gaming

KidzPLAY new gaming accessories for kids

kidzplay

KidzPLAY is set to shake the gaming world up this Christmas as it launches with an innovative new range of gaming accessories for kids age six and upwards.  It’s the brand behind some new PlayStation 3 gaming accessories and is designed especially for small hands. It is the official kids gaming accessories partner for PS3.

The controllers have also been injected with a special microbial additive which protects against a number of harmful bacteria including MRSA and E-coli. This should strike a chord with parents. They are actually the first gaming controllers made to contain this germ fighting additive.

The new controllers are quite unique as they have been ergonomically designed with small hands in mind. To ensure they got the design just right, Sony did extensive research which included rigorous focus group testing where adults played with giant controllers to decipher where the pressure points are in gaming controllers that are too large for small hands.

The Wireless Adventure Game Pad will head up the launch of the new KidzPLAY range, and is fully compatible with the numerous Playstation 3 games currently on the market and suitable for families.

KidzPLAY will be available from Game, Very, Littlewoods, Amazon and other gaming and toy retailers from October 2013.

Price  – The Wireless Adventure Game Pad retails at £29.99

 

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Board games for all you girl geeks

If you’re not just a girl geek but also a girl nerd then, like me, you probably like playing board games. Traditional board game set up can be a bit tedious what with all those pieces that need counting out and setting up, not to mention the storage space required for all those boxes.

Luckily the iPad has amazing range of board game apps, meaning you can carry them around and it even sets up the pieces for you! Here are a few of the top contenders.

Classic

All classic boardgames from chess through backgammon to go and even Othello have many many implementations for the iPad. One of the most unusual is Game Table, which doesn’t implement the rules or force correct moves only but just lets you move pieces as you want.

Family

EA Games do a great line in all the family classics you’ll have played when you were a kid: Monopoly, Yahtzee, Scrabble and so on. If you also have an iPhone or iPod touch, Scrabble has a lovely feature where you can use your phone as a tile rack, with the iPad as the main playing board area. However my favourite of EA Games offerings is The Game of Life – they’ve even replicated the 10 number spinner that you flick to determine how many squares to move.

Eurogame

Finally all the classic Eurogames are implemented, including the world famous Settlers of Catan, Spiel des Jahres winning Carcassonne and GAMES magazine’s board game of 2010 – SmallWorld (2 player only).

There’s also an increasing number of games from from Sage Board Games, the most significant Eurogame developer for the iPad: Medici, Ra and Tikal are already in the Apple store with Puerto Rico, Le Havre and Tigris and Euphrates rumoured to be coming soon.

It’s a board game girl geek paradise!

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Tech Review: Dance Central Xbox Kinect

Friday night is girl’s night in. Pizzas in, Pinot on tap, Xbox Kinect ready for plug and play.

Hold on, Xbox? As in a games console? Yes.

Ambience is set. Doors are locked, curtains are drawn and the surround sound is up. We are going to dance the night away in my living room to Xbox Kinect’s Dance Central.

Harmonix are the brains behind Dance Central and have created a party atmosphere game which teach you dance routines and include songs ranging from Cascada’s Evacuate The Dance Floor to Kool & The Gang’s Jungle Boogie, so we were not short of choices to make fools of ourselves.

The geniuses at Microsoft have invented the Kinect sensor which means that your whole body is in control. There are no control pads or fiddly buttons to press. Which is great for us (girl) gamers who tend to button bash and can’t remember where A or Z is located on a control pad. The fancy technology in the Kinect means the camera, microphone and the sensors can detect your body movement and voice commands.

You do need an element of bravery to dance and goof around with your mates, once you’re over that it is a tremendous amount of fun. The Break It Down mode is the only way to learn the more difficult routines. The dance coach gees you up when you get a flawless finish or encourages you to do better when you don’t get a move on point. While Dance Central doesn’t contain back flips or headstand moves to make you an advanced street dancer, this game can help you learn dance moves that you can easily take to a club.

You do actually break a sweat in this game, if not from the fits of laughter then from the routines itself. In Workout Mode you can enter your weight and keep track of the amount of calories burned during dance time; a game that looks out for you, thank you Microsoft.

If you are up for more banter and a little competition Battle Mode is the way forward. From easy, medium or hard, with or without the flashcards your dance skills are tested with the accumulation of points for the correct moves danced then pitted against your opponent as you dash in and out of the dance area.

