Hello hello everybody! A couple weeks ago I got to visit the studio that made Never Alone, a puzzle platformer starring a young Native Alaskan girl. I interviewed Grant Roberts, one of the game’s developers, about how they were approached by the Cook Inlet Tribal Council to create a game that told Inupiat stories. The result was Never Alone, in which a young girl named Nuna tries to save her village from an eternal blizzard. Grant gives us some insight into the creation of the game and the struggle of balancing authenticity with fun gameplay. Check out that video interview linked here.

We also have a great interview with Jenna Hoffstein, the creator of The Counting Kingdom! The Counting Kingdom is the game that made math fun and not scary even for someone like me, who freezes up when people ask me what 2+2 is. Hoffstein was inspired by classic educational games from the 80s and 90s, and wanted to revisit the spirit of those games with an app. Learn more about how she brought magic to math in the interview on Pixelkin.org.

Balancing screentime is really hard. Getting kids to happily limit screentime—even harder. Dr. Randy Kulman has some advice for how to make setting limits on screentime a happy compromise for everyone. These strategies apply to parents too, so check out that article linked here.

If you’re one of many people who misses whaling away on your Rock Band drums, there might be hope for the future! Developer Harmonix might might might be working on a new Rock Band game and will likely announce something mysterious and awesome during PAX East. They just released new downloadable content for Rock Band for the first time in literally two years, so this conjecture is pretty strong. I’ll be at PAX East and I’ll keep you updated on any new developments.

Every day, having cable gets a little more irrelevant. ABC News has released an app for Xbox One! You can use it to watch live streams and on-demand clips, including coverage of this weekend’s Academy Awards. With Xbox One’s “Snap” function, you can have ABC News playing while multitasking with other stuff.

The city of Buffalo wants you to make games! They’re offering serious prize money for contenders who make games that teach life skills and emphasize diversity—while also being fun and promoting Buffalo, of course. It’s called the Serious Computer Game Design Competition, and it’ll take place over two days in March. Learn more about it at buffalogamespace.com.

That’s all for this week! What are you playing this weekend? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to this channel for more gaming news.

 

 

Simone de Rochefort

Simone de Rochefort

Simone de Rochefort is a game journalist, writer, podcast host, and video producer who does a prolific amount of Stuff. You can find her on Twitter @doomquasar, and hear her weekly on tech podcast Rocket, as well as Pixelkin's Gaming With the Moms podcast. With Pixelkin she produces video content and devotes herself to Skylanders with terrifying abandon.