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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Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (3DS)

SONIC_BOXStrange fissures have appeared in the Sonic Boom world, and while trying to seal them up, Sonic and Amy discover that the radiation from the fissures has affected their armband communicators, and now allows the team to have fire and ice attacks.  Using their new abilities, Sonic and Co. must track down the source of the fissures (most likely Dr. Eggman), and save their world from strange weather anomalies in this 2-D platforming adventure based on the computer animated TV show.

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Dragon Quest Builders (PS4, Vita, PS3)

dragon_quest_builders_packshot_us-minDragon Quest Builders mixes the classic Japanese RPG game with the sandbox elements of Minecraft. Combined, they create a story-oriented game that focuses on exploration, combat, and world building. By harvesting resources through exploration and combat, you must use your unique “builder” abilities to save the kingdom. Along the way, you encounter new characters who will join you in your self-made expanding village. Dragon Quest Builders provides Dragon Quest fans a unique take on the Dragon Quest realm (known as Dragon Warriors in the U.S.) and it provides Minecraft (or Terraria) fans a more story focused game. Like combining peanut butter or chocolate, fans of either should find the combination pleasing to the palate.
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LEGO Dimensions Mission Impossible Level Pack

LEGOMI1The first Mission Impossible movie came out way back in 1996.  I remember watching it, and it was a decent action flick, but it didn’t compel me to watch any of the sequels.  Plus, even though the TV show it was based on was a little before my time, I seem to remember it focusing more on teamwork between the agents, while the movie was just “Tom Cruise Does Everything.”  But the movie was certainly popular enough to spawn sequels.  And now, your mission, if you choose to build it, is to check out the Mission Impossible Level Pack for LEGO Dimensions.  The game is available for nearly all current game consoles, but reviewed on Wii U here.

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Wayward Sky (PS VR)

wayward-sky-listing-thumb-01-ps4u-s-04oct16Touted as a Playstation exclusive, Wayward Sky is a fun little puzzle game that shows off the Playstation VR technology in a beginner friendly format. The game plays like a mix of a standard puzzle video game somehow mixed into a 3D dollhouse sized setting. It provides a fun puzzle experience that isn’t demanding but does show off the 3D aspects of the technology while staying away from experiences that might cause motion sickness. While the game is short, playable in just a few hours, it provides an excellent experience throughout. It holds up as one of the best “beginner” games for the PS VR release, an excellent fit for family-friendly gaming.
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Pirate Pop Plus (Wii U, 3DS)

PIRATE_BOXThanks to the success of games like Shovel Knight, there are now many others out there trying to recreate the charm and look of older 8-bit titles.  But hardly any attention is given to the monochrome handheld look of what was on the original Game Boy.  That is until now, with Pirate Pop Plus.  It looks like something out of that era, and even the border looks like the sides of a handheld!  In the game, Pete Jr. finds that the Bubble Pirate has trapped villagers in bubbles, and it’s up to you to pop them with your anchor in this game that plays very similarly to arcade classic Buster Bros. (also called Pang in some parts of the world).  It’s available as a cross-buy for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS, meaning if you buy it on one system, you can download it on the other without having to pay for it again.  Pirate Pop Plus is reviewed on the Wii U here.

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World of Final Fantasy (PS4, Vita)

FF_BOXWhen I was a kid (well I guess it was more like high school), I was really into role-playing video games.  I started playing them on the 8-bit Nintendo with titles like Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy, but I didn’t really get into them until the 16-bit era.  And then I was hooked.  Games like Final Fantasy 4, Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Super Mario RPG, Lufia 2, and many others took up most of my gaming time back then.  But when the 32-bit days came along, I kind of got out of the loop.  College and other commitments kept me from playing RPGs for long hours like I used to, but also the newer RPGs kind of grew up, but my tastes in games didn’t.  Sure I would find a few here and there that would interest me, like Final Fantasy 9, Tales of Legendia, and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, but it’s definitely not like how it used to be.  That’s why World of Final Fantasy makes me so happy.  It’s like Square-Enix went back and made a Final Fantasy game just for me! (Vita version reviewed here)

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World of Final Fantasy Strategy Guide

FFGUIDE1This game may look cute and cuddly, but World of Final Fantasy can be quite challenging sometimes.  In this monster gathering and battling RPG, if you don’t go into the fight with the right strategy, you might find yourself toppled over—literally!  Luckily there’s the World of Final Fantasy Strategy Guide from Prima Games.  When I was a kid, I used to enjoy the older Final Fantasy games, and would pour over the printed guides when I wasn’t playing.  This guide made me feel like a kid again while reading it, so let’s take a look inside together!

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20 Years of Tomb Raider (Book)

LARA1One of video game’s most popular female icons turns 20 this year.  Makes me feel old, how about you?  To celebrate, Prima Games has put together an awesome hardcover book with more than 300 pages featuring the Tomb Raider games, the fans, and Lara Croft herself.

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Dragon Quest Builders Standard Edition Guide

DQBUILD1I played Dragon Quest Builders at PAX West this year and it was one of my favorite games of the show.  It’s basically a combination of Dragon Quest and Minecraft.  Those two game series are very robust, so you know you’ll need a comprehensive guide if you get stuck or don’t want to miss out on secrets.  Luckily Prima Games has you covered with the Dragon Quest Builders strategy guide!  Let’s take a look inside and see what’s all in there!

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Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure (3DS)

GURUMIN_BOXSony’s PSP was one of the few times (other than the Neo Geo Pocket Color), that I was lured away from Nintendo’s handheld juggernaut for a bit.  The PSP had a lot of great games, and my top five include Loco Roco 1 & 2, Mega Man Powered Up, Half-Minute Hero, Ys Seven, and Gurumin.  Fortunately, that last game on my list is now available as a downloadable title for the Nintendo 3DS.  Best of all, even ten years later the game is just as enjoyable as I remember it being.

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