Favorite new game: Prune. It’s on sale in the app store this week. Gorgeous graphics. You lop off branches to train your trees around obstacles and into rays of light, where they burst into bloom.
The soothing music and mellow gameplay were a peaceful way to pass the time during the boy’s MRI yesterday, after I’d gotten annoyed with my attempt to sketch the waiting room. (Scott can read during that kind of wait. Me…not so much. My attention goes sparking off in all directions.)
(The MRI is an annual event for our boy. Nothing to be alarmed about.) 🙂
December 12, 2014 @ 8:30 am | Filed under: Games, Poetry
I struck a deal with the kids: for every new app or game I buy them, they must each memorize a poem. So far, so fabulous. Huck, my little iPad junkie, is shaping up to be a regular minstrel by the time he’s twenty. 🙂
Chris Barton, author of many excellent children’s books including that Peterson family favorite, Shark vs. Train, is celebrating the impending launch of his newest book, Attack! Boss! Cheat Code!, by interviewing other authors about their relationship with video games. Today it’s my turn. I had a blast (Asteroids reference, get it?) answering his questions. You know how I love me my games. 🙂
CB: What games did you play the most when you were a kid? What did you love about them?
MW: We got an Atari 2600 when I was around 8th or 9th grade. I. LOVED. THAT. THING. Fave game: Adventure. The way the dragons curled up when you stabbed them! I went through a whole blissful nostalgia-binge not long ago, revisiting Adventure on a desktop version. It’s amazing the wave of feelings it conjures up. That exhilaration of discovery; the happy state of tension I love in a game.
Naturally I had to give a big shoutout to Glitch, the best game of all time (sniff).
Sprig Box contents, before we devoured them. Rose totally wants a subscription to this.
The Earworms app continues to be a great vehicle for Rose and Beanie’s German studies. They can now order a beer in any German restaurant with complete confidence.
We spent much of yesterday morning cataloguing the contents of a number of monthly subscription boxes for a big GeekMom series I’m doing—services like Knoshbox, Wonder Box, BabbaBox, La Bella Box, and a bunch more. BEST JOB EVER. Rilla spent all afternoon busy with art projects from the various kids’ boxes. I developed an immediate and passionate addiction to the Just Good snack mix in the photo, thanks to Sprig Box. ::shakes fist at Sprig Box:: ::kisses Sprig Box::
Of course the best part of the day, the best part of any day in which it occurs, was the reading of Miss Suzy, which I really think my be my favorite October book. Not that it’s only an October book, but that seems to be when I think of pulling it out. (The best part of my Miss Suzy post is when the author’s granddaughter leaves a comment!)
The girls finished Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (the Wii game) yesterday—a feat years in the making. “I still remember the day the package arrived,” said Rose. “Cold and rainy and miserable. And then suddenly we were in that lovely village, throwing chickens.” (Cue gales of laughter from Bean.)
I grew up in a house that wasn’t comfortable with RPG’s, but I think our boys would love it. Any other suggestions for the 8-12 crowd?
Yes! Do you know the Munchkin game? It’s a card game based on RPG mechanics—a great choice for when you want the fun and flavor of a role-playing game but don’t have time to embark on an elaborate campaign. This just may be my favorite non-electronic game because it doesn’t require elaborate setup and inevitably becomes a total laughter-fest. Like this moment last year:
Playing a lot of Munchkin and laughing our fool heads off. I will long savor that sweet, sweet moment when I demolished my dear daughters by whipping out a Doppelganger card I’d been secretly holding—and thereby destroying the Level 20 Dragon (+5 Intelligence) they teamed up to sic on me. Because nothing says “gentle motherhood” like wielding a Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment against the team effort of one’s children.
Okay, so…bloody dismemberment, yeah. The art on the cards is cartoonish, no gore. But the way you best your opponents is by playing weapon cards or casting spells against the monsters they send your way (or that you bump into on your imaginary dungeon crawl). So I know this one won’t be every parent’s cup of tea. But we really love it. Along the way you get cards that transform you into an elf, dwarf, halfling, etc; and there are “class” cards that give you special abilities: wizard, thief, cleric. Standard D&D categories. (Or you can go for the Space Munchkin deck that pits you against aliens, or the Pirate version, or a bunch of other variations. You can even mix and match decks.)
Turns consist of drawing cards, “kicking down the door” to encounter treasure or monsters, and generally trying to throw as many perils at your opponents as possible. 🙂
One big caveat for parents: a few of the cards are a bit on the bawdy side. I previewed the deck in advance and quietly disappeared five or six that I deemed inappropriate for my young girls. The game works fine without them.
I’ve also heard great things about rpgKids—a simplified-for-young-children version of a dungeons-and-monsters-based role-playing games. It’s been on my radar to take a closer look at, but I haven’t ordered it yet. Which is silly, because the rule system is only $3 to download. If any of you decide to give that one a try, I’d love to hear what you think.
We spent most of yesterday morning laughing our fool heads off over my pathetic drawings in round after round of Draw Something. It’s like Pictionary on your phone or iPad. Years ago, gosh, maybe as long as TEN years ago, I used to play a lot of iSketch with a group of friends—that too was like Pictionary, but you drew with your mouse. Very tricky. Drawing with my finger in Draw Something is only marginally easier. But oh such fun.
One of the friends I’m playing with happens to be a professional comic book artist. His pictures are, as you can imagine, quite wonderful: comical works of art. I draw stick figures; he produces fully colored masterpieces. One of the game’s best features is that you watch your opponent’s (partner’s? it’s not a competitive game) drawing in real time. I’m sure this becomes tedious for my partners, as they watch me begin and delete attempt after attempt to produce a recognizable “butcher” or “runway” or “Angelina Jolie.” For my kids and me, watching the replay on our end, this game provides a spectacular peek into the mind of an artist.
Speaking of: here’s a clip Scott shared on Facebook today. Delightful and rather dazzling: Chuck Jones demonstrates how to draw Bugs Bunny. “If you’re going to draw Bugs, the best way is to learn how to draw a carrot, and then you can just hook a rabbit onto it. Simplicity itself.” Oh, so THAT’S how you do it.
“The students ranged from gifted to near-drop-outs. They wrote their own curriculum, took no tests, worked independently and collaboratively, and designed from the ground up how and what they would learn for a semester. By all accounts, their efforts were a huge success.”