Awards Show!”  Keep in mind that this is my list only and no other outside opinions contributed.  And if a game isn’t on this list, it either just didn’t appeal to me as much or I haven’t had a chance to play it yet.  Ok with that out of the way, let’s begin!

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Papetura (Switch, PC)

In a world made entirely out of paper, a shadowy being enters with the power of fire.  That’s pretty dangerous in a world like this, so it’s up to a living sheet of paper and his weird friends to stop the shadow presence and save the day.  Papetura is a 2-D puzzle adventure game where everything was made from paper in real life, then scanned into the game so it’s very artistic.  It’s available on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Arctictopia (Switch, PC, Mobile)

A mama polar bear and her cub are exploring the ice, but it starts to melt and break up and separates them!  Help the mama polar bear reach her cub by hopping on constantly melting icebergs in this very “chill” puzzle platformer.  It’s available on Switch, PC, and mobile devices, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Chained Echoes (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

Chained Echoes is a 2-D RPG modeled after the 16-bit classics I used to love, like Chrono Trigger and such.  The storyline is a bit convoluted, but it involves three kingdoms on the brink of war, ancient stones that house world destroying monsters, mech suits, and a rag-tag team of adventurers who will end up saving the world.  It’s available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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That’s a Cow (Switch, Mobile)

That’s a Cow is a silly, continuous runner where you propel your cow forward by having it squirt milk like some kind of dairy jetpack.  You can also squirt obstacles and enemies, too, as you collect coins and apples.  It’s available on Switch and mobile devices, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Dwarven Skykeep (PC, MacOS)

Dwarven Skykeep has you hire dwarves to build and defend your tower. However, you can’t choose your options willy-nilly. You may only construct rooms and use abilities offered from cards drawn from your preconstructed deck. Part sim management, part real-time strategy, Dwarven Skykeep will appeal to real-time strategy gamers who like to adapt to changes on the fly.

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Chalk Gardens (Switch, PC)

Kids love playing with chalk outside on the sidewalk, and there have even been cartoons based on that idea, like Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings from the 70s and Nickelodeon’s Chalk Zone.  And now you can play a game about that, too, with Chalk Gardens on Switch and PC (reviewed on Switch here).  A child’s favorite stuffed toy has lost its leg, and now you must help them find it.  Explore a world of chalk drawings and provide solutions to problems to open up paths to reach new areas.

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