One of my favourite things about being a dad is being able to re-live my youth all over again by doing fun things with the kids.
Surfing at the beach, cricket and footy in the backyard, Lego, chess and playing computer games are all on the menu as our youngest gets older and moves way beyond requiring toddler management.
I love it because I get to share time with the kids and engage with them on a level that they can relate too; and I can wind the clock back a few years for myself without copping grief from The Stylist!
We also have an excellent technology-sharing network operating in a family unit that features the closet geek that The Stylist is, me, a teenage boy and girl and a Gen Z or whatever it is you call a seven-year-old these days.
It means we are certainly not short of outlets on which to play games. Like many households these days there are several console options, plus a swag of handhelds.
But the devices of choice for the crew and I at the moment are “our” iPads.
I say “our” because again there is a bit of sharing that goes on.
The Stylist is on to her second model and has a very close relationship with her device. So close in fact that it rarely leaves her side and gaming is banned on it.
That leaves her hand-me-down Gen Two version that I use. It has become kind of “the family” machine with a host of different apps loaded on and ready to entertain at a moment’s notice.
I primarily like to use it for work and entertainment when commuting on the train to and from work each day.
But there have been several occasions during these school holidays already when I have had to leave for work without my little mate because Mr 7 will have stashed it somewhere the night before so that he can have uninterrupted access to the games.
“Our” latest favourites are at quite different ends of the gaming spectrum (and just quietly the iTunes account hasn’t taken a huge pre-Christmas hit thanks to the EA Games iPad app sale. Winning)
Need for Speed Most Wanted for iPad and iPhone (rated 4+; was $7.49, now $0.99) is an all out street racing adventure that is fast, fun and a little bit cheeky as you do everything you can to out-run the cops in some of the hottest cars around. For this reason, I prefer to play alongside Mr 7 so that I can try and be a parent and temper his thirst for running cars off the road and “going on a rampage”.
The game play has been cleverly modified to take advantage of the tablet platform, with tilt or touch screen controls that I found provide an added sense of realism that the more traditional console controls could not offer with car racing games.
Like its predecessors in the Need for Speed franchise there are a heap of modifications to make to your cars as you earn money for reaching certain racing results, and the menu system lends itself really well to the iPad touch and swipe function making for easy navigation.
The graphics are really impressive and there are more than enough challenges to keep the little gamer and I coming back for more.
The other game from EA Mobile we have been playing a lot is Monopoly Millionaire (rated 4+; was $7.49, now $0.99).
Mr 7 is always hassling me to crack out the board games, and I have to admit that most of time I only half love all of the set up, pack down and losing all of the bits.
But with Monopoly Millionaire, you don’t have to worry about any of that and the gameplay puts a really cool new spin on this gaming classic.
The premise of the game is basically the same, but there is an end in sight this time, with the first player to make $1 million declared the winner.
There’s no way to cheat on the board either, with the animated game pieces driving, flying or sailing their way from space to space the screen has been swiped and the die rolled. Not sure about your family but that’s a very big bonus in our household!
Of course, the beauty of these games on the iPad is their playability and portability.
Oh, and the fact that EA Mobile is hosting a Christmas sale on its most popular titles (including these two above). Where normally you’d pay more than $7, you can download these for $0.99 each.
That’s something akin to achieving family peace around here, as we head into the festive and holiday season when the customary road trips to visit family will leave all members of the family crying out for something to break up the boredom.
And The Stylist?
She’ll be happy. Her iPad remains game-free and available for way too much Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagram-ing … we just leave her to it.
Are your kids into smartphone or tablet games? Which ones do they like best? Which ones do you like to play with them?