In this week’s news that should have come out last calendar year, a recent study found that parents have reported benefits of Pokémon GO with their kids, aside from the obvious clout of catching ’em all.
A small-scale, qualitative survey out of the University of Washington found that parents reported spending more quality time and engaging in more conversation with their kids – in particular, fathers of girls, mothers of boys and parents of teenagers. No word in the study if parents reported the elation of hatching a fully-evolved Charizard from a 10km egg.
The holidays are a time of family. Awkward family you haven’t seen in foreves. I mean, sure, you follow them on Facebook, but once you’ve covered the catching-up phase, what do you do?
My suggestion: make the holidays a time of family gaming. I think you can, and I think it’s easy. But it’s not a one-size fits all approach. There are plenty of great board games, card games and video games out for folks of all ages – and with a little forethought, you can be the hero that emcees the whole thing.
Here are some suggestions of games you can break out once family starts showing up, and there’s bound to be something for everyone.
Many fathers in our 8BitDad generation grew up playing video games. We were lucky enough to experience the golden age of coin-op arcades, with giant-screened Street Fighter II and NBA Jam machines. We watched arcades fall in favor of home consoles and PCs. We huddled together in rooms late night to play the Super NES and N64, Sega Genesis, Saturn and Dreamcast and the Sony PlayStation. We improvised set-ups to play serial cable-linked games of Doom II and Quake before dial-up became cable and DSL (or university T1s) and allowed us to play games over the net like Unreal Tournament and Counter-Strike. You get the picture – our generation runs deep. And if all that reminiscing didn’t bring a tear to your eye, you’re not one of us.
Somewhere along the way, we got married and had kids. But just because we’ve taken on bigger responsibilities doesn’t mean that fathers don’t still want to slap on a pair of headphones, crack open a beverage and hunker down in front of an FPS for a couple of hours. With the wives and kids safely tucked-in, and the whole night ahead of them, the [DaDs] Army became a meeting place for fathers to blow off a little steam and enjoy some mature, parents-only online gaming.
Think of it as the YMCA for dudes like us.
Some time ago, we reviewed Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which was decidedly not-epic for dads to play. With a no-death system and non-traditional Kirby play, it left father-fans of the franchise wanting a real Kirby experience to share with their kids.
That’s why I’m happy to announce that Kirby’s Return to Dream Land is nothing like Epic Yarn – and that’s a good thing for you dads. As well, kids (let’s say kindergarten to tweens) will get more of a kick out of the risk-vs-reward gameplay moreso than the all-rewards gameplay of Epic Yarn. There’s not too much risk, but I’m pleased to report that you CAN die in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, but a little saddened to report that you might not ever taste that bitter death because the game’s so easy. More on that later.
Surprisingly enough, I can’t remember the last time I played a proper Kirby console game, aside from Epic Yarn – which was not a “proper” Kirby game at all. In the meantime, I’d played all sorts of handheld iterations of the franchise and enjoyed them all. Humorously enough (and I’m talkin’ gamer humor, not real, actual humor), Kirby’s Return to Dream Land was supposed to be released for the GameCube in 2005, but then got pushed back to the Wii. It was then put on hold in favor of Epic Yarn (good call, guys), yadda yadda yadda, and here we are.
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Now that the current-generation Nintendo DS is sailing out the door and the 3DS is just a couple of days away from kicking us in the eyes with 3D handheld gaming, we thought we’d go back through some of the best DS games for fathers and kids – that you’ll probably end up playing even when your kids aren’t around. Also, your pocketbook (do people even have those anymore) will be pleased to know that the 3DS does in fact play DS cartridges – so if you do get your hands on a 3DS this weekend, you don’t need to feel pressured to buy a launch title if there’s not something that immediately grabs your fancy.
Pro Tip: Something will grab your kid’s fancy, so stick around for a couple of upcoming Nintendo 3DS game previews after our look at some excellent last-gen DS games you can enjoy with (or without) your kid.