Year: 2016

Year: 2016

New parenting trend -‘no gifts allowed’ birthday parties

A new parenting trend sees parents increasingly hosting ‘no gifts allowed’ birthday parties for their kids.

Money-saving measures: In recent months, such invitations have become increasingly popular, as cash-strapped mothers look for ways to decrease costs, in any way, shape or form.

Expert: Psychologist, Dr Monique Robinson, said that it’s part of the overall trend towards minimalism – less presents means that the house is less overrun with ‘stuff’.

According to Dr Robinson, most parents ‘who choose the ‘no gifts allowed’ approach are coming from a really good place in terms of life lessons’. Read More

‘Skylanders Imaginators’ makes creating your own character feel special

The Skylanders franchise has taken a slightly different route to rival Lego in the toys-to-life genre, with Imaginators’ new character-creation tool allowing children to design their own playable heroes. This adds a fresh incentive to the familiar combat action with new character parts to find and collect.

The starter pack comes with everything needed to complete the game and one “creation crystal” with which to make a Skylander, but of course there is a range of ways to expand the experience further – new toys and digital purchases. More here

In Short: The increased role-playing elements add another interesting angle to an already accomplished franchise, but the cynical attempts to fleece parents’ wallets are hard to defend.

Pros: The family-friendly combat and loot-farming is a lot of fun, with one of the best character creators ever. Well-designed characters and toys, and the Crash Bandicoot stuff is great.

Cons: The inability to delete or overwrite crystals is a shamefully cynically move, and the loot microtransactions aren’t much better. Less inventive level design than SuperChargers. From Metro

Formats: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Xbox One
Price: £39.99
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Toys for Bob
Release Date: 14th October 2016


Play in the World Cup of Hockey with NHL 17

You think EA Sports is going to limit you to NHL teams with the latest edition of its hockey sim? No way.

Sure, you can play as your favourite NHL squad, but you can also pick one of the national teams participating in the World Cup of Hockey, taking place in Toronto this month.

Hockey fans will also love how they can not only build their own fantasy hockey team but also play the squad against friends.

NHL 17 is available now for PS4 and Xbox One/S.

All you need to know as PS4 Pro out this November

In the end it’s not called the PlayStation Neo, PS4K, or PS4.5, but instead the long-rumoured upgrade of the PlayStation 4 will be named the PS4 Pro. And it’ll be out before Christmas.

What all this power is used for is largely up to the developer making the game, or creating a patch for a title that already exists. However, the three things which Sony emphasised were 4K resolution, HDR gaming, and virtual reality.

One of the most unexpected announcements was that next week Sony will release a free update that will grant HDR compatibly to every PlayStation 4. As they pointed out, HDR is not reliant on processing power – which is why the Xbox One S also supports it, despite not being any more powerful than the standard Xbox One.

Although VR was listed as one of the three main beneficiaries of the console’s new power it was barely mentioned beyond that. Which is odd as before today many assumed that improving the VR experience was one of the main reasons the PS4 Pro had been created.

One of the key points Sony kept making is that the PS4 Pro will be running the same games as on the standard PlayStation 4, using the same discs and downloads, but with added enhancements on top. This ‘forward compatibility’ is dependent on the publisher making the effort to take advantage of PS4 Pro, but it doesn’t have to be just limited to 4K and HDR.

Also announced at the event was the already thoroughly leaked PS4 Slim, although Sony never referred to it as that and stated that it would simply be the standard model moving forward. Apart from being a bit smaller it doesn’t do anything substantially different to the existing model, and is instead aimed at people that just haven’t got round to buying a PlayStation 4 yet.

Read more:

Video games help children at school

Playing online video games can “apply and sharpen” skills learnt in school and help children to achieve higher grades, new research has shown.

The study, which was conducted by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia, found that children who play video games perform better in school, as the games require the player to solve a series of puzzles before moving on to the next level.

In contrast, children that regularly use social media or chat sites are much more likely to fall behind in subjects such as maths, reading and science.

Author of the report associate professor Alberto Posso, from RMIT’s School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, said: “Students who play online games almost every day score 15 points above the average in maths and 17 points above the average in science.

“When you play online games you’re solving puzzles to move to the next level, and that involves using some of the general knowledge and skills in maths, reading and science that you’ve been taught during the day.

“Teachers should consider incorporating popular video games into teaching – so long as they’re not violent ones.”

He went on to conclude within his research that the use of the internet for homework tasks can prove to be beneficial, but that social media can often become a distraction.

Instead, he suggested that social platforms such as Facebook could be integrated into classroom learning, so that it is less of a procrastination tool.

Teenagers could boost maths and science scores by playing video games

Teachers across Australia are being urged to incorporate video games into their lessons after research revealed teenagers’ test scores improve if they play.

A study was conducted on 12,000 15-year-old students across the country and discovered gaming allowed the teens to perform 20 points about the average in maths, reading and science.

But those who logged into Facebook, Twitter or other social media websites on a daily basis scored 20 points lower.

‘The hypothesis is video games can lead to players developing skills in problem solving,’ Associate Professor in Economics Alberto Posso told Daily Mail Australia.

Read more:

30 built-in games on new Nintendo NES Classic Console

Nintendo says ‘there’s a little something for everyone: a nice mix of timeless favorites, cult classics and maybe even some games that you never got around to playing.

‘Each is sure to bring back memories and produce plenty of new ones.’

Balloon Fight™



Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest™

Donkey Kong™

Donkey Kong Jr. ™


Dr. Mario™






Ice Climber™

Kid Icarus™

Kirby’s Adventure™

Mario Bros. ™





Punch-Out!! ™ Featuring Mr. Dream



Super Mario Bros.™

Super Mario Bros. ™ 2

Super Mario Bros. ™ 3


The Legend of Zelda™

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link™

Nintendo unveils tiny NES console with First Pokemon and other 29 built in games

It is not simply Pokemon making a rebound.

On the off chance that you have affectionate recollections of engaging King Koopa or tossing barrels as Donkey Kong, you can remember them with another “work of art” Nintendo Entertainment System console.

The NES Classic version comes complete with 30 built in games , including each of the three Super Mario Bros diversions, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and Punch-Out.

‘Each title is sure to bring back fond memories and produce plenty of new ones,’ the firm says.

‘Players can even enjoy playing many of these games together by attaching a second Nintendo Classic Mini: NES Controller.’

‘We wanted to give fans of all ages the opportunity to revisit Nintendo’s original system and rediscover why they fell in love with Nintendo in the first place,’ said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime.

‘The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition is ideal for anyone who remembers playing the NES, or who wants to pass on those nostalgic memories to the next generation of gamers.

Video games that improve skills for kids with special needsVideo games that improve skills for kids with special needs

Strengthening skills through play is a proven strategy to help kids learn. For kids with special needs, video games can offer opportunities to practice everything from communication skills to organization — even social interactions — in a comfortable environment where players set the pace. While games designed specifically for kids with special needs can address certain issues, many mainstream titles can support your kid’s learning. Mainstream games can boost a sense of independence and confidence in kids with special needs, provide the ability to ask for help, and let them challenge themselves. Try these games to help kids with special needs in these five areas: Read More