As I have the kids keeping me busy with my free time when I get home from work, I find that I had to give up any hope of playing my MMOs ( and Star Trek Online is free now!).

I find I spend more and more time on my smartphone, I jump through hoops in a zombie apocalypse, run my own restaurant, play Scrabble, Boggle and any other firm of board game that can be wait-for-your-turn-based.

It’s not the ideal situation as I would like but with the free time I have available this will do.

The kids spend more time on my computer than I do and I can only see their time increasing as they get older. I suspect that I will be relegated to the phone or probably a tablet. If only they have the processor power to let me play the good stuff, I don’t get Angry Birds and fear that is the future of social gaming.

Here I am. Yet again, over a year passes and I have done nothing here.

The baby is now 17 months old, my oldest is now 7 years old and I feel very tired, very, very tired. My days are consumed with working, watching the kids, giving my stay-at-home wife sanity time and sleep….pretty much in that order. It’s not easy, I give my wife a ton of credit, because I only have them for a short period of time and I am beat at the end of the day.

As an older dad, I find that my tolerance threshold is short and getting shorter every day. The oldest boy gets the brunt of my nastiness because as the eldest I expect more from him and I give him a hard time.

Yes, I feel guilty but I get over that quickly. In the past year my boy went from 1st grade to 2nd grade and his learning skills appear to have regressed, which requires his mom and me to be more diligent in making sure he completes his homework and assignments. Hmm…. Things were much easier when all I had to worry about was what the boy was playing.

The youngest is walking and starting to get the hang of running but speech still eludes him….and he is so different from the eldest. The first one was quiet, easy going and complacent….the total opposite of this one…

Again, patience is something that I have to work on every single day. I don’t like it, but I have to do it.

At the end of the day, it’s what’s best for them, not what I want.

I was checking my e-mail, and noticed that I have this page that I have completely forgotten about. It’s been about 2 years since I’ve done anything with it.

In that time span, our country has hit the fan as the banking industry has hit rock bottom, tons of people have lost their homes, we got a president that has inherited a horror-show of a situation and all the pundits are conveniently forgetting the last 8 years that got us here but are holding this president accountable.

Boy has time gone by. Oh..yeah. We also have a new baby in the fold. As of this writing he is six weeks old. Hopefully his days will see better than what is here now.

I have a long chain of  incoherent thoughts here but seeing as I have about five minutes to get them down before the baby and number one son gets going this Sunday morning I just thought I should jot them down.

I will try better on remembering this is here and hopefully get back more often.

One other thing I forgot to mention: Our oldest son, who is six now is obsessed with It’s a Lego community webpage that allows you to build worlds and allow visitors full reign. He loves it and does not seem to spend much time away from it. He hasn’t gotten the full hang of all the nuances, such as, the interaction with other users and I have to constantly explain to him that even though he’s having fun destroying everything, the various scenarios he visits are not necessarily PvP and the other visitors don’t appreciate that behaviour. Other than that he is totally into it and getting him to leave the site makes taking him to school quite a chore for my wife (bless her,  for putting up with the kids and me. I really have to do something nice for her VERY SOON!).

I’ll try to get some audio from my boy on it so he can explain his obession.

Enough for now….the children are calling. Enjoy your day.

USA Today Crossword Challenge

for Nintendo DS

Hm…I like the book-like feel of the Nintendo DS. That mixed with my like for crosswords made the pick of USA Today Crossword Challenge a no-brainer. How bad can a “game” be when all you have to do is figure out words with letters in various positions? Ya….right..

This game I got for myself. I like crosswords, and I looked forward to getting into this one. I popped the game into the DS and started.

First thing I noticed was the language choice, English and Spanish, neat feature. My Spanish being rocky I stuck with English. I was jazzed about the fact that there were 300 puzzles available to me. Not as many as Crosswords DS but I expected the quality to be significantly better.

I was not disappointed about the challenge of the puzzles. While the clues indicated a certain age attributed to them they were still varied enough to make the few era specific clues not an issue, although I had no idea Ish Ka Bibble was real, let alone a cornet playing comic, but I digress.

