If there's a tot or two at your house, then we've got some great new games that you'll enjoy playing with your little ones.
Kids are always nagging for a pet — but expats on temporary assignment are often unable to satisfy such a demand. If you can't get a real pet, then maybe a virtual pet would be a good substitute. The "Fantastic Pets" video game from THQ joins augmented reality (AR) with the controller-free technology made possible by Kinect for Xbox 360 for an incredible experience that brings virtual pets right into the home.
In this first augmented reality (AR) game developed for Kinect for Xbox 360, kids are able to see their pets come to life next to them on the TV screen. Augmented reality (AR) technology makes it possible for players to see themselves in real time on the TV screen interacting with a pet they have imagined — as ordinary as a puppy or as whimsical as a dragon — that responds to their gesture and voice commands, similar to how they would interact with a real pet.
Players start with four animals — dog, cat, horse and lizard — that can be morphed into imaginative creations from mystical unicorns to ferocious dragons. Once players have created their very own fantasy pet, they enter a world in which they can play with their pets through several mini-activities that range from fetching, grooming, and feeding their pets to a series of mini-games that include popping pinatas, partaking in talent shows and many others. Kids get the enjoyment of having a pet in the house and parents are spared from pet cleanup and vet bills.
Next, after the kids have indulged in some fun and games, it's time to add some learning to the day. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's "Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover!" uses game play to show how amusing it is to live a healthy lifestyle. Based on “Sesame Street,” the award-winning children’s television series, the learning game will be available for Wii and Nintendo DS in August.
"Building lifelong healthy habits starts in early childhood. Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover! gets kids up and moving though stretching, jumping and dancing, models good hygiene practices and highlights the benefits of healthy food choices through fun and active game play," said Rosemarie Truglio, Ph.D., VP, Education and Research, Sesame Workshop.
In the game, Grover sets out to create a series of challenges designed to help his Sesame Street friends get up and go! Through the course of the game, Elmo and Abby jump over obstacles, row a boat, and play “Grover Says,” all while learning important life lessons about healthy habits. Through their adventures, the game promotes physical activity, good nutrition, personal hygiene and even the importance of rest and relaxation.
In Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover!, accessibility for preschoolers is enhanced with Grover-themed gameplay helpers, available for Wii and Nintendo DS at no additional charge. On Wii, the gameplay helper is a soft and fuzzy character cover with special grips that slips over the Wii Remote, minimizing unnecessary buttons and making it easier and more fun to hold. For Nintendo DS, there is a jumbo click stylus designed for smaller hands, simplifying interaction with the touch screen. The game is intuitive, enabling preschoolers to play by themselves with minimal adult involvement, while offering ways for parents to help. The game features a “Parent’s Page” where parents can review games their child has played, and review curriculum goals. Parents can also customize up to three profiles, set limits for number of games played and more.
Kids can expand the Sesame Street experience with Elmo’s Travel Songs and Games on DVD which was released on May 3. The DVD features a travel-themed story and engaging games and exciting songs, making it the perfect travel companion for families this summer.
While most people think of dedicated consoles when they consider games for kids, many developers are now creating kids apps for mobile handsets and tablets. One of the most entertaining is “Dylan Monkey & Squishy Face” for the iPhone/iPad. Created and developed by Pham Kids, the app is breaking ground for a new genre of technology-enabled, curated storytelling, which the creators call “TouchToons.”
"By combining interactive touch features with original, animated cartoon characters, we believe the story will be brought to life in a unique way that is both entertaining and educational for kids and parents,” remarked creator Thuong Pham. “It’s a cross between the Flintstones, Curious George and Rugrats, while also giving kids the opportunity to interact with the story and learn innovative, problem-solving skills.”
Pham’s experiences with her two young sons were the impetus behind her creation, and will continue to provide much of the future content for the quirky world of HuMonKee, where “Dylan Monkey” and “Squishy Face” live with their mother, “Frazzle Dazzle.” “Dylan Monkey & Squishy Face” is currently available on iTunes for $2.99.