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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Mickey Storm and the Cursed Mask (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)

Mickey Storm and his family are visiting a new water park, but the evil Dr. Fisher kidnaps his parents and now it’s up to Mickey and his sister to save them!  Apparently their parents are also spies, so they’ve left them a backpack with all sorts of gadgets and a flying robot named B.U.D.D.Y. to guide them around the waterslide obstacles and save the day.  Mickey Storm and the Cursed Mask is a 2-D platformer available on most current consoles but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Marsupilami: Hoobaventure (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

Marsupilami is a European comic book character who is a fictional animal with leopard like spots and a trademark super long tail.  And he says “Hooba” a lot.  Die-hard Disney Afternoon fans like myself might remember some trailer bumpers advertising the block with Marsupilami spelling out the Disney Afternoon logo with his tail.  And I remember Marsupilami having some shorts on the Saturday Morning Raw Toonage show (but I think they were pretty annoying).  But that’s all the notoriety that character has had in the US.  But in Europe he’s had comics, multiple cartoons, a movie, and tons of merchandise.  And now he has his own video game, a 2-D platformer very similar to Donkey Kong Country.  In the game, an evil pirate skeleton thing has hypnotized all the animals, and now it’s up to Marsupilami to stop him!  The game is available on most current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Inspector Waffles (Switch, PS4, PC)

Waffles is a cat who lives in a world full of anthropomorphic animals, but mostly cats and dogs.  He’s an inspector who works for a local police station, but has been downtrodden after his last big case went south.  Now a nearby cat, Fluffy, has been murdered and Waffles is on the beat again.  With his newfound partner, snifferdog Spotty, will Waffles be able to solve the case and get back on his feet again?  You’ll find out in Inspector Waffles, a point and click adventure mystery game.  It’s available to download on Switch, PS4, and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Castle on the Coast (Switch, PC)

Meet George the Giraffe!  He has blue hearts for spots and is the mascot of Valley Children’s Healthcare, a hospital in California.  And now he’s starring in his own 3-D platformer!  This game was designed for children to play while healing at the hospital, and some of the proceeds from the game will go to the establishment.  In the game, George explores an old castle where wizards live.  He’ll make friends with wizards and try to figure out why some of them are being mean.  Tromp around the winding halls of the sprawling castle, explore crystal caves and stunt areas and warp to alternate dimensions via stained glass windows.  Castle on the Coast is available to download on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

In the distant past, long before streaming services and 24-hour cartoon channels, there was a thing called Saturday Morning Cartoons.  Kids back then, me included, looked forward to this time because it was one of the only times TV was made just for kids.  And as a child of the 80s, one of the most popular of these cartoons I remember was The Smurfs.  Originally a European comic strip, The Smurfs gained popularity in the US from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon.  I was never a super big fan of it, but I watched it anyway because, one, kids will watch pretty much anything.  And two, it came on right before the Pac-Man cartoon.  In recent years, The Smurfs have had a bit of a resurgence with a handful of computer animated movies and specials, and a new series on Nickelodeon.  And now there’s a new Smurfs 3-D platformer game.  In Mission Vileaf, the evil wizard Gargamel has created a plant that can capture Smurfs and lead him to their hidden village.  But luckily, Handy Smurf has invented the Smurfizer, a backpack spray gun that can destroy the plants and restore the vegetation that the Vileaf has contaminated.  Now it’s up to Hefty, Brainy, Smurfette, and more to use the Smurfizer to de-contaminate their forest home and stop Gargamel’s plans.  The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf is available on most current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Pups and Purrs Animal Hospital (Switch, PS4)

Become an up and coming veterinarian and take care of cats and dogs in Pups and Purrs Animal Hospital.  It’s kind of a cross between Nintendogs and Cooking Mama in that you play mini-games to take care of pets.  The game is available on Switch and PS4, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Mastho is Together (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

According to the press release for this game, you are a sugar-free marshmallow.  Wait, does such a thing exist?  Aren’t marshmallows just pure sugar?  Well after doing a search, apparently they do exist.  Who says video games don’t teach you anything?  Anyway, in this game all you see of yourself is a white square and you must travel through single screen super challenging levels in this 2-D minimalistic platformer.  It’s available on nearly all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

All right folks, I’m about to reveal one of my guilty pleasures.  I like ghost shows.  You know those shows on the Discovery Channel where investigators or ‘ghost hunters’ will explore haunted places to try and find proof of ghosts?  Yeah I know those shows are dumb and probably are over exaggerated and maybe even faked at times.  But I still like ‘em anyway!  I just think ghosts are cool.  But there’s not a whole lot of horror themed video games where you fight ghosts.  It’s usually zombies or something else.  But even though I usually like happy, colorful, kid friendly games, I do have a passing interest in the Fatal Frame series, where you use a special camera to fight ghosts by taking pictures of them.  This series of games goes all the way back to the PS2, and the latest one, Maiden of Black Water, came out on the Wii U.  But now it’s getting a second lease at life as it’s being re-released on nearly every current console, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Holidays with D&D 2021 – School, Dragons, and a Carnival

Wizards of the Coast, makers of the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game, had its sights set for the holiday season releasing three new big books in only four months. There’s a little something for everyone. Strixhaven provides a setting for gamers to play the role of students progressing through four years of a magic school. Fizban’s Treasury is all about dragons – including the return of gem dragons. Finally, Wild Beyond the Witchlight is a low level adventure leading into the fairy-land of the Feywild. Despite the bevy of titles on offer, they each bring something unique to the table and odds are high that at least one would be a great fit for a player or perhaps a GM on your list.

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Super Sami Roll (Switch, PS4, PS5, PC)

You are Sami, a cute little reptile critter who can roll around in a ball and has a long tongue.  An evil business monkey has kidnapped your best friend Vera, and now you must save the day.  Super Sami Roll is a 3D action game similar to Super Monkey Ball, but with platforming elements as well.  It’s available on Switch, current PlayStation consoles, and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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