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: The Battle at Kemble’s Cascade (Boardgame)

Kembles boxBoardgames have turned into video games (see Civilization) and video games have made their way into a boardgames (Doom, Starcraft, Age of Empires III). To my knowledge, The Battle at Kemble’s Cascade is the first boardgame designed to capture the nostalgia of playing an old arcade scrolling shooter. Yes, in the game each player controls a fighter pilot desperately trying to defeat enemy ships and collect powerups while avoiding enemy fire. There is even a boss battle at the end, don’t expect to get through the game without using up several of your (albeit unlimited) lives. As a boardgame, Kemble’s Cascade may not quite appeal to the typical strategy boardgamer, but to gamers who remember the arcade shooter genre fondly it manages to recreate much of the experience in boardgame form.

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2nd Opinion: LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Wii U, 3DS, PS3, PS4, Vita, 360, Xbox One, PC)

LEGOBATMAN_BOXBrainiac has hypnotized several members of the super hero Lantern force, and now plans to take over the Justice League and the Earth!  But not if Batman and Robin have anything to say about it!  Play as the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder as they team up with other DC heroes and even villains in this newest entry in the LEGO Batman series.  It’s available for all of the current game consoles, but reviewed on Wii U here.

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8-bit Christmas Wreath Decoration

WREATHI’ve had this wreath hanging outside my cubicle all month (yes I do have a day job), so I thought I’d share it with you.  It’s a video game themed Christmas wreath I ordered on a Web site called ThinkGeek.com.  Click here for a closer shot.

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Costume Quest 2 (PS3, PS4, Wii U, 360, Xbox One, PC)

COSTUME_BOXA few years ago, Double Fine crafted a turn-based RPG with an unusual premise revolving around kids wearing costumes and trick or treating for candy at Halloween.  So what better way to celebrate the Christmas season than with a review of the sequel!  Hey, it worked for Nightmare Before Christmas, right?  To be fair, Costume Quest 2 was released a few days before Halloween, but I’ve been pretty busy and just now got a chance to review it.  Anyway, the sequel takes place right where the original left off.  After saving Halloween in the first game and in the expansion pack: Grubbins on Ice, brother and sister Wren and Reynold are ready to take the portal home.  When they get back, Halloween is saved, but the two kids notice their dentist, Dr. White, sneaking around.  They follow him and find him talking to a mysterious Time Wizard, and then he jumps through a time portal.  Just then, the kids’ costumes and candy and all of Halloween disappear!  Now it’s up to the two siblings to travel in time to the past and future, get their costumes back, and prevent the evil dentist from ridding the world of candy and Halloween forever!  Costume Quest 2 is available to download on most current gen consoles, but reviewed on PS3 here.

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Just Dance 2015 (Wii, Wii U, PS3, PS4, 360, XBox One)

Just_Dance_2015 boxJust Dance hopped onto the Wii scene near the end of the peak of music-centered videogames like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. They’re still around, but the Just Dance series, with its lack of custom peripherals, seems to have more staying power than many of the previous music based games. The 2015 edition of Just Dance has everything users have come to expect from the series, with just a few new online-focused features. A no-brainer purchase for fans, and a decent starting point for interested newcomers.

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Hola! Amiibos! (Wave 1)

AMIIBO_LOGORiding on the popularity of other toys connectable to video games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity, Nintendo has made their own action figures that connect to their games.  These new toys from Nintendo are called Amiibos, and the first wave was recently released, fashioned after some of the popular characters from Super Smash Bros.  So what do these Amiibo do, and what’re they all about?  Well, I have them all (yes I am insane), so keep on reading if you want to learn more.

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Toad’s Top Five

toadToad is my favorite Mario game character.  And he’s probably one of my top five favorite Nintendo characters overall, alongside Kirby, Samus, Princess Zelda, and Captain Syrup.  So in honor of that and the new release of Captain Toad:  Treasure Tracker for Wii U, here is a top five list of my favorite Toad moments in gaming.

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Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom (PS3, 360, 3DS)

ADVENTURE_BOXAdventure Time is one of Cartoon Network’s most popular shows, and I’ve reviewed many games based on the franchise, both on tablets and consoles.  Their newest console adventure was recently released, and in the game, Princess Bubblegum has sent Finn and his stretchy magical dog pal Jake to the Nameless Kingdom to investigate some trouble.  The three princesses of the Nameless Kingdom have gone missing, presumably trapped in maze-like dungeons, and so it’s up to Finn and Jake to set out and rescue them.  Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is a top-down viewed action adventure game very similar to classic Zelda titles, and it is available on PS3, Xbox 360, and 3DS (reviewed on PS3 here).

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Reader Review: Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC)

GEO_BOXMy good friend Leroy loves the Geometry Wars games.  In fact, I think he told me one time that Geometry Wars was one of the main reasons why he bought an Xbox 360!  And he’s really good at it, too!  I bet he could beat anyone one of you reading this at that game.  Or at least hold his own for a long time.  Anyway, because he likes the games so much, I thought he’d be perfect to review the new Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions game.  It’s available for 360, Xbox One, PC, PS3, and PS4, but reviewed on 360 here.

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The Penguins of Madagascar (3DS, Wii U, Wii)

PENGUINS_BOXI love the penguins in the Madagascar movies.  In fact, they’re the only reasons why I watched all three films.  Apparently, I’m not the only one who likes those penguins, because a few years ago they were in a cartoon series on Nickelodeon, and now they have their own feature length movie in theaters.  And now you can join in the adventures of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private as they embark on a mission for their favorite Cheesy Dibbles snacks, and rescue other penguins in the process.  The Penguins of Madagascar video game is based on the new movie, and is available for all current Nintendo consoles, but reviewed on 3DS here.

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