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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9 Monkeys of Shaolin (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

In ancient China, Wei Cheng is a fisherman who uses martial arts with a staff to protect his village from pirates.  One day the pirates get the better of him and his grandfather goes missing.  Left for dead, Wei Cheng is found by monks who take him back to their temple and heal him.  Now he must learn new skills from the monks so he can seek revenge on the pirates.  9 Monkeys of Shaolin is a classic styled side scrolling beat ‘em up with RPG and story elements, and it’s available on nearly all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Mario Kart Live Home Circuit (Switch)

Did you know there was a new Mario Kart game this year?  Yeah it kind of flew under the radar and was also kind of hard to get.  So when I was a kid, sometimes for Christmas I’d get an RC car and really liked them.  You know another thing that I like?  Mario Kart!  In fact, the original Super Mario Kart on the SNES is still one of my top five favorite games of all time.  So what do you get when you combine the fun of driving real life RC cars with the wackiness of Mario Kart video games?  You get Mario Kart Live Home Circuit.  It’s an RC car of Mario or Luigi (I got the Luigi one because he’s way cooler than Mario).  On the car there is a camera, and you control the car with the Switch and view the action in first person with the camera as you play a Mario Kart game with augmented reality.  You can even design your own tracks!  It’s a really cool idea, but is it practical and really worth the 100 bucks?  Well you’ll just have to read on to find out!

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Wunderling (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

Lowly minions in 2-D platformers don’t get much love, as they get stomped on constantly by overalled plumbers and other adventurers.  But what if you got to PLAY as one of these downtrodden foes?  Well that’s exactly what happens in Wunderling.  The ‘heroic’ Carrot Man is on a quest to save Princess Pea in the Vegetable Kingdom.  He’s stolen a magic stick that can make portals appear, and one of the first things he does is stomp a walking squash enemy flat.  An evil witch comes along and brings the squashed squash underling back to life, but he really can’t do much since he can only walk back and forth.  So the witch gives him the power to jump!  Now you get to control the minion, who not only constantly walks forward until he hits a wall and changes direction, but can also jump over obstacles!  It’s kind of like an endless runner except it has actual gameplay, and for such a challenging title, it’s pretty fun!  Wunderling is available on nearly all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Pinball FX3: Williams Pinball Volume 6 (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC, Mobile)

For many years, Zen Studios has been making original video pinball tables for their Pinball FX and Zen Pinball outlets.  Now they’re tackling real life classic pinball machines in video form from the Williams and Bally lineups.  Volume 6 of this set includes three more tables, all from the late 80s.  To play them, first you need to download the Pinball FX3 hub (available for most current consoles, PC, and mobile devices, but reviewed on PS4 here).  And then you can buy and download table sets.

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The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Loot Box

Link’s Awakening is my number one favorite Zelda game.  In fact, last year I named the Switch remake my Game of the Year in 2019.  So a couple of months ago on my birthday, I was happy to get a loot box with stuff from that game!  Let’s take a look and see what’s in it!

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Unplugged: Oceans (Boardgame)

Players take on the role of ocean gatherers, hunters, and scavengers in this card game of species evolving and jostling for survival in the ocean blue. A spiritual successor to the Evolution line of games, Oceans takes the game in a slightly more strategic direction, as a slightly faster flow, and favors a slightly less aggressive style of play. Whereas Evolution provided food to players at a regular rate, Oceans leaves the management of available food in the players’ hands. A great compliment to Evolution, gamers who like the former should like the new game but will have to decide if they are different enough to keep both on the shelf. As a special bonus for reading this far, I’ll note that Oceans (Oceans Board Game Lite) is available as a free app you can play on your phone! Give it a download and see whether you need to run out and buy a copy of the game for Christmas.

Oceans

Publisher: NorthStar Games
Ages: 12+
Players: 2-4
Time: 60-90 mins
(Review copy provided by North Star Games)

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Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

I grew up as a kid in the 80s, and one of the things I remember being SUPER POPULAR for a while was the Rubik’s Cube puzzle toy.  It was everywhere, and everyone had it.  It was so big that at one point, there was a Saturday morning cartoon about it.  I’m not kidding, go look it up after reading this review.  It’s crazy!  And now, 40 years later, you can play a video game and exercise your brain with puzzles based on the 80’s icon.  Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness is available on most current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Cook, Serve, Delicious 3?! (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

The tough-as-nails cooking sim is back!  In the last game I reviewed, you cooked food in restaurants inside a high rise building, from a lowly stall in a food court all the way up to a swanky establishment.  And now you’re taking it on the road with food trucks in the sequel.  Cook, Serve, Delicious 3?! is available for nearly all current game consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Space Invaders Forever (PS4, Switch)

I love classic arcade games, and you can’t get much more classic than Space Invaders!  So I was excited to review Space Invaders Forever.  It’s a collection of three notable games in the Space Invaders series, and it’s great that they’re some of my favorite iterations of the franchise as well!  It’s available on PS4 and Switch, but reviewed on PS4 here.  Let’s take a look at the games on this compilation!

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Rusty Spout Rescue Adventure (Switch, Xbox One)

One of my top three favorite puzzle games is Puzzle Bobble, also called Bust-A-Move in the US, although I prefer the former name.  My other two favorites are Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo and plain ol’ Tetris.  Anyway, in Puzzle Bobble, you aim and fire colored bubbles to the top of the screen to match three or more so they’ll disappear.  If that sounds familiar, it’s because the game is also one of the most copied puzzlers on mobile devices.  Makes me wonder if Taito wishes they would’ve gotten a stricter copyright on their creation.  Anyway, while you see many imitators on mobile devices, you don’t really see any on consoles.  But now there is one with Rusty Spout Rescue Adventure.  It’s available on Switch and Xbox One, but reviewed on Switch here.  Help the good pirate bird Rusty Spout stop the evil demon pirate from kidnapping children from Rusty’s home village…by popping bubbles.  Yeah these kinds of games really don’t need a story, do they?

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