Valiant Hearts: a hit with kids & dogs

Gamer Dude’s playing Valiant Hearts — released today on XboxLive and there’s a valiant dog protagonist that’s caught our dog Astrid’s attention. She’s watching the screen wagging her tail and offering her computer game dog friend the lacrosse ball she pinched from the ball bag! LOL

Valiant Hearts was released today for Microsoft Windows, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Steam.  Powered by the same engine as Rayman Origins the game was developed by Ubisoft Montpellier. I’m already a fan. The game art, storyline and musical score is compelling and has a arty feel to it. It’s not an epic war game, but this game has plenty of heart. From the looks of things, the puzzles are satisfying too.

According to Hayden Dingman from PCWorld.com,

Far from a detriment, the silent-film nature of Valiant Hearts is one of its greatest strengths. The game is able to support a multicultural cast—French, German, American, Canadian—without any one culture dominating. And still, these are some of the best characters I’ve played in recent memory, thanks to some strong archetyping and brilliant animated cutscenes.

You also fall in with a trained war dog early in the game, and it’s this dog that most of the game revolves around. The story is the primary draw here, but play revolves around solving a cadre of puzzles more than actual combat.

I’m literally watching Dude play as I write. I’ll update later after the game’s done!

 

South Park takes on next-gen console war

As console wars kick into high gear in time for the holidays, the passion behind both sides was played out on the popular Comedy Central TV show, South Park, reports Wesley Yin-Poole (Eurogamer).

GamerDewd has been after me for over a year about watching South Park, but it’s still an M (17+) rating as far as I’m concerned. He’s also itching to play the soon-to-be released game, South Park: Stick of Truth, which is slated for a March 4, 2014 release.

Published by Ubisoft and developed by Obsidian Entertainment, this RPG is targeting a Mature to adult audience. The goal of the game is to assist Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman as they attempt to save South Park and to become cool. The action starts with the player as the new kid in town who is faced with the task of making friends. The kids of South Park are in the midst of a live-action-role-playing-game which turns into a universal fight between good and evil, reports IGN.

Like most South Park plots, the simple story arc seems fitting with the protagonists’ age (Grade 4), but the target rating of M or AO suggests there will be plenty of the boundary-pushing scenarios the South Park TV show has become (in)famous for. Still, like all games that are on GamerDewd’s radar, when it comes out, I’ll have a look and make a judgement call at that time.

The console war clip above is hilarious, and, while there’s one bleeped swear (the F-word, I believe), I’d say the clip is  ON for 12 and up. And like Cartman, Kenny and Kyle, it looks like we’re going to start with Xbox One in this house. We’d like to have both, but the economics of the situation demand that we make the choice (and then save, save, save for the PS4!)…because, as Stan says, “that’s how Xbox people are.” 😉

What’s for dinner? Video game characters…made from meat

This find gives a whole new meaning to the expression “don’t play with your food, ” and frankly, if it looks like this, who could blame you? Keep the meat away from the console though!

Thank you to JonMichael Bukosky for posting this link on Twitter. It made my morning. In the best, weirdest way possible.

Sonic the Hedgehog, who else?

Sonic The Hedgehog, who else?

@Bukosky’s Borderlands 2 GOTY Edition scoop

This just in from JonMichael Bukosky:

Wi-Fi extortion — completely legit

Seems this Post-it has gone viral, and boy would I love to meet the parent who wrote it! I came across it on Facebook via Mommyish, but there are scads of others who’ve posted and reposted this brilliant Post-it. If I didn’t have such a talent for forgetting passwords, I’d start this immediately. As it stands, I need to devise a reliable method of remembering/recording my password. 😉today's wifi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trolling for Good?

I was on YouTube the other day doing some research for MOMmentary and I stumbled on video blogger, MinnesotaBurns’ video, COD4 Hacker Rehab (below). MinnesotaBurns aka Trollarch CEO, Burnsy, and John Trollsten, started his channel January 2011 with the intent of trolling gamers (usually kids) who’ve hacked games (usually Call of Duty 4 and World at War). He calls the game hackers out, records the conversation, and, as in the video below, attempts to turn cheaters into good sports.

