For 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.)
I’m a sucker for television shows that cross genres and formats. One of my most recent finds was the television show, Falling Skies, which also has a videogame and a graphic novel out at this time.
The library currently has multiple seasons of Falling Skies available for check-out. If you have never heard of this show, Falling Skies is a science fiction, post-apocalyptic drama that runs on TNT with its final season premiering on June 28th at 9pm. Falling Skies takes place after an alien attack has happened on planet Earth, forcing citizens to gather together and attempt to fight back. Boston professor of history, Tom Mason, played by Noah Wyle, is struggling to deal with the fact that his wife has died and his son has been captured by the aliens. Groups of people are being held captive, the number of dead is rising, and in order to rescue the captives, militia groups are forming to protect the survivors. What seems like a straight and easy plan becomes increasingly complicated as the survivors realize that the aliens are more intelligent and crafty than they initially believed. Mason and his group must band together and come up with new ideas to outsmart the aliens.
If the television show interests you, check out Paul Tobin’s graphic novel Falling Skies with artwork by Juan Ferreyra. Tobin’s graphic novel serves as a prequel to the television show. Here, you follow the life of Professor Tom Mason and his three sons who are forced to come to terms with the fact that Mason’s wife has died. Mason believes that in order to survive, they must all hide, which ultimately backfires when one of his sons is captured by the aliens. The artwork in this novel draws from the likeness of the television characters with viewers of the show easily able to recognize their favorite characters. Tobin draws a tale for readers about the months after the alien attack and Mason’s decision to join a militia group to rescue his son. Fans of the television show will not be disappointed in the graphic novel.
The final part of Falling Skies’ transition across genres in the videogame available on PlayStation 3 called Falling Skies: The Game. This game expands upon the tactical warfare element of the television show and by extension, Tom Mason’s vast knowledge of historical warfare and battle strategy. In the videogame, players have the option to customize and maneuver their squad in order to outsmart the enemy. In addition to the over 90 tactical warfare missions, players are also given the option to undertake an infinite number of side quests. This turn-based style of gameplay allows you to complete missions and finish objectives as you command a squad made up of anywhere from 1-6 units.
Check out any of the Falling Skies materials available at the library and let us know if there are other materials for which you are looking!
Summer is my favorite time of year. School is out, the weather is getting warmer, summer reading programs begin, and the best part of summer starts: carnival time! Fairs, carnivals, and rodeos are my favorite way to spend a hot summer night with friends. Confession: I am not very good at carnival games. My hand-eye coordination is, to put it politely, lacking. This does not lessen my desire to play and actually makes me strive to become better every year. My newest way to practice, besides going to the arcade or setting up a mini-carnival with the kids in my neighborhood, is to play Carnival Games, a videogame available at the Davenport Public Library for the Wii.
You may be wondering how playing a videogame actually prepares you to play real carnival games. The use of the Wii remote, instead of a regular game controller, allows players to practice the motion as they are throwing the sledgehammer to test their strength, as they are throwing the ball in Skee Ball, or even as they are trying to dunk someone at the dunk tank. One major bonus to this game is that it allows up to four players to play at a time, which makes each carnival game more of a competition, just like a real carnival! Carnival Games offers over 25 different games of chance and skill that can be found at carnivals across the nation. In addition to allowing players to customize and accessorize their own character, this game revels in the carnival spirit: with bright lights, patterns, and people of all kinds milling around the game.
Check out this game today and play games like Balloon Darts, Ring Toss, Hole in One, Shooting Gallery, Meter-O-Love, and many more. And if you’re lucky, you will beat the rest of the people you are playing against and win one of the over 250 virtual prizes available.
All throughout college, my teachers told me that the best way to entice a child to learn was to make learning fun. You’d also get bonus points as a teacher if you could trick kids into learning without them even knowing it. One of the best ways that I have found to do this is to slip that learning to them in the form of a video game or even a classic novel that has been re-done as an illustrated graphic novel.
As I was searching for new titles to intrigue the kids I know, I stumbled upon Pet Pals: Animal Doctor, a game available for the Wii. It allows players to pretend they are a veterinarian and perform surgeries using the Wii remote. What I found most interesting about this game is that the level of learning is high. More than thirty medical cases, that are based on real events, are presented within this game with mini- and micro-games that allow players to play, feed, and clean the animals and to also perform some specialized procedures. Players will be able to operate and interact with a variety of animals that range from the familiar to the exotic. This game won the Editor’s Choice Award of Excellence from the Children’s Technology Review and also the Parents’ Choice Silver Award.
Disney Universe is a family-friendly video game that allows players to work together to solve the different puzzles and levels. There are six different worlds that you can choose to play in: Monsters, Inc., Wall-E, Aladdin, Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Each world has three different levels within it with the objective of each being to collect coins, solve puzzles, and defeat your enemies. One of the biggest draws of this game is the fact that players can cash in those coins to dress up as different characters, with a total of 40 different characters to choose from. Disney Universe also gives you objectives to complete within each level.
While other videogames may leave you to fend for yourself, this game instead offers pop-up hints to help you finish your objectives. The addition of hints allows younger players to play this on their own without help from older players. Each level also offers a mini-game that allows you to compete with the other players. One to four players can take a spin at this game and have the opportunity to pretend like they are their favorite Disney and Pixar characters.
