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It's hard to walk by a school or a playground without seeing the image of an aqua-colored platypus emblazoned on a kid's shirt, hat, backpack, or lunch box. Phineas and Ferb, the long-running animated Disney series, has been a big hit with children, so it's little surprise that the tie-in game Agen...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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I have to begin this week's column with a disclaimer: I am not a fan of Facebook, and I'm even less a fan of Facebook games. The only one I found enjoyable was Ian Bogost's Cow Clicker because it was a giant middle finger to the bottom-feeding practices so commonly found in Facebook Villes. But ...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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Video games get blamed for all sorts of societal problems, particularly for young children. Violence, obesity, and laziness are just the tip of the iceberg. And a recent article from Amanda Enayati adds one more potential problem: stress. Growing up is complicated enough, but are video games mak...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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"I want it now!" We're all familiar with that screechy demand by Veruca Salt in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. And for those of us raising children, it's an all-too-common request. When kids want something, they'll pull out all the stops, and for many kids, that brand-new video game w...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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As I wound down my time at PAX East recently, I couldn't help but notice how different this convention was compared to when I went a couple of years ago. Yes, the exhibition floor was bigger, and there were many more in attendance, but the overall feel was different as well, and part of that was ...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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You might recognize the pictures above and in the body of the article. The first is from a video of a baby using an iPad while still in a walker. The other is from a viral video that came out a while back showing a baby trying to interact with a magazine as if it were an iPad. A quick search reve...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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Recently, Massively's Jef Reahard seemed to revisit his inner-child with his Why I Play article on Clone Wars Adventures and a Daily Grind of a similar topic. He summed up perfectly why CWA, a kid-friendly MMO, is a lot of fun for grown-ups too. There are actually many MMOs that are marketed towa...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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If you look at the past two decades, it's really amazing how fast technology has improved. Not that long ago, dialup was common, 3.5" disks were all the rage (so much better than those archaic 8" floppies!), and people were excited to be able to take digital photos (that also used those flashy 3....

2 years ago 0 Comments
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The other day, I stumbled on an interview of author Paul Tough, who wrote the book called How Children Succeed. He stressed the importance of building grit, curiosity, and character in our children as they grown and learn. In addition, he emphasized the need to let our kids fail as they grow. In ...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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By now, everyone's probably heard the strange story of Manti Te'o, the football player who had an online relationship with someone who wasn't really that person. The question that people keep asking is whether or not he was in on the hoax, but I think that's irrelevant. The real question is why p...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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I was witness to an interesting juxtaposition over Christmas vacation. On one end of the breakfast table was my laptop, with an article about an inventor who warns that the "Google generation" of children is growing up "brain dead" and without the ability to invent and create. But right next to i...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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Winter is always my favorite time of year for family-friendly MMOs. Holiday events tend to be the norm now in most MMOs, but they're tailor-made for games with a younger audience. Winter also seems to usher in lots of new changes and updates as well, so it's time again to revisit some popular tit...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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When it comes to picking out holiday gifts for younger family members, it's amazing how quickly it can escalate to the equivalent of organizing Operation Overlord. As I wandered around Toys "R" Us yesterday, I watched two mothers trying to make sense of Skylanders and figure out how to coordinate...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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In past editions of MMO Family, I've looked how games have attempted to teach and entertain -- and how challenging it is to do both. This week, I'd like to flip things around a bit and look at an educational site that, while not an MMO, does incorporate some gaming characteristics. It's a site ca...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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Trying to create a virtual world that's engaging and compelling is no easy task. But for an adult designer, trying to do so for a young audience is even more challenging. Kids' interests are not necessarily the same as adults' interests, and their life experiences are much different. On top of th...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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Let's face it: It hasn't been a banner year for MMOs. We've witnessed disappointing launches, studio layoffs, and even studio meltdowns. There have been reports questioning whether MMOs are a good investment, and some studios have even signaled that they're shying away from traditional MMO develo...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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I'm always on the hunt for MMOs that are educational because I think it's a genre with enormous potential that is still largely untapped. At the same time, the skeptic in me always becomes wary of any MMO that calls itself "educational" because it usually turns out that it's mostly "game" and ver...

2 years ago 0 Comments