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Tag Archives: Nintendo

Kids’ Favorite Game Systems

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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Polls, Video Games

 

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Wild Earth: African Safari

[Click here to watch the Wild Earth: African Safari Trailer]

Title: Wild Earth: African Safari

Genre: Educational Adventure Simulation

Rating: E (for Everyone)

Consoles: Wii

Game Description: 

In this game, you play as a photographer whose mission it is to take pictures of specific animals displaying specific behaviors in specific areas, and it is your job to find these shots in the environment you are told to search in. Usually you travel during the day by foot, but sometimes you take shots during the night or in vehicles, such as a car or helicopter. The animals and scenarios you need to take pictures of are scattered throughout each level, and can be missed or overlooked if you don’t search the right areas or capture the events in time.

This is a pretty straightforward, first-person “shooter” (which does not mean you are shooting anything – this is a video game term for games that you play through the eyes of your character). It is educational and entertaining, which is always a good combination. Animal lovers are sure to enjoy it. You simply take pictures while you are taught (through narration) about African animals, their behavior, their environment, and so forth, while having fun getting pictures of whatever you like. One interesting feature, however, is that animals behave like animals should. So if you get too close to a pride of lions or an agitated elephant, they will attack you. The game also includes some limited forms of multiplayer, such as cooperative multiplayer, where one person drives a jeep on safari and the other three take pictures from the jeep. There are also quite a few lighthearted mini-games.

Skills Required and Recommended:

  • Basic understanding of a Wiimote – REQUIRED
  • Ability to use somewhat complex controls – REQUIRED
  • Ability to read – REQUIRED
  • Problem-solving skills – RECOMMENDED

General Difficulty:

The game isn’t exactly simple, especially with the nunchuck functioning as your legs and the Wiimote functioning as your camera, but it’s not exactly difficult either. Once you understand how to use the camera, all you have to do is find your way around the level, and all the following levels tend to work the same way. Being able to read the tasks your partners ask of you and find your way around the environment are important.

Level of Violence:

This game is for kids, so it isn’t really violent, but kids will see animals behaving as animals do – hunting, eating prey, and attacking you if you come too close to them or their offspring. This might be scary to sensitive children, but isn’t graphic or otherwise intimidating. It’s simply a nuisance that is pretty easy to avoid, as you are given a warning when an animal is agitated by your presence.

Use of Bad Language:

There is no bad language in this game.

Presence of a Story:

There is a small story-line the game follows, in which you tag along with a pair of researchers that travel to different safaris in search of different animals to write articles about. You play as their designated photographer. Otherwise there is very little plot or characterization, which is normal for a simulation game like this.

Presence of a Message:

Since the focus of this game is getting photos of wildlife, the only big message this game promotes is respect and appreciation of wild animals in their natural habitats and capturing their actions through photography.

Entertainment Value:

This isn’t a big adventure story, and it’s relatively short for a video game, but it still has good entertainment quality. It’s fun taking pictures, setting up different zooms and angles to get a good shot of what you are required to get shots of and anything else you want to photograph on the way. There are also mini-games that younger children will appreciate, especially since you play as lots of favorite animals in them.

Age Range Recommendation:

As long as your child can read (or you plan on being there to read for them), they’ll be fine playing this game. Even if your child can’t read, the game is still technically playable, though they might not succeed because they are unable to read what shots their partners expect them to take. What’s nice is that older children and teens tend to find it just as fun as a younger kid would, maybe even more than a younger kid would. If your child likes taking pictures, then this game will be fun for them.

Usual Cost:

I’ve seen used versions of these games sold for around $5, especially on sites like Amazon, but it can also be up to $10-$15 brand new, and in some cases, $20. It isn’t too hard to find this game cheap, though, especially if you buy a used version online.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Video Games, Wii

 

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Endless Ocean and Endless Ocean: Blue World

 

[Click here to watch the Endless Ocean Trailer]

[Click here to watch the Endless Ocean: Blue World Trailer]

Titles: Endless Ocean and Endless Ocean: Blue World

Genre: Educational Adventure Simulation

Rating: E (Everyone) for Endless Ocean and E10+ (Everyone 10+) for Endless Ocean: Blue World

Consoles: Wii

Game Description: 

Endless Ocean is a Japanese game (known in Japan as Forever Blue) in which you play as a customizable scuba diver who has been newly recruited to discover the mystery of the “Ancient Mother” in Manoa Lai, a local ocean region. You can follow the main story-line or you can explore, filling up the map of Manoa Lai as you venture through more and more of it, including reefs, underwater ruins, sunken ships, and even an abyss. You are able to find, name, and train dolphin partners who will swim with you wherever you go, take photos of marine wildlife (for fun or on assignments), guide novice scuba divers who wish to see various parts of Manoa Lai, and eventually customize an aquarium tank that can hold any of the aquatic species you have already discovered. An encyclopedia on board the ship you live in keeps track of which creatures you have identified and which you have yet to discover.

