Welcome to Gaming With The Moms, the podcast about gaming with families! This week our host Nicole Tanner was out of town visiting family in Ohio and attending her high school reunion, so we had to struggle along without her. Simone de Rochefort filled in for Nicole, with Linda Breneman, Courtney Holmes, and Keezy Young chiming in.
Courtney had her jokester hat on for this podcast and fired off a zinger at Nicole right out of the gate, even though she wasn’t here to defend herself. You’ll have to listen to find out what it was.
And Linda got all mushy about Simone, Keezy, and Courtney right in front of their faces and talked about the concept of adult allies—adults who support and nurture kids, even if they aren’t parents. Uncles, aunts, friends, teachers—all you people out there who support parents and kids—kudos and thanks to all of you!
You can download this episode directly here.
News & Gossip
- Courtney and Simone went to a Super League gaming tournament, a program that takes video games to movie theaters and makes gaming a social event just as it used to be in the olden days when people went to arcades to play video games. (Yes, children, there were arcades. Watch an ’80s movie.) While in Seattle, Super League chose to use the game Minecraft, and it seemed like the kids had a great time.
- Splatoon, a game we LOVE, has announced a new mode that involves riding around on a tower. So that’s cool. Nintendo is rolling out features at a good clip these days, and we like that.
- Disney merged its video game division with its toy division. We speculate that this move is tied to the success of the Disney Infinity game. We talk about the rise of the smart toy and the huge market for those figurines you use with video games like Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and many Nintendo games.
- The Space-X shuttle explosion resulted in the loss of some Hololens equipment. It was unfortunate, but at least no people were hurt. Maybe they’ll get some more Hololens VR headsets up to the space station so the astronauts can use them for cool things, including fixing the plumbing.
- There’s a new game called Bombshell coming out with a female protagonist. It’s based on the iconic and troubled video game franchise Duke Nukem, and we’re not sure Bombshell will be a very good game but we hope so. More ladies in games, please.
- The World Ends With You is back on the iTunes store. It was taken off for four months because it didn’t work with the last iOS update. Lots of fans are happy.
- Australia banned more than 200 games because they haven’t had time to rate them. Titles like Douchebag Beach Club are not available, which may not seem like a big loss, but for indie developers it can be a hardship when their games are banned in Australia for lack of a rating. Australia is strict about not distributing games unless they’re rated for age-appropriateness. The new international rating system IARC will go into effect soon. Under IARC, developers can fill out a questionnaire to get their own games rated and players can then give feedback on the accuracy of the ratings.
Screen Time, MMOs, and You
Linda did a free webinar with Amy Lang, the fabulous sex education expert and MamaCon founder. The webinar is all about understanding and regulating screen time.(You can watch the webinar for yourself! Click here to register, and then the video will be emailed to you. It’s about an hour long. If you already registered, you can click here to sign in and access the video now.)
One thing to remember is that screen time limits can be especially challenging if kids are gamers. And some kinds of games, such as massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) present even more dilemmas for families who want to keep screen time and non-screen time in balance. (Keezy wrote an article this week explaining what MMOs are.) We talked about lots of screen time & gaming stuff in the podcast, including:
- Kids really need our help and guidance in balancing screen time with non-screen time. It’s important to help kids plan ahead so their gaming time isn’t too disruptive to family life. It’s good to remember that kids need to learn time management and video games can be a great way to practice those skills.
- The Play Diet concept (invented by Dr. Randy Kulman of Learning Works for Kids) can help parents and kids.
- Screen time is not all bad. Kids use their screen time to research, make art, learn things, and socialize.
- MMOs in particular can be very beneficial. Kids do a lot of reading and can have positive interactions with other people.
- Just like other online interactions, interactions in MMOs are something parents should keep an eye on. (Jason de Kanter wrote a great article on Pixelkin about why parents should participate in their kids’ online gaming.) Parents should teach their kids not only how to deal with bullying but also how to not BE bullies.
- We also talk about the special problems girls can face when they play online games.
- There’s an article up that lists family-friendly MMOs on Pixelkin right now.
Andy sent us a letter regarding the controversy surrounding the game Fire Emblem Fates and whether non-technical incest is still a little…uncomfortable. Cultural differences can play a big part in how different kinds of content play out in video games so we should always keep those in mind.
What We Played
- Linda played Twelve a Dozen, a math game, and she recommends it. She also played Relic Run, an endless runner featuring Lara Croft. Courtney talks about another endless runner game, Alto’s Adventure that’s beautiful and doesn’t have in-app purchases, which can be a bit annoying (and tempting) in endless runner games.
- Keezy tried to play Shadow of Mordor, but she just doesn’t like it. But she downloaded Diablo 3 again, which she does like a lot.
- Courtney is still waiting anxiously for Zoombinis to come out. But she started Tales from the Borderlands. If you combine the TV show Firefly, the TV show Archer, and the movie Mad Max: Fury Road, you get Tales from the Borderlands. It’s not for little kids, but it’s funny and dark. It’s about a “rag-tag group of people who keep getting into mayhem.”
- Simone played Herstory and loved it. It’s a game that combines an interesting detective story and innovative gameplay. You can play it in just a couple of hours and it costs only $5!
This podcast was recorded in the studios of the Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle. The music is by Pat Goodwin at Novelty Shop Creative. Linda Breneman, Courtney Holmes, Simone de Rochefort, and Keezy Young participated in this podcast. Thanks for listening and if you liked this episode, please rate us on iTunes!