For those hard-core competitive crossword folks, you’ll be glad to know there is a timer that keeps you in check, but for the time conscious be warned, for wrong answers you are penalized a few seconds, that includes typos, and flubs.

At this point I should mention that I don’t read the manual that accompanies the game. I am just too….I guess the phrase I am looking for is “set in my ways”. Had I read the manual I would have learned using the Pen icon to enter letters is what counts towards completing the puzzle. The Pencil icon allows for entering and erasing although the erasing feature works for Pen as well. Maybe the timer is affected. I never paid attention to it and never cared. Time? On a crossword? There’s no money on it so it don’t matter to me.

First off…. The character recognition is not the best as far as I have experienced, perhaps I just don’t know how to write…hmm…..didn’t take that into account. Of course I am talking about the actual ability to write. Writing as in grammar and sentences, I am aware of my failings….no need to point that out…. Thank you very much.

At the very least I figured out tapping the keyboard icon let me avoid the character recognition but then I ran into the vertical/horizontal input scheme. Luckily there is an eraser icon which let me take out some errors, however, that didn’t come into play until I learned that the game freezes on inputting after a period of time. I still haven’t figured out if it’s interlocked with the timer or with the number of errors. Not that it matters. I just saved progress. Shut down the game and resumed game afterwards.

For the most part, it delivers on what you are looking for in a crossword but there are too many quirks and misgivings on the game to make it a hands on favorite for me.

Difficulty, I can deal with. Antiquated clues, I can deal with. But the shaky character recognition, constant monitoring on the horizontal and the vertical inputs and freezing during gameplay? While it may not bother the competitive crossworders, it does make a game unpleasant for the casual player, like me.

Ape Escape Academy

I have to admit a decidedly ignorance in regards to previous Ape Escape games as I have not played them before, however, Ape Escape Academy I have played.

I must admit I have not played it beyond the 3 rd board as I am not skilled enough to play this throughout.

The game premise is basically Tic-Tac-Toe with mini-games. Considering the only mini-game I have any level of success is the one where you hold off the incoming arrows with your shield you can guess how I do with the other mini-games. My son does pretty well overall, since he’s only three right now you can guess where my ego sits when it comes to this game.

It keeps you busy on a game for game basis when you’re dealing with each board but if you expect any level of consistency when it comes to the difficulty factor you might be totally disappointed.

Then again, maybe I just suck at these type of games.

Nintendo Wii

Rayman Raving Rabbids

While this game may not necessarily lend itself to young ones, it was a definite hit with my little one.
This is essentially a mini-game extravaganza. My little one loved it, the variety of the games prevented the boredom factor from really kicking in, even with the constant attention you have to pay to the trials you are required to complete to unlock the various jukebox songs and costume changes.

The variety allows you to spend a bit a time on the game but the crunch time allows for you to spend a few minutes at a time with your family.

Nintendo DS

New Super Mario Bros.

The beauty of the Nintendo DS system (as well as the Sony PSP) is that you can turn shut down the system without turning off the game. This makes the New Super Mario Bros. a great game to play.

The graphics are tuned up for the newer system but the gameplay is pretty much the same NES setup. In throwing in a series of mini-games to keep you entertained beyond the regular platform leaping and secrets chasing you have quite a bit of replayability here.

My son enjoys this game immensely. He especially enjoys the mini-games.

Regular gameplay provides a moment for either my wife or myself to play a few levels while our son watches cradled in our arms. The best part is if we have less that exceptional play he’s still entertained, and that’s all that matters.

This is the first post and it won’t say much.

I’m a father of a 3 year old at this point in time and my son has been playing with a game console or PC game of one sort or the other as early as 18 months old.

He’s played with the Sony PSP, Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii (which you probably know can play GameCube games), so he has had some constant accessibility to one game system or another.

My approach here is thus: As a father of a young child I don’t have much time to play games although as a gamer I like to spend time playing along with my wife and my desire to have our son play games that can entertain and educate as much as possible. I will give comments and thoughts on games that we play and if they fit our 5 minute lives.

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