Month: December 2015

A Brave New World.

A Brave New World.

12469799_540149036150701_702641546_o

Daughter (Aka. Pinky Pie….Age 6.): “What game is that Dad  ?”

Son (Aka. Groot..Age 3): “Who is that that guy…what he do ?”

Pinky Pie: “Did you just shoot those people ?”

Groot: “Are they people or robots ?”

Both: “Can I have a turn ?”

ME: “It’s called Destiny…he’s a guardian….yes I did shoot them….their aliens….no you can’t, this isn’t for kids….wait a second……Why aren’t you two in bed.?..do you know what time it is ??….and how long have you been standing there ????…get into bed before your mother catches us and I get into trouble !!!!!!”

I’m a gamer, that said, I’m never going compete in tournaments, or get my name in the paper. My gaming skills have been rated as “Solid”,  by the  20 something, hardcore gamers in my extended family, which basically means when it comes to gaming I’m a firm “C”…maybe a soft “B”, if their feeling generous.

Gaming was always something my kids were going to be exposed to and get interested in.  Although for some reason I thought they would be older when it happened. In retrospect I have no idea why I thought that, but i did. So when this conversation happened at age 6, I was surprised.

Pinky Pie: “how do you play minecraft ?….. can i install it on my ipad “?

What I thought: “How does she even know what minecraft is ????……Can you even get it on an iPad…..I have no idea how to play…..”

What I said:  “Sure honey, its bed time now though, how about we have a look tomorrow, okay ?”

Satisfied with that answer, Pinky Pie, twirled away and off to bed, and I went off in search of  my iPad and youtube.

This was a new dimension to the one of the problems a first world parent….I had up until this point been primarily concerned  with the suitability of the  content they were exposed to when watching television or movies, but suitable content in gaming, both on console and mobile devices was something I had not thought, I would have to deal with at this age. What is appropriate content  and what is available out there for kids of this age ? and how can I share the gaming experience with them in a responsible way ?

So now I have begun a journey through the world of gaming for kids as a responsible adult. I cant be alone in feeling a little unsure and more than just a little overwhelmed at the shear volume of content available these days. I think there are too many choices when it comes to gaming for myself, so one of the goals of this site is to share my experiences and hopefully it will provide some useful information to you and other parent who like me, stand like a dear in headlights when your child comes home from school and tells you all about this game that their friend told them about and can they play Terraria too ???…”Please Dad…. can  I ???? ….PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE !!!!!!!”

I miss pacman.

How Star Wars became the catalyst for upgrading to Windows 10

How Star Wars became the catalyst for upgrading to Windows 10

msft xbox streaming
Source: Microsoft / xbox.com

One good turn deserves another. Or in the case of recent developments in my household, one tech upgrade begets another.

A while ago, I fell in love with the new version of Star Wars: Battlefront. Even before I’d played the game, the prospect of crushing “rebel scum” had me salivating. By the time I’d watched the various demos and trailers from E3, it had become a matter of when I’d upgrade to the XBox One, rather than if.

So it was, that Battlefront became a major driver behind me upgrading to the XBox One.

What’s perhaps a little unexpected though is how Battlefront ended up setting in motion my upgrade to Windows 10.

Earlier this year I purchased a new desktop computer from Dell. It was released in that window (no pun intended 🙂 where manufacturers were installing Windows 8.2, but including a free upgrade to Windows.

For the last few months my PC has been not-so-patiently reminding me that it’s time to upgrade to Windows 10. But I’ve never really had any reason to make the switch. Heck, I only ‘upgraded’ to Windows 8.2 because that’s what came with my new computer. Windows 7 was meeting all my needs just fine.

But if you’ve bought an XBox One, there’s a great reason to give in to the nagging and move to Windows 10. The ability to stream games from your XBox One to your PC.

What?

Yes, play XBox One games on your PC. And not just your PC, but your Windows 10 tablets as well. This seems to be Microsoft’s nice little sweetener for those folks who have given Microsoft powered devices prominence in their homes. As a strategy for locking people in the the Microsoft ecosystem, this is a smart move.

So how well does it work?

Setup was pretty straight forward. The option for game streaming was already enabled on my XBox One. On my PC, I simply fired up the XBox app and logged in with my XBox Live account. A couple of clicks later and my XBox was mirrored on my desktop monitor.

Determined to put the streaming to the test, I dived into a game of Battlefront. While the quality of the experience isn’t the same is playing on the big screen in the lounge room, my 26” Dell delivered a pretty solid performance. If you have to share your TV, it’s an option that’s well worth exploring.

Perhaps the only drawback I’ve found so far is that you need to be logged in to the XBox One before you can connect and stream to your PC. In practise that means you’ll need to start the XBox streaming before you hand your TV over to someone else.

But that’s a small price to pay for the convenience of being able to play your XBox One games on an alternate screen.

So if you’re the owner of an XBox One and you’ve been wondering if you should move up to Windows 10 – this is the upgrade you’ve been looking for.

Star Wars Battlefront: Nothing like the stomp of an AT-AT

Star Wars Battlefront: Nothing like the stomp of an AT-AT

  
If you’re a fan of the Star Wars universe, you’ll want to check out the eye candy that is the latest Star Wars:Battlefront game.

This week I finally succumbed and bought myself an XBox One. The decision to upgrade was primarily motivated by the desire to play the latest version of Star Wars Battlefront, but other titles like Forza 6 and the upcoming Mass Effect title also played a part.

There may be a longer post to follow on the whole path to purchasing an XBox One and getting it up and running. But having just stepped away from a couple of hours of Battlefront, I wanted to take a few minutes to say “Wow”.

Let’s get something out of the way up front. I suck at first person shooter (FPS) games. I suck badly. My reflexes and hand eye coordination are pretty ordinary, even for someone my age. So what you’re getting here is the first impressions of someone who isn’t a regular player of this genre. But what I am a fan of is Star Wars.

So what are my first thoughts?

A lot of hard work has gone in to ensuring this game feels like the Star Wars universe fans know and love. (Check out this article on the making of the game for why this game looks so good).

This game is beautiful. From the way the wind whips the snow up on Hoth, to splashing through streams on Endor, the environments you do battle in are gorgeous.

There’s also lots of little things done well. Running across the snowy landscape of Hoth, you leave clearly formed footprints behind you. If you charge out of a dimly lit bunker in to the full glare of Tatooine’s twin suns – you’re temporarily blinded by the glare.

But better than that, the battles I’ve experienced so far feel just like you imagine they should.

I’ve spent most of the previous hour playing the ‘Walker Assault’ mode, which involves fighting alongside or against an invading AT-AT force.

When you’re fighting against the AT-AT’s as they trudge across Hoth’s snowy white plains, their size and firepower make them seem like almost invincible machines of death. Which is how it should be.

On the flip side, fighting as an Imperial soldier alongside an AT-AT is terrifying in its own way. Using the AT-AT’s legs for cover, the controller vibrated in my hands each time the At-At’s heavy steel feet stomped against the rocky desert of Tatooine.

Although its very early days yet, I’m loving Battlefront. After I’ve spent more time playing, I may have more to say about the gameplay. But for now, I’m still just enjoying being wowed by the world that DICE has managed to create for fans of the Star Wars universe.