PlayStation Family Showcase

Gaming is something that has never really grabbed my attention for any length of time and aside from playing Packman and Tetris when I was younger I have never really given it a lot of thought.

This however is the complete opposite for my eldest son who is an avid gamer and in fact has been trying to convince me for the last two years that gaming is a viable career and a path that he really wants to follow.

With this in mind when I got the invitation to Playstation’s Family Showcase I was hoping that they would open my eyes to something I know very little about.

Walking into the event at the cool and quirky Perseverance Works in East London the boys eyes lit up and neither of them new where to start first.

The whole area was set out into different sections with a huge variety of games to try your hand at, plenty of refreshments to keep you refulled and if you fancied a bit of a break from the screen time then there were lots of crafts to keep you busy and some yummy cupcakes to decorate with lovely Cookie Girl.

The boys quickly found the NBA 2K17 basketball game and sat together playing whist I grabbed a coffee and chatted to the hilarious Ellie from ‘Scummy Mummies’ who was there to host the event.

Archie seemed to quickly find his favourite games FIFA17 and the super cool Gran Truismo and settled down to challenge the experts that were walking round to help out with any tech questions…there were more than a few from me!

Frankie however was overwhelmed with the choice and flitted backwards and forwards between games such a the fabulous new Lego Ninago Movie game that really bought one of his favourite movies alive in front of his eyes, Marvel Superheroes that went down a treat as he got to play some of his favourite superheroes and Crash Bandicoot which was in fact one of the first games I ever bought Archie.

There were even two fantastic games – That’s You and Knowledge Of Powergames that allow the whole family play together with the use your smart phones or tablets to answer questions and really interact together that would make the perfect alternative to the usual board games this christmas!

Watching the boys play together and make new friends by joining up and using the two player option on the games really made me see gaming in a different light. I had always seen it as a solitary pastime that kept them very isolated when in fact games can help team building skills, make healthy competition and create social skills. All of these things I had never really considered before.

I think the boys christmas lists have certainly grown since this event and I would definitely advise any of you to check out some of the games I’ve mentioned as they would make super gifts for any gamers out there.

Swapbots:A New Generation Off Augmented Reality 

I have written several times about the perils of screen time and how it has had a detrimental effect on our family.

My teen has had several periods where he has been drawn in by the addictive world of gaming and it has really taken over his life.

This said though the world we live in today is driven by technology and for children to get on this is an integral part of their learning that can be hugely benificial if used in the correct way.

The people behind the fantastic new augmented reality toy-Swapbots have come up with the perfect solution to this.

Swapbots are collectable toys that through the use of augmented reality creative an amazing interactive video game that is based around a physical toy.

Swapbots are formed of a set of nine characters of which each character is made up by three interchanging blocks.

Each block has its own superpower and can be chopped and changed to make your own unique character.

This amazingly  amounts to a huge seven thousand and twenty nine character combinations that can be brought to life through the free Swapbots app that is easily downloadable on your device of choice.

All the player needs to do is select their  character combination, point their  device at the toy and watch it come to life in front of their eyes.

From here the Swapbots can be cared for, taken on exciting adventures or pitted at battle with each other.

Many of you may worry they this is just another pull into the lost world of screen time, but as I said in reality we live in a technology driven world and this is so much more than just your run of the mill gaming app.

It encourages thier problem solving skills, allows them to use thier imagination and allows interaction with the outside world whilst using elements from the digital world.

Take a look at it in action HERE 

*collaborated post 

XBox Wars

  

Number two was absolutely desperate for an Xbox One for his birthday at the end of last year.  

With the hefty price tag my husband and I were reluctant but he agreed the whole family would chip in and this would be the only present he would receive.

His face was a picture as he opened the box and for a normally emotionless teenager this was so lovely to see.

Little did I know this moment would be completely life changing for us all!  This probably sounds pretty extreme to most but the Xbox entering our home has caused nothing but dramas. 

First came the arguments of how long he was allowed to spend on it.  We are apparently the only parents in the world that implement a time schedule and I’m totally unreasonable for not allowing him to spend hours on end stuck in front of a screen.

Next came the sneeky sessions where he thought we wouldn’t notice late at night and he was trying his luck by going back on when we were busy with the other children.

He turned into a child that’s one and only interest was gaming.  In days out it would take him ages to engage with us as all he wanted to do was be at home playing on his console.

The breaking point for us though was XBox Live.  This allows them to play games online with others.  He would get so into the game and massively aggressive when I would go into his room to get him off.  If anyone dared enter his room whilst he was engrossed in a game you would get his full wroth!

After countless bans due to unacceptable behaviour and homework not being completed the straw that broke the camels back happened and he managed to rack up a bill of over £500 by buying points online.

I felt completely sick that over a few months he had managed to do this without any thought for us.  He denied all knowledge and blamed his younger siblings for sneaking into his room and pressing buttons.

The console has been removed and thankfully Microsoft were fantastic and refunded me the full amount.

After the initial week of pleading to have it back and trying every trick in the book to get on my good side I finally have my son back.

He’s engaging happily with the family, enjoying time out together, getting on with his school work and getting up without a struggle in the morning.

The problem is where do we go from here?  Every part of me wants to get rid of it for good and there is then my soft side on my shoulder telling me it’s awful to completely remove something he loves so much.

Reading back through what I have just written would easily suggest there is only one option but I have always been to soft of the children and want them to be happy, what would you do?