My Latest Trip to the Videogame Store

Geek Culture

I have a five-year-old geeklet who loves nothing better than playing on the Xbox 360 with me. One problem that I constantly face is finding games that we can play together. We have run the gambit on the LEGO titles. I can tell you how to find the red brick on level three of The Empire Strikes Back better than I can tell what I did at work yesterday. I looked around on the Internet for some pointers on fun titles, but I could not find any good sites that had suggestions that interested me. So I went to our local game store and picked up a few titles that we could try together and here are the results.

Rated E – Everyone

Navigate your way through a futuristic galaxy to save the planet in WALL•E, the story of the little robot that could. Due to rampant consumerism, sometime in the near future, the Earth is so covered with trash and pollution that it forces an exodus off the planet. But before humanity departs they build millions of little robots programmed to clean up the planet. Unfortunately, the cleanup program doesn’t go quite as planned, leaving the cleanup solely in the hands of the little robot hero WALL•E and his love interest EVE. Race, blast and navigate as you take futuristic robots WALL•E and EVE through a fast-paced adventure. From the desolate wastelands of Earth to the Axiom space cruiser, throw cubes and blast robots and obstacles while you relive some of the movie’s most thrilling moments and explore 9 worlds filled with non-stop action and adventure, along with head-to-head multiplayer challenges. Dodge dangerous enemies; carry out intense missions and save the world.

Both can use lasers to blast enemies and obstacles Huge variety of game play on over 9 action-packed levels Shooting, flying, racing, co-op play, navigational challenges, and even arcade style games Multi-player challenges (up to 4 person multi-player) and tons of mini-games & activities Features major movie Voice talent, including Ben Burtt.

My entire family loves this movie, so I figured that game must be gold also. That is close to being a correct statement. When I saw on the box that it had a co-op mode, I thought for sure that my son could be WALL•E and I could play EVE or vice versa. Then we would travel around and have fun adventures together. Not true. The only co-op mode is in the minigames and the majority of the minigames are player versus player. The main game is quite fun however, even though only one person gets to play. So far a good bit of the obstacles have been a little too difficult for a five-year-old, so there has been a few “Daddy can you do this for me?” moments.

Bottom Line: The single player game plays like you are in the movie. If you liked one, you will probably like the other. The multiplayer is limited to minigames, which get old quick.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashedswfuswfu
Rated T – Teen

The next chapter in the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, tells the story of Darth Vader’s Secret Apprentice, a mysterious figure trained by the menacing Sith Lord, to hunt down the last of the Jedi. Set in the dark times between Episodes III and IV, the story is both a continuation of the prequel trilogy — exploring the aftermath of Order 66, which called for the immediate execution of all Jedi, and focusing on the continued rise of Darth Vader — and a direct bridge to the Original Trilogy. The Force Unleashed will forever change the fate of the Galaxy and explain key plot points that directly lead into events in Star Wars: A New Hope. With The Force Unleashed, LucasArts not only introduces a new chapter in the Star Wars saga, but also two completely new and innovative technologies — Digital Molecular Matter by Pixelux Entertainment and euphoria by NaturalMotion Ltd. These groundbreaking technologies combine with Havoc physics to create true next-gen game play and the Force like it’s never been seen or experienced before.

This was a purchase for me. It can’t always be about the kids, you know. My son loves Star Wars also, so I let him have a go at it. Before you condemn me to the “Bad Dad” abyss, let me defend my actions. The game has no bloodshed. When you defeat an enemy they disappear. Also, everyone is your enemy and they all attack you. Your character is not slaying innocent victims. Finally, your character only fights with a lightsaber and force abilities, you do not use guns. Your enemies use guns and you can block their shots in true Jedi form. There, my defense rests. No this game does not have a co-op mode either. If it did, we would probably never play any other game ever again.

Bottom Line: While really not for little kids, the “easy” mode in the game will allow those little gamers some good Sith fun for a short while, but the game gets difficult quick and could get out their league. If you let your geeklets watch the movies, they should be able to handle the game content.

Viva Piñatavivaviva
Rated E – Everyone

Viva Piñata invites gamers to create an immersive world where living piñatas inhabit an ever-changing environment. Beginning with a few basic tools, players build and take control of this environment, using their creativity and imagination to attract, protect and manage over 60 different piñata species that can visit their world and make it their home. Utilizing hundreds of customizable elements, players can create a unique piñata paradise.

This is truly a unique game. Kind of like a little kid version of the Sims. You start out with this little garden and you till the soil, plant grass and other vegetation, and then construct some buildings. Soon all kinds of little critters flock to your garden and thrive. It keeps going and going, and we have just scratched the surface. It is a single player game, but with a great co-op feature. It allows the user of the second controller to assist the main player. Sort of like the drivers ed teacher’s brake in student car. When your little one gets stuck or needs some help, he or she does not have to hand over the controller. You just pick up your own controller and help guide. I wish every game allowed for a second person assist.

Bottom Line: Great family friendly game that will keep your geeklets entertained for as long as you let it and fun for adults too. Second player “over the shoulder” game control is an awesome feature.

Well there you have it. I hope this helps some parents out there who might be looking for interesting games for their little ones. Just remember, “E for Everyone” does not mean that everyone can play, or have the ability to play, the game. It just means that the subject matter is suitable for everybody. Your results may differ.

(All photos and block descriptions are from

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