Tricks of the Gamer Dad
Whenever I talk to other parents about their children, usually at some point I talk about how I play certain games with my children, like Pokemon, or Super Smash Brothers, or Castle Crashers. What I hear back is “Oh, but video games are so bad for children but mine would play them all the time.”
I’ve got children who are getting straight A’s in school, who participate in school events - and they game. In some ways, games are <em>why</em> they’re where they are.
But that’s only because I am an evil genius. Bwahaha. Bwahahahaha! Bwahahahahahahahahaha!
OK. But really, there are things I’ve done with my children. Some of these are just general tips, others are specific things that I’ve done.
Tip #1: Pokemon at 5.
When each of my children turned 5, after years of reading to them at night so on and so forth, I give them a challenge:
If they can read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ without a single mistake, then I’ll get them a Nintendo DS, and their own copy of Pokemon. So of course the idea of playing the cartoon they’ve been watching is OMG YAY TOTALLY GOING TO DO IT!
So over the course of a month, I’ll practice with them. Make them sound the words out. Point to words out of order so they can’t just memorize the book and regurgitate it.
Then when the day comes, and they’re able to read it without a single error, they’re so proud. And then they get Pokemon…
And realize that they have to read to play the game. Read the instructions. Read what people tell them in the game, read what happens to the Pokemon they catch, sound out the names, and on and on. So now if they’re going to play the game, they have to read. They have to think and look at the numbers to know how much power their Pokemon have. They have to use logic and strategy in understanding strengths and weaknesses.
Gamefly goes Digital
Once, there was Gametap. And it was pretty good - it’s Mac support wasn’t that great, but it had plenty of older and even some new games to play. And then - it went away.
During that time, other digital services arose, with the leader being Valve Software’s Steam service, though other competitors such as Green Man Gaming, Gamers Gate, Impulse (which is now owned by Gamestop), and of course EA’s Origin.
Computer game rentals aren’t anything new - as mentioned earlier, Gametap was the most famous, until they went out of business. Onlive offers their own unique streaming gaming service where the gamer can stream the game from a remote server so they don’t have to worry about their hardware platform.
But Gamefly’s service looks to be something different. Gamers can purchase and download games like the other stores. But they’ll also be able to download and install computer games and play them as long as their subscribed to the monthly Gamefly rental service - and once you terminate the service, you lose access to the games.
This could be a game changer in the industry. Imagine being able to not just play the demo for the game, but the whole game just to try it out through your computer game rental service. Don’t like it? You’re not out the $50 per game.
Keep an eye out, folks. The digital game distribution battle is just heating up.