Just Dance 2014

The Great Motion-Game Playtest with Marilyn McKenna

Posted by | Feature, Opinion, Video | 3 Comments

What do holiday family get-togethers mean to you? Eating? Or eating, watching movies or sports on TV, playing board games, putting puzzles together, and more eating? Those time-honored family pastimes are always fun, but let’s face it, you end up sitting a lot. And eating at lot. So we got together with fitness and health expert Marilyn McKenna to test a few video games that the whole family can play—and that involve moving around.

Marilyn trekked over to our offices on a winter day to play three games: Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, Dance Central Spotlight, and Just Dance 2015. Watch the video to find out which one was her favorite.

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How to Recognize Knock-Off Gaming Accessories

Posted by | Feature, Tips for Parents | One Comment

When you buy something online, how do you know it’s a trustworthy product? What if it’s a cheap imitation of the real thing? What if it’s going to break in five minutes, or worse, start a house fire?

First, you should know that there is a difference between an official product, a knock-off product, and an off-brand product. A gaming accessory is official if it is made by the same company that made its associated console. For example, a 3DS stylus is official if it was made by Nintendo, because Nintendo created the 3DS. These products will always have their brand name and logo displayed prominently, and they are almost always the highest-quality option for gaming accessories. They are also almost always the most expensive option.

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Pokemon diamond and pearl

[Interview] “Would Ash Ketchum Give Up?” How Psychologist Kelli Dunlap Uses Video Games To Reach Kids

Posted by | Feature | One Comment

I first heard Kelli Dunlap speak at PAX Prime 2014 in the panel “Giving Through Gaming: Making the World a Better Place,” and her stories blew me away! Here’s a PhD who happens to be a knowledgeable and avid gamer and who has used her gaming experience to help her clients in some amazing ways.

She says she first became interested in the interaction between video games and mental health while studying psychology as an undergraduate.  She graduated with her Bachelor’s in psychology from American University and then pursued her doctorate in clinical psychology. Her doctoral dissertation is titled, “Mediating Factors in the Relationship Between Video Games and Mental Health.”  Read More

dysgraphia help kids typing

4 Types of Typing Games That Can Help Your Kid Learn Keyboarding Skills

Posted by | Feature, Tips for Parents | 2 Comments

When my son was young, he had a learning disability called dysgraphia—a problem that affects handwriting. Students who have dysgraphia can have problems in school. Fortunately, my son learned to type like the wind. Even now he touch-types so fast his fingers are a blur on the keyboard. Fast, accurate typing helped him succeed in school. And video games helped him get good at it.

Typing is all about practice. And one thing video games excel at is keeping kids engaged in a task long enough to practice. As one of my favorite studies says, “Game designers are wizards of engagement. They have mastered the art of [getting people to] …persevere in the face of multiple failures, and celebrate the rare moments of triumph after successfully completing challenging tasks.”

Here are a few games—some are free downloads and some are online PC games—that can help get kids engaged in practicing their typing skills. Read More