Interested in playing this game, but you don’t have an XBox360? If that’s the case, the library also offers this game for the Wii and for PlayStation 3.
The Lego Movie Videogame lets players act out as Emmet, the main character in the Lego Movie. Emmet’s ordinary, perfectly normal, and rule-following life is completely disrupted when he is mistaken as the Special, the key, the one person who can save the world. People who have seen The Lego Movie will recognize the plot of the movie as being the plot line in the video game as well. After he is seen as the Special, he is thrust in with a group of strangers to help them stop evil Lord Business as he tries to put his evil plans into action.
The Lego Movie Videogame allows two players to play at once as they travel through 15 levels of play. You are also allowed to play as a variety of different characters, but only after that character is introduced into play. Playing as a different character lets you use that character’s specific skill set to help Emmet on his quest. In order to save the world, players build AWESOME creations to defend themselves. Everything is made of Lego bricks and players are transported into the Lego World as Emmet and his friends battle to stop evil Lord Business.
This game is also available for Nintendo 3DS, XBox 360, and WiiU.
I love old/classic/retro video games. This can be attributed to my father. When I was little, he used to come home from the store with joystick retro video game consoles that had to be plugged into the front of the VCR for us to play. We also used to visit a restaurant in town once a week that had old pinball machines and other arcade games in the basement that we would play for hours on end. My favorite to play was Pac-Man. (Things got a little dicey when you added Ms. Pac-Man into the mix, as no one really wanted to be stuck playing as her…)
In 2010, as a celebration of 30 years of Pac-Man, Namco released Pac-Man Party and I was one of the many who purchased the game for the Wii. So did the Davenport Public Library! If you have grown nostalgic for the “Wakka Wakka Wakka” sound, check out Pac-Man Party. The whole game is set up as Pac-Man’s birthday party. In addition to offering the classic 1980s arcade games for Pac-Man, Dig-Dug, and Galaga, Pac-Man Party also strives to appeal to those not familiar with the classic Pac-Man game by including mini-games and challenges for up to four players. You won’t get bored playing Pac-Man Party as there are 45 mini-games available and three different modes accessible to play. So gather up your closest friends and family members and challenge them to see who can survive the longest as Pac-Man. Let the games begin!
Now that it’s finally spring, it is time for “the wiggles” to come out. This happens every year when the weather gets nice outside and kids are fit to bursting to do anything outside. But what about those rainy spring days when they’re stuck inside? I turn to video games, but ones that people of all ages can enjoy playing (and ones that *hopefully* won’t lead to fighting matches between the players).
My favorite go-to games like this are any of the singing and dancing ones. I just discovered Michael Jackson: The Experience and was pleasantly surprised with the game as a whole. This Wii game allows four players to play with the only requirement being that each has a Wii remote.
If you want to practice your moves before you compete against your friends, the game offers a practice space in Video Training mode. This game also allows you to battle your friends in a Challenge Mode, have the other players be your back-up dancers, or even make your own dance crew. Dance along with Michael to 26 of his iconic hits that range from “Beat It” to “Billie Jean” to “Smooth Criminal”.
So next time it’s rainy outside or you need a new distraction, head to the library and check out our collection of musical video games.
Come on down! When I’m sick, I find myself binge-watching daytime television. Bob Barker’s voice haunts my sickness dreams telling me that I’m the next contestant on The Price is Right! Even though Mr. Barker is no longer the host, I still find myself watching the show as Drew Carey leads contestants through all the classic games in order to win the showcase.
Since my dream to be on The Price is Right has never materialized(Dangit!), I have found other ways to compete with my family and friends to win bragging rights. One of these is the Wii game, The Price is Right. Here I can live out my fantasy of being on the show and compete on Contestant’s Row against my friends to try to get to that treasured Showcase round. Fans of the old and new version of the show will recognize a wide variety of the games: Bonkers, Plinko, Punch a Bunch, Hole in One, Contestant Row, Grocery Game, Lucky Seven and many more. Over thirty classic pricing games are available to be played.
Gather up your friends and see which one of you is the best at guessing the closest price!
March Madness has descended upon us. For those of you not familiar with this, March Madness refers to the NCAA college men’s basketball tournament or the NCAA college women’s basketball tournament that both happen every spring. If your house is anything like mine, basketball has now taken over every television and computer screen. Videogame basketball is even happening!
One of the favorites to be played in my house is NBA 2K12. The NBA 2K series lets you utilize real player rankings and press conferences to talk up the rankings of your player(ie. get more endorsements, money, and a better draft spot), learn who the famous players were that year and in previous years, and even learn more about how basketball statistics work. The 2K12 version of this game allows you to pick from the greatest NBA teams of all time and even lets you see the rosters, which show the players who were actually playing during that time. If you’re more interested in the current players, the previous years’ rosters have all been included as well.
Don’t have a Wii and are looking for this game in a different platform? Or maybe you’re looking for a more up-to-date version of this game with more current players? If yes, then head to the library catalog and search “nba 2k*” and that will pull up results for the other versions of this game, (for example: NBA 2K13, NBA 2K14, and NBA 2K15), as well as different platforms: Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Playstation 4. Any questions? Visit or call the library and our reference librarians call help you.