Endless Ocean: Blue World (known in Japan as Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep), the more advanced sequel to Endless Ocean, allows you to venture across the world, from tropical atolls to rainforest rivers to arctic waters. Like the first game, you are able to take on animal partners, take photos, maintain an aquarium, track your discoveries in an encyclopedia, and so forth. What’s better is that there are more characters, a stronger story-line, more diverse locations, more tools, more realistic scenarios (including danger), and little connection to the first game, which makes anyone able to play the second with no knowledge of the first. It still has a mystical element to it, just as the first game did, but is otherwise better all around. If you want to buy one of these games for your child, buy the second.

Both games have soothing soundtracks and very educational material. All of the hundreds of sea animals (common or uncommon) you will encounter are real, and you are provided with accessible information on each, should you grow curious. As you discover more animals you are given more information about them, their habits, their environment… all knowledge that is given to you while you’re having fun. These games are educational games with an adventure appeal that makes them fun to play, something that isn’t easy to achieve.

Skills Required and Recommended:

  • Basic understanding of a motion controller (specifically, a Wiimote) – REQUIRED
  • Ability to navigate a menu and save – REQUIRED
  • Ability to read – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
  • Basic problem-solving abilities – RECOMMENDED

General Difficulty: 

Besides the ability to use complex controls (movement, menu navigation, etc.), these games are not particularly difficult. As long as you know how a Wii remote works (with its use of motion controls) and can follow instructions (given to you by the other characters), you shouldn’t have much trouble playing the games. There are no levels, bosses, or anything else found in most adventure games, and you have the freedom to explore (with more and more freedom given as you progress through the story).

Level of Violence:

There is no violence in the first game – even sharks usually leave you alone (though some “aggressive” sharks will whip their tails at you). In the second game, danger is added. Sharks and other aggressive sea creatures will attempt to bite you if you get too close, but you are given a tool called a “pulsar,” which emits an electric shock designed to heal sick animals or calm aggressive animals. There is also some fighting between sea creatures (ex. a giant squid and a sperm whale fight with one another in the deep at one point). There is no blood though, and you do not see sea creatures ripping apart and eating other sea creatures.

Use of Language:

There is no bad language in this game.

Presence of a Story:

Both games have story-lines that progress when you choose to progress them. The second game has a slightly more interesting story-line that involves more characters, places, and an even more mystical objective. You are not bound to the story, however, and can choose to explore or do other things rather than embark on your next quest (though you cannot do much at the beginning of both games without progressing the story a bit).

Presence of a Message:

There are few suggestive themes in either game, but they do try to raise awareness and appreciation of the ocean and marine life. With the mystical subjects of both games, you might also find messages of believing in the unexplained and having the courage to follow your dreams and desires. The messages these games offer are harmless, even positive.

Entertainment Value:

While this is not an action-packed thrill ride of an adventure game, it has enough features (the freedom to explore, tame and train dolphins, take pictures, manage an aquarium, etc.) to keep a child absorbed, even after they’ve finished the story-line of either game.

Age Range Recommendation:

Anyone old enough to use a Wii controller can play the first game, even if they need some help reading or understanding the next objective, and mostly anyone can play the second game as long as they will not be frightened by charging sharks. The ocean itself may also intimidate some children (I know I was afraid of swimming into deep ocean, particularly the abyss of the first game, but that abyss later became my favorite place). Otherwise these are both pretty harmless games, and inspire curiosity and wonder in their players, who come out knowing a quite a bit about the ocean and its inhabitants.

Usual Cost:

The cost of Endless Ocean varies widely depending on where you’re attempting to buy it from (a store, an online store, Amazon, etc.) and whether or not it is used or new. Sometimes it is priced at $10, other times it is priced at $30. You will have to search multiple places and compare prices. Endless Ocean: Blue World generally costs $20 to $30.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Video Games, Wii

 

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