Not all of MinnesotaBurns’ videos are SFW (or family friendly) though. GamerDude and I watched/listened to the video featured above and I was surprised at the level of support my boy had for MinnesotaBurns’ methods. Game Hacking is apparently a common and reviled activity. Among gamers and gaming platforms alike, hacking is an absolute no-no. According to XboxLive:

“We’ve designed the Xbox LIVE service to help create a place where our members can interact and have fun online. To help protect that experience for our customers, the Xbox LIVE Enforcement team monitors the service for behavior that violates the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use and Code of Conduct. Violations of the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use and the Code of Conduct can result in a variety of actions, up to and including a permanent suspension of a console from connecting to Xbox LIVE.”

I’m interested to see how well a Trollarch staff-assisted rehab goes. MinnesotaBurns is compelling because he’s part tongue in cheek, part irreverent, and part big brother to the kids he calls out on his YouTube channel. It’s clear he’s passionate about gaming as well as the gaming community, and his efforts to maintain the integrity of these online games seem legitimate (though his methods are sometimes questionable — see Mom & Granny Rage video by Trollarch Director, TrollMunchies).

I know some may view Trollarch activities to be a form of online bullying, and maybe it is. I asked GamerDude what he thought and he said he didn’t believe it was. I’m inclined to agree, but I’ll admit I haven’t even come close to completing a thorough review of all of the MinnestoaBurns and Trollarch videos.

What are your thoughts folks?

Response to The Double Parent

In the comments section of yesterday’s Uniting the generations through COD The Double Parent asked:

I started writing a response in the comments, and then I realized that it was becoming a blog post. So here’s my response:

Personally, the shoot’em up style FPS games continue to make me uncomfortable. That said, I’m packing less testosterone than a lot of FPS fans. My intent isn’t to reinforce gender stereotypes re: boys are more aggressive than girls (or snakes, snails & puppy dog tails, which, as a little girl I always thought seemed much better than sugar, spice & all things nice!). But generally speaking, boys find violent and physical  play to be more cathartic — even therapeutic — than girls.

I used to be very strict with the no-violent-video-games rule in my house and you know what? At that time, my son was getting into playground fights at school. I allow some violent games now, and he hasn’t been in a playground fight in over two years.

Admittedly, there are a lot of factors that contributed to the playground fights, as well as to his current success in regulating and managing himself when he sees injustices on the playground — his MO has always been “defender of social justice”; fighting for what’s fair for himself and others. But he tells me that after a crappy and/or frustrating day, he finds respite in his violent video games. It’s a zone of total fantasy where he can take a break from civil society and be pure id for a spot of time.  And I don’t have a difficult time getting him to stop playing when I ask him to stop.

I think it’s also important to emphasize that violent video games represent a fraction of Gamer Boy’s collection of video games. He’s also quite outdoorsy and sporty.

The Verdict

Between us, I’m leaning toward a yes and I’ll elaborate on that in an actual review. I plan on keeping this from Gamer Boy though, otherwise I’ll never hear the end of it!

Challenge: Keeping Up With Ubisoft & Todd McFarlane

It’s next to impossible to keep up with Todd McFarlane and Ubisoft, which, if you’re the parent of an Assassin’s Creed (AC) fan, you’ll be smart to try. Since today is the widely publicized release day for the Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag game trailer and game release announcement, I’ve been online upon waking. In case you missed it, AC4 is slated for October 29, 2013 release. View the game trailer here:

In my last post on this topic I jokingly suggested a media blackout as a means of staying ahead of Gamer Boy — at least until I knew more about this installment to the AC franchise. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until last night at dinner when he asked me if he could pre-order AC4, “Pleeeease! If I do I’ll get a limited edition Assassin’s Creed IV poster by Todd McFarlane!”

Two steps behind him again. Sigh.

I checked into the poster bonus today and discovered that Tood McFarlane has indeed illustrated a poster (source: IGN). The Assassin’s Creed website provides a pre-order purchase link, but it’s still leading to a PRODUCT NOT AVAILABLE page (at time of publication) — buying me more time to make my decision.

In the process of conducting this AC4/Todd McFarlane research I stumbled on another goody for AC fans:

These toys were made public on February 12, less than a month ago, but they won’t be available for purchase until this summer, giving me the gift of time. And really, it’s only a matter of time before Gamer Boy starts in on me for these action figures (& DLCs!). Still, it’s a small satisfaction being ahead of him on this one, if only for a moment.

I’ll keep you posted about my decision re: to buy AC4 and the figures, or not.