For the more confident dancer, going straight to Perform It Mode will guarantee laughs, especially in the freestyle section where you are at liberty to pop it like it’s hot and then have it all embarrassingly replayed back to you via the in-built camera.

The navigation took a bit of getting used to, but once I got the knack of waving commands in the air I felt like I was emulating Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

The downside, or not, as the case may be, is that as the controller you have to be spatially aware. You could blame it on the Pinot for hitting your play mate in the face or you could make the required 6-8 foot of space available. My front room was a bit of a squeeze, there were five of us and a couple bottles of Rosé so being space aware wasn’t entirely on the agenda.

The Kinect takes gaming to a different level. It makes the games console seem less of an insular activity and more socially interactive. With Dance Central it would be an idea that you like to be active and actually like to dance otherwise you may feel a bit of a third wheel watching your friends have all the fun.

The Kinect’s in-built camera ramped up the hilarity of girls’ night by taking pictures and video footage randomly. These gaming moments can be kept alongside other entertainment content on the massive 250GB hard drive. Sleek and in gloss black finish with touch sensitive buttons, this kit is quite sexy and sitting pretty beneath the LCD screen you would hardly notice it was a games console. If that wasn’t enough, with the Xbox 360 LIVE having wi-fi in-built meant I could tweet and dance at the same time. The girls’ night was in full swing; we weren’t dancing around our handbags but having a party focused on Dance Central. Who said girls aren’t gamers? You don’t

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Switched on Gifts for Tricky Teens

Teens can sometimes be tricky to buy for as you’re never quite sure what’s hot and what’s not. Check out John Lewis’ guide to getting some great pressies for your dahhhling teenagers.

Polaroid 300 Camera in Black – £79.95

This is a great gift especially if your kids are already playing Assasin a la Gossip Girl stylee. It has an automatic flash, four scene settings and just makes a nice change to get an instant classic photo – for once.  Perfect for parties and out and about too as it’s a whole lot less cumbersome than the old skool one!

Sony MHS-PM5K Bloggie HD Mobile Camcorder – £169

This pocket camcorder is super easy to use and shoots in HD and is SO simple to upload to YouTube with its built in USB arm.  The high quality lens can swivel over a 270 degree range for easy shooting from any angle including self-portraits. I’ve reviewed this on BBC2 Something for the Weekend and it’s fab!

 

XBOX 360 with Built in Wi-Fi and Kinect – £TBC

This new XBOX 360 will be at the top of any game loving teenagers wish list. With a sleek new design , 250 GB hard drive and built in Wi-Fi it delivers the ultimate gaming and entertainment experience. With built in Kinect, users will be able to play games without the need for a controller thanks to sensors and specially designed games.

Paul Frank Earbuds Ink’d Pink – £19.95

These fun looking quirky in ear headphones are great value for money and deliver great sound too.

Paul Frank Zoom Julius iPhone Case – £ 24.95

This funky Paul Frank case is made from durable rubber to keep your shiny iPhone looking lovely and new.

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Gaming grannies the forgotten women?

The world of ‘apps’ is not just the domain of young geeky males. A survey just out conducted by YouGov and Lady Geek reveals that technology and software are no longer just the preserve of geeks, with women over 55 feeling liberated by their smart-phones. The report highlighted that 39% of female smart-phone owners aged 55+ have downloaded one or more app to their smart-phone and that surprisingly, gaming was the second most popular category for the same group with nearly 1 in 5 female smart-phone owners stating a gaming app is their favourite compared to only 1 in 15 of men in a similar age band

The number 1 app for females over 55 is -you guessed it- Facebook, with 18% of survey participants in this group saying that a social networking app is their favourite. Nearly a quarter of them find out about their favourite apps by recommendations from a friend compared to around 13% of men within the same age group.

In the US, the number of women over 55 on Facebook is almost double the number of men in the same age group (Source: Inside Facebook, Feb 2009). Yet despite this growth, companies tend to ignore this ‘invisible and forgotten’ generation and pay little or no heed to what they want or need.

We set out on a mission to understand how older women use technology and raise the agenda of these ‘forgotten’ women. We are so obsessed with youth and yummy mummies in this country we forget that a third of our population is over 50. The women we spoke to loved what ‘apps’ could do for them whether it be ‘snacking’ on a 10 min Bejeweled game or updating their Facebook page with new photos. A revolution is going on within this older group but no-one seems to notice or pay any attention to these women. These women represent a significant financial opportunity as they have high amounts of disposable cash” says Belinda Parmar, founder of Lady Geek, an independent company which helps technology companies understand women.

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