we sing 80sI love karaoke, but I’m not fond of the whole “getting up in front of other people and embarrassing yourself” part of karaoke. Let’s be honest: when you go to do karaoke, you’re stuck in front of people in a semi-awkward situation, and unless those people are all your relatives or you are a professional singer in disguise, you’re going to be nervous. Conquering these nerves can be accomplished through practice. A new way to practice, besides spending money on lessons or singing in the car or around the house, is to play a singing videogame. My favorites are the ones similar to Rock Band that show you note length and highlight varying changes in pitch, so you’re essentially learning the songs without having to pay for sheet music.

Some of the most popular songs to play on karaoke nights are songs that almost everyone in the audience is familiar with. I have noticed that songs from the 1980s seem to be picked a lot, so I was excited when I found We Sing 80s, a videogame available for the Wii, that provides players with 30 of the biggest songs of the ’80s (21 worldwide No. 1 hits!) along with their music videos for the ultimate 80s experience. Players will be able to play three different modes, from solo to party to karaoke with up to four people jamming together. If you’re unsure how a song goes, you can even take singing lessons and figure out how to add different effects to your voice. You can also change the level of difficulty to make everyone comfortable. So grab your friends and get ready to rock out to a night of Queen, Culture Club, Tears for Fears, Cyndi Lauper, and many more.

donkey kong country returnsFor those of us who grew up with older gaming systems (shout out to everyone who remembers having to blow on Nintendo cartridges to get them to work!), the introduction of games with characters that were originally released on those platforms are always met with big cheers and applause. One of my favorites to play with the neighbor boys when I was younger was Donkey Kong. As I was searching the shelves for a new game to try, I found Donkey Kong Country Returns seemingly waiting for me to check-out and get all nostalgic playing.

Let me tell you, this game did not let me down. Donkey Kong Country Returns plays with just as much difficulty as the original Donkey Kong games, even complete with the side-scrolling features that are unmistakably Kong with the introduction of 3D movements and sequences to appeal to newer players. Familiar characters throughout the Donkey Kong franchise are present within this game with one neat introduction: two player cooperative play! Players can play two at a time: one as Donkey Kong and another as Diddy Kong. Brilliant! Hidden items, puzzle pieces, and other bonus surprises can be found throughout the levels with the option for you to eventually spell out K-O-N-G and win an awesome bonus! There are also additional levels that allow players the opportunity to slow down and strategize as they are greeted with new challenges, movements, and attacks.

Here’s a brief game overview: The animals of Donkey Kong Island have raided Donkey Kong’s hoard of bananas and STOLEN them. Don’t worry. It’s not entirely their fault. They’ve been taken under the influence of several evil Tikis. As a result, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong have to team up to find where the animals have hidden the bananas! (And try to stay out of danger, of course.)

(Sidenote: When researching for this blog post, I found an article written by NPR about Shigeru Miyamoto, the inventor of Mario and Donkey Kong. Check it out! It’s full of some interesting information about the two that I never know. The article is called The Legendary Mr. Miyamoto, Father of Mario and Donkey Kong.)

wipeoutHave you ever watched a television show and wished you could be on it? I have many times! Whether it’s a game show or talent competition or agility race, I have always wanted to at least try. But alas, I know I’m not coordinated enough and that I do not have a dancing bone anywhere in my body. Lucky for me, videogames let me try my hand at reality television without the possibility of failure on a national public level. It’s a win!

Wipeout: The Game is one such game that I recently discovered. Wipeout is a game show on ABC that features contestants competing against each other in what the show calls “the world’s biggest obstacle course”. I believe it. Contestants flip through the air, flop into puddles of mud and water, and generally get beat-up as they compete to win the game. Wipeout: The Game lets you experience all the elements of the television show with no danger of injuring yourself. Don’t worry, the competition is still there as you try to hit the button at the end of the course as quick as you can. Play with up to four of your friends as you battle over 50 crazy obstacles, including the most famous and recognizable ones from the television show: The Sweeper, Sucker Punch, Big Balls, and even more. As you’re racing, listen to the commentators give you advice and generally cringe for your well-being as you bounce from obstacle to obstacle. This game has slow motion replays just like the television show that highlight all the bone-jarring wipeouts that happen. If you still manage to be losing to your friends, don’t worry! You can throw objects at the other competitors when it’s not your turn.

Pick up this game and live out your dream to compete in a game show with no worries of actually injuring yourself!

Did you or your kids get a Wii, XBox 360, or PlayStation 3 for Christmas?  Instead of spending tons of money to buy new games for your system, check them out from the library for free!  Here are some of the latest additions to our video game collection:

Batman: Arkham City

Super Paper Mario

Just Dance 3

Lego Star Wars III

Portal 2

Hasbro Family Game Night 3

Plants Vs. Zombies 

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions


Uncharted 3

Bakugan: Defenders of the Core 

Mario Strikers Charged

NBA 2K11

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II 


Tomb Raider Trilogy

Epic Mickey

Super Mario Galaxy

We have lots of older games for all three systems as well, so feel free to search our catalog or stop by any of our three locations to see what we’ve got!

It’s getting pretty expensive to buy video games, and it’s always a disappointment when you buy one only to find out that it’s not that great.  So why not try them out for free?  The library recently added a lot of new video games to our collections at all three locations!  We’ve got games for the Wii, XBox 360, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3.  And they’re not all just for kids; we have games that teens and adults can enjoy as well!

Our video games can’t be placed on hold, but you can stop into any of our locations to see if they are available.  Just check with a staff member who can point you in the right direction.

Here are just a few of our newest games:

Just Dance 2

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Michael Jackson:  The Experience

Plants Vs. Zombies

Epic Mickey

Need for Speed:  Hot Pursuit

Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2