How to Choose a Great Board Game

What Makes a Great Board Game? The most important part of selecting a good board game: Know your audience. When choosing a game you need to know who will be playing. A great game or six year olds may be incredibly boring for a group of junior higher. Also, simply being someone’s “favorite game ever” isn’t enough. Every Great Board Game Will Address: Interests and preferences of the players Player attention spans / Time requirements Age and maturity of the players (Just because they’re young doesn’t mean it can’t be complex) How many players are expected   Brain Food Think…

How to Choose a Great Book

Finding a Great Book It can be tough to choose a great book. Do we look at the cover? Go off what our friends like? What if we simply hate reading? Learning how to choose books that engage us and challenge is us more than just what we do with our free time. It’s part of growing up and learning who we are. “But I Hate Reading” As a junior high English teacher I run into this all the time: I walk into the library with my class, introduce a genre and set the students loose to find something great.…

Doom (2016): Detailed Grade

DOOM: Review Details - why this game scored how it scored.

DOOM (2016): Review Details This portion of the game review explains how DOOM (2016) got the score it did. Go here to see the full DOOM review. You can also look over the details of the Video Game Scoring Guide. Parent Approved Hero: 2/10 Your hero fights for what he believes is good. His beliefs are not up for sale. There is no peace-making option: Violence is the only solution. Your character goes beyond the simple “call of duty” in killing his opponents: He seems to enjoy killing them in creative ways. There is an argument for the fact that…

FPS: The Halo Effect

The Halo Effect: We want to be heroic

The Halo Effect First Person Shooters (FPS) are controversial. I’ve talked about how parents fear them and given a crash course introduction to First Person Shooters. Now I want to take you into the mind of an FPS gamer and what I call the Halo Effect. A Mind on Halo When Halo came out fifteen years ago it was mind-blowing. It had an incredible hero, combat that left you jittery it was so exciting, and graphics that were cutting-edge. Master Chief is a perfect spot to start when we look at how an FPS can be engaging. I’m going old school…

Nintendo Switch: The Best and Worst of Gaming (Part 2)

It’s easy to say that the Nintendo Switch represents the best of gaming.  It’s portable, there are great games, it has engaging graphics, you don’t have to quit just because you’re moving locations. Yet not all of these points are good. Nintendo Switch: The Worst of gaming. Go back to the launch trailer and watch from :30 – :45 again. I’ve quick-linked it here so it will start at 30 seconds. Notice anything? Let’s take a moment to reflect: Dog walks up to owner asking for attention. Guy dutifully stands, pulls his gaming device from it’s holder, and saunters out into…

Nintendo Switch: The best and worst of gaming

Nintendo Switch: Review

The Switch represents the best and worst of gaming. The biggest advances for Nintendo are coming this next year as they get ready to release their newest gaming console: The Nintendo Switch. The Switch represents the best and the worst of gaming in a single console. Oh sure, Nintendo recently made news by selling nearly 200,000 units of their throwback entertainment system, The NES Classic, in a single month. Nintendo has long made their standard the family-friendly, graphics-light, casual gamer category. But the Switch is hoping to take that to the next level. The Best and the Worse: Watch this first. To fully…

Ticket to Ride: Board Game Review

Ticket to Ride: A board game for every player

Ticket to Ride: A great game for any age People are always looking for a family activity where they can uplug from the t.v., cell phones, video games, and activities that draw us apart, and do something together. Board games are a great option, and Ticket to Ride is a crowd pleaser that fits well with any number of playing environments. family game night kids playing with friends board game nights with adult friends board game club at a junior high (I’ve done it. It’s awesome.) trying to win Uncle of the Year award with nieces and nephews (done that too) This…

DOOM (2016): Game Review

Doom: Game Review. Is it worth the gore?

So what is  DOOM? DOOM (2016) is part first-person shooter, part survival-horror. Their tag-line says a lot: “Fight like hell”. The game premise is simple: You are a space marine stranded on Mars.  Aportal has been opened to hell and you are the only one who can stop it. I said it was simple, not logical. There is very little problem-s0lving in the game beyond how and when to evicerate the demon hordes. Players have a host of weapons at their disposal: pistols shotguns rocket launchers the ever-famous chainsaw The goal is to kill a variety of demons and purge the…

The Gospel and Attack on Titan

Surrounded by Titans We all have giants in our lives. Those big, hulking, hideous creatures of emotional, physical, relational, and psychological pain that grip us, that crush us, that hold us captive against our will. Attack on Titan captures this idea perfectly with their portrayal of the human-eating giants. Humanity has been crushed with just a fraction of their original population still surviving. Those who do survive are forced to live inside massive walls, cut off from much of the joy and splendor this life has to offer, living in constant fear of the worst. And, much like in real life,…

Crash Course: First Person Shooters

An Itchy Trigger Finger There are plenty of reasons to have concern regarding First Person Shooters (FPS). As I wrote in Parents fear First Person Shooters, these games often have fast-paced, immersive violence with plenty of content that should be concerning to an engaged parent. Yet why not just write them off completely? Why not FPS as Action Movies FPS are one of the most-played game genres because of their ability to draw a wide audience. If we were to compare video games to movies, FPS games would be action movies: Gladiator Saving Private Ryan heck, even The Passion of the…