Cricket Through the Ages

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Wyatt and I finished Cricket Through the Ages, via Apple Arcade, this past weekend. With him turning 10 and entering 5th grade, I don’t get to play games with him as much as I used to (we have reached the stage where personal alone time is a thing now).

I enjoyed sitting to my son, on the couch, flailing away at each other on the iPad. Cricket Through the Ages is a silly game with equally silly mechanics. A fantastic/short weekend distraction; A win-win in this dad’s book.

Florence

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Out of Melbourne, Australia, developer Mountains has crafted an interactive story about love and life titled Florence. Florence features an exquisite mixture of stylized graphics, music, and creative gameplay mechanics. The end result is what I’d best call a Pixar Short Film experience in video game form.

My most favorite part of Florence were the way emotions were conveyed through gameplay. When Florence first meets her boyfriend, her conversations with him are presented as puzzles. A complete the puzzle to continue the conversation sort of thing. In the beginning of her relationship, the puzzles have more pieces/are more complex. As the relationship matures, there are not as many puzzle pieces to put together as communication has become easier.

I enjoyed my time with Florence. Even though I’d say that the story is slightly predictable, the execution is flawless. Check this out if you get a chance. Florence is short (30 minutes) and sweet.

5/5 – Florence is one of those video game experiences you need not miss.

Title: Florence
Developer: Mountains
Platforms: iOS and Android
Reviews on: iOS/iPad
MSRP: $2.99

The Bible App (YouVersion) Events – Sermon Notes

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This past week, I plugged my pastor’s sermon notes into The Bible App as an Event. I wanted to see if having the sermon notes (which we already have on the back of our printed bulletins) available via The Bible App, would be helpful to our members.

YouVersion Events - Sermon Notes

Above, you can see what it looks like once you have all of your information plugged in. You can add:

  • A Sermon Series Graphic
  • Church Name
  • Sermon Title
  • Location and Times
  • Sermon Bullet Points + Associated Scripture
  • Links for Giving, etc.

I made sure to tell a few members, before the service, that I had made the sermon notes available via the app. We’ll call this week part of a test run.

YouVersion Events - Sermon Notes

So, I intentionally sat my Bible down and only used my phone during the service. I liked that I could:

  • Take notes by typing
  • Read the corresponding scripture in the same version as the pastor

As someone who does not normally interact with a personal device during the Worship Service, I felt a bit awkward being on my phone though. But looking around the auditorium, I could see many members using their phones/iPads to read the Bible on.

I’m going to keep plugging the sermon notes into the app for the next few weeks. I would like to see what type of feedback I get. If your church is looking for another way to help your members engage, The Bible App – Events, could be a good thing.

What I’m Learning: As A Dad

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Since my son was old enough to hold a controller, I have shared my love of videogames with him.

We started with Super Mario Bros. on the family NES. Since then, we have progressed from him passively watching to now actively participating in playing games such as  Skylanders and Kirby’s Epic Yarn. At four years old, my son loves videogames and is quite good at them–humble dad brag–.

Screen time, which encompasses the iPad, TV shows, and videogames, has become a hot commodity in our house. If my son had his way, he would never unplug and instead become a digital potato. Not just any potato mind you, a stinky potato.

My struggle as a parent is to balance “screen time” with all of the imaginative play that awaits in my son’s toy box. Hot Wheels, super hero masks, and Legos are but simple gateways to pretend worlds of adventure. Sharing my love of videogames, with my son, has caused him to associate “daddy time” with “time to play videogames”. On the deepest, nerdiest level, I should be proud of this but I’m not. I want more for my son than just virtual worlds. On a selfish level, I want more for myself than to have to spend “precious” game time playing in some sort of G-rated world.

Here is what I am learning though: Videogame time with dad has nothing to do with what videogame is being played or whether or not my son has a controller in his hands. All that matters, ALL THAT MATTERS, is that the two of us are spending time together. If that means that he sits on my lap and watches me play, he is fine with that. He just wants to spend some time with his dad.

Even from the beginning, he has always wanted to spend time with me.

Even from the beginning, he has always wanted to spend time with me. I should be honored.

Stargazing

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Sundays are always long days for some reason. This past Sunday was no different from any other, except I took my son on an adventure.

The sun had long set when I asked my 3 year old if he wanted to go outside. He had been sitting on the couch playing Learning with the PooYoos on the PS3. He quickly said yes and scrambled to get his shoes on. Wanting to know what we were going to be doing, I told him that we were going on an adventure. So we grabbed our flashlights and headed out into the dark backyard.

Trees transformed into monsters; shadows danced along with the flashlights. We walked around the backyard on our adventure, checking out different nooks and crannies. It was then that I had an idea, so I ran back inside the house and grabbed the iPad.

*Photo by HubbleColor {Zolt}, Creative Commons

Coming back outside, I set a chair out in the middle of the yard and we sat and stared at the sky. I showed him where different planets were thanks to the Star Walk app. The entire time you could almost see the gears in his brain working overtime. He kept asking questions, wanting to know if we could breathe on Mars. He asked me if there were robots on Mars. I told him yes. He grew very concerned when I told him that we had left a robot or two on Mars due to their batteries dying. Later on, when we went back into the house, he asked his Mom how we could get batteries to the robots. Apparently robots are cooler than planets. I should know that.

Sword & Sworcery

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Lately, I have been slowly playing through Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (link will open iTunes) on the iPad.

The game doesn’t seem so much a game but an experience. The visuals and music blend to create a pretty interesting fantasy world. So far though, I have enjoyed the soundtrack (link will open iTunes) much more than the game. The music is epic, haunting, and overall catchy. I like it. Not sure if this is a game that I will end up recommending but I will for sure recommend it’s soundtrack.