Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
I’m the first to admit that I like playing video and digital games—not long drawn-out affairs for hours at a time, mind you, but short sweet, 15-minute-break types of games. And I also fully admit that I’ve been a fan of PopCap Games for a long time: Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled, Bookworm, and the like. So when PopCap let me have an early look at some of their new games coming out later this year (watch the magazine for more details), they knew what they were doing when they also sent their newest game, Solitaire Blitz.
It’s simple, really, but therein lies the appeal: race the clock to try and clear all your cards while earning bonuses and treasures. Did I mention already that it’s addictive? “It’s my turn!” was the fairly consistent refrain at my house the last few nights as the boys and I all anxiously awaited our turns. The game really is that perfect little break—whether it be a fifteen minute homework or housework break. And did I mention it’s free? Score!
Monday, April 1st, 2013
Senior Digital Editor Samuel Mead is today’s guest blogger. He writes:
I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by the magical moment that is the before-school ritual of playing a deceptively challenging board game, Troy Extra Muros, with my third grade son before he rushes off to school (and me to work). After all, I love games, he loves games, and we both love playing them any time or any place.
At first, I didn’t think much of Troy—how fun or interesting could a game with a small playing area and 12 pieces be? But I was quickly proved wrong. My son, who had received the game as a birthday gift, explained the rules to me and we started to play at the kitchen counter. The game has never been put away.
Perhaps it’s watching him solve a particularly tough set-up that I am stuck on—Troy is a strategy game where you must solve 60 progressively more challenging game board situations using four sections of walls to protect blue forces from red forces. Or maybe it’s the quiet that accompanies minds at work. While playing, my son exhibits a patience that’s absent when he’s playing a video strategy game. There is no frenetic pace, no pumping of buttons, just the shuffling of combinations of pieces to see what will solve the problem.
One thing is for sure, it’s a blessedly peaceful part of the morning. Our middle schooler is long out the door to catch her bus, lunches made, breakfast consumed. It’s that 20-minute window when I could be plowing through bills, answering emails, or surfing the web. Instead, I’m on cloud 9, watching my son play a game that’s as challenging for him as it is for me.
I know this is a fleeting moment. We’ve been playing for 10 days and are through challenge #53. Troy must soon fall! Then again, perhaps more is going on than just the playing of a game, a ritual that we both value. So when #60 has been successfully completed, we will seek out a new challenge, or just return to challenge #1.
Friday, March 1st, 2013
Happy birthday to one of our favorite authors! To help celebrate, PBS Kids is debuting a new preschool game, The Swirly Whirly Pearl Hunt, on their site, as well as new episodes of The Cat in the Cat Knows a Lot About That.
Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Deputy Editor Mary Giles recently appeared on the Today Show to present some of FamilyFun’s picks for inexpensive birthday gifts.
Our March issue featured even more great gift ideas for $20 or less, including three interactive and clever books.
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
What to do when Nemo (the storm) finds you? Conscript your teenagers to test preschool games with you! At least that’s what my boys and I did this past Friday while the snow fell outside.
Never Land Challenge (shown above), part of the line of active games themed around the hit Disney show Jake and the Never Land Pirates, was one of our favorites—even though, or maybe because, it wasn’t easy for a 5-foot 7-inch tall teen to wiggle through the vines.
Watch for all of our family game picks in the upcoming May issue.
For other games your family may like, see our Toy of the Year Awards.