Sundays are lazy days in our house. We typically take care of some overlooked housework and then lounge around for the rest of the day. This past Sunday my daughter, Mae, seemed a bit restless and wanted to get out and go do something. Having just finished vacuuming out the car, I still had a few quarters in my pocket and thought, “Hey, let’s go to the arcade”. Read More
Traveling as a kid I can remember how miserable long family car trips could be. My mom tried to make it as bearable as possible, but there is only so much that you can do when stuck in the car for hours on end. My Game Boy became my best friend on those long car rides. I remember my first play-through of Pokémon (Blue is best) came on a trip down to Florida from Maryland. My Game Boy Pocket and a bag of AAA batteries kept both me and my mom from going insane on those long rides.
This past weekend, my Grandfather’s 90th birthday celebration was was held in the middle of nowhere Appalachia at a cabin they had rented for the weekend. (Deep in the Smoky Mountains, where cell phone towers dare not tread…) In order to attend his birthday weekend, we had to pack up the car and chug along for ten or so hours (no cruise control by the way). Rather than go the traditional route by giving my daughter, Mae, a tablet to keep her occupied, I stuck a Game Boy in her hands loaded with a few games and set out on our trip.
These headphones were way larger in person..like hilariously large.
The games I have on the Game Boy for Mae are Tasmanian Devil: Munching Madness and Yogi Bear’s Gold Rush. We also have Pokémon Blue which I played while my wife was driving. The drive was long but being able to entertain our four year old made for a much smoother trip. With the dimly lit screen, I can easily see why so many 3rd party peripherals were created to make the Game Boy more user-friendly. The Game Boy experience was pretty great as long as we had direct sunlight, as soon as the clouds set in the screen became harder to see and required special angling in order to use. I will be on the look out for a Light Boy, some extra light and magnification would be very beneficial in getting a rambunctious four year old to sit down and try out a few games.
Tasmanian Devil: Munching Madness is a top down platformer that allows you to control, you guessed it, the Tasmanian Devil. As one might expect, the game is fast paced and sort of all over the place, but it sure has a catchy soundtrack. Taz was able to keep Mae occupied in between those long stretches between pit stops. We have these big obnoxious headphones which kept the 8-bit tunes pumping and provided a constant source of laughter for my wife and I considering they are roughly the same size as Mae’s head.
Something I wanted to mention about the music in this game, It’s just great. the music from the first stage is so catchy that I actually went searching for a way to download it onto my iPod.
I could only find the GBC version of the song which is basically the same.
Our final destination was a log cabin tucked away in the mountains so I thought it might be a good idea to bring along something that would get Mae thinking about the great outdoors, you know..for education and such. Well that was a bust, but I did find Yogi Bear’s Gold Rush…which is about bears…bears live in the mountains, so I guess I was on the right track?
Yogi Bear is a pretty basic platformer that plays a little like a Super Mario clone. You run through the forests and caves collecting picnic baskets and jumping on mushrooms. Although she didn’t make very much progress, she still enjoyed the game and played it for a while on the car ride and while waiting for everyone to wake up on Saturday morning. She told me that she actually preferred making Yogi Bear stand still because he starts dancing if you leave him alone for a while.
She woke up early and immediately grabbed the Game Boy.
Overall, the Game Boy is a great way to introduce your little one to retro gaming while still allowing you to keep your sanity on the trip. The Game Boy was also helpful in keeping her occupied during those lulls between family events. I think it is funny that 20+ years ago I was using my Game Boy in the same way that Mae is using hers now… to avoid uncomfortable interactions with distant relatives. A few accessories and this bad boy will be able to provide enjoyment for our whole family for a long time to come.
Point and click adventures have been a part of my life ever since I first discovered Myst over 20 years ago. I have been playing through Doublefine’s superb Broken Age recently and wanted to revisit some examples of the genre from my childhood. It so happens that my daughter, Mae, has been experiencing some trouble sleeping lately and has been asking to leave the light on longer each night. In order to try to combat this fear of the dark, I thought it might be a good idea to introduce her to a game that helped me fight this common childhood fear. Read More
It’s that time again. The time that we all sit down for another edition of Raising A Gamer. As interesting as it might be to see my 4 year old’s take on a classic beat em up or shooter, we are in for…you guessed it, another Disney related movie game! Hey, I said I would let her pick the games so this should have been expected. Now don’t get discouraged yet because on the surface this game looks reminiscent of another very enjoyable Genesis title.
Prior to writing this, I had never played the Atari 2600, but have always admired the system from afar. My father-in-law, upon learning that I have been contributing to a retro gaming site, let me adopt his 2600 that had been sitting in his garage for at least two decades. I hit the retro gaming jack pot on this one! This unit I inherited came with twenty plus games, extra joysticks and extra paddles. The 2600 fits all that extra hardware in a deliciously 70’s “Tele-Games Center”. The build quality of the 2600 is stellar, the faux wood grain and polished switches still feel great and the click when sliding in a game cart is more satisfying than any other cartridge based system I have ever played. The Atari 2600 has to be one of the most attractive pieces of video game hardware ever mass-produced. But this entry of my Raising a Gamer series isn’t about attractive hardware with the build quality of the Great Wall of China…it’s about introducing my four year old daughter, Mae, to amazing retro games. Read More
Sticking with the theme from my first piece, I wanted to revisit another definitive game from my childhood to share with my daughter, Mae. This time I figured we would try Disney’s Aladdin for the Genesis. This game had everything I thought a small child could want, magic, monkeys with swords, rugs. I was so excited to share this one with my daughter. I couldn’t wait to see her face light up when she got to the extremely satisfying yet terribly difficult Rug Ride level. But after playing Aladdin for a while I realized that while Mae definitely enjoyed parts of Aladdin, the game was just far too difficult for a 4 year old as a whole. With all of the jumping, climbing, apple throwing, and navigating through lava, I could tell she was getting frustrated. Read More
Cute first moments and baby laughs aside, parenting is pretty rough for the first few years and anyone that says otherwise is lying. The reward for all the hard work of child rearing began for me when my daughter, Mae, turned three. This has been her most inquisitive stage yet; she has a sense of wonder that surprises me constantly.