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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The Games of the Namcot Collection (Switch Import)

A few months ago, we got a couple of downloadable only collections of Namco NES and Famicom games.  I even wrote about them, which you can read here.  But did you know that in Japan, they got a physical copy of the game on the Switch, and that it had different games and a new interface?  I actually imported this game because it was only 30 bucks, which isn’t bad for an import title.  So let’s take a look at this collection and what makes it different from the ones we got in the US!

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Ary and the Secret of Seasons (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a 3-D platformer action adventure game that hearkens back to the PS2 days and is similar to titles like Jak & Daxter.  The story is kind of a cross between Mulan and Avatar: The Last Airbender.  You play as Aryelle, a girl who lives with her family in a magical world where people have the power to control the seasons.  These people are called Guardians, and Ary’s brother Flynn is training to become one.  But when Flynn goes missing and is presumed dead, their father is stricken with grief and it’s up to Ary to cut her hair, put on her brother’s uniform, and take his place to find Flynn and solve the mystery of why dark crystals are raining down upon the land.  The game is available on most current game consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Connection Haunted (Switch, PC)

You’re about to connect to a server to boot up a classic FPS styled capture the flag game.  But when you start, nobody is around to play.  When someone else finally shows up, they don’t say anything in the chat and you can’t see them anywhere at first.  Then mysterious shadows appear that can take you out of the game!  Are the servers haunted?  It’s up to you to find out in this psychological thriller disguised as a first person shooter from the early 2000’s era.  It’s available on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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High Score: A Review and Retrospective on the Netflix Series

Recently, Netflix launched High Score, a new documentary series on the history of video games.  I thought it was entertaining enough that I wanted to discuss and review it here on this blog.  So here’s my thoughts on the six episode series!

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Super-Skill Pinball (Boardgame)

Super-Skill Pinball is a great example of how a boardgame’s mechanics and theme can be interwoven to produce a gaming experience that gives the “feel” of the original theme.  Playing the roll and write boardgame Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade feels like playing a pinball.  Someone rolls a pair of dice and then players use either die to record the movement of their pinball on their personal dry-erase game board, marking off locations as they are “hit.”  Eventually, a player will “lose” their ball off the bottom of the board and will need to start again.  After everyone has played through three balls, players total up their accumulated points to record a winner.  

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Mini Motor Racing X (Switch, PS4, PC)

Race pocket toy cars on bite-sized tracks in Mini Motor Racing X.  The strength of this game is its versatility and many ways to play and view the action.  It’s available on Switch, PS4, and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Spinch (Switch, PC)

What if colors were alive and needed to eat to survive?  And their favorite food was a little white ball creature called a Spinch.  Play as a Spinch as you run, jump, and dash to avoid colors out to get you in this psychedelic super challenging 2-D platformer.  It’s available to download on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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PAX Online 2020

The Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX for short, is one of the largest video game conventions open to the public.  Unfortunately, the flagship show, PAX West in Seattle, had to be cancelled this year because of COVID.  So instead, they created PAX Online, which was all last week.  Virtual showgoers could watch videos of upcoming games, and even try demos of some of them on Steam and Xbox Live.  I got a virtual press pass to the event, so here’s an article about the show.

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Ninjala (Switch)

There’s a special kind of bubblegum that gives kids ninja powers when they chew it.  Be one of those gum chewing ninja kids in Ninjala, a free-to-play online multiplayer battle game for Nintendo Switch.

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Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC, Apple Arcade)

Samurai Jack was one of Cartoon Network’s most unique, artful, and beloved action cartoons.  A heroic samurai from feudal Japan battles a shapeshifting demon named Aku.  But Aku sends the samurai into a time portal to the future where Aku reigns supreme.  The first person who sees the samurai in the future calls him “Jack,” so that’s the name he goes by here.  Now Samurai Jack must find a way back to the past so he can defeat Aku for good.  The cool thing about the cartoon is that it actually had an ending, although it took it long enough to get there.  Nearly two decades after the initial run, they added one last season on Adult Swim that was a bit darker and bloodier, but Jack FINALLY beat Aku!  This new video game takes place when Jack and his love interest Ashi are in the portal going to the past.  Aku has one final trick up his sleeve and grabs Jack and sends him to a place between time and space where he must fight familiar foes.  Flimsy story aside, it’s a great way for fans to relive their favorite scenes, enemies, and friends in this 3-D action game.  Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is available on nearly anything you can play a game on, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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