Santalist
Kids Got Game

Dear Santa…

My mom recently asked for my gift wish list and she really balks at buying me more than a game or two, even after all these years and all my explanations of how games can be good. But if I were to hand off my real wish list, something like this would happen...
December 19, 2011

My mom recently asked for my gift wish list. But if I were to hand off my real wish list, something like this would happen…

Mom: Honey, where’s the rest of the list?
Carla: That is the list. It’s what I want.
Mom: This is all games. What else can I get you?
Carla: I’m an adult! I can put what I want on my list! *Stomps feet*
Mom: What about a Crock-Pot?

In all seriousness, my mom really balks at buying me more than a game or two, even after all these years and all my explanations of how games can be good. So now when I give her a list, I sneak in games alongside grown up things, like a Crock-Pot, which I actually really do need this year. (Any recommendations?)

But, if I really had my way, this would be my 2011 wish list – the games I’m really excited about and the various reasons why.

●     Portal 2 (Xbox 360): The first Portal was a mind-bending exercise in 3D puzzles and pithy writing. Portal is always on my list when I discuss STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) content, especially related to trial and error and flexibility of mind. I have high hopes for the sequel!

●     Scribblenauts (iPad): Scribblenauts on the Nintendo DS is another of my STEM favorites due to the multiple solution options. Now it’s on iPad too! 10,000 objects are at your fingertips to solve puzzles. (When in doubt, try a tornado or blackhole!)

●     Where’s Waldo? (iPad): There’s several Waldo apps in the store, but I just can’t get enough! Finding Waldo and the various other items never gets old. And I love the comedy embedded in the scenes.

●     Bullseye by Polyphonic Spree (iPad): This one is weird, yet enchanting. Is it a game? Is it a meditation experience? Is it an interactive music video? Every viewer is likely to have a differing interpretation!

●     The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (iPad): It’s visually stunning and a sweet story, but it also incorporates lots of different little games and interactions to propel the story forward. In a world where we’re all searching for the perfect marriage of gaming and storytelling, this one has the potential.

●     Doodlecast for Kids (iPad): Years ago, Jakers! had a great little drawing app on pbskids.org that played an animation of the drawing as it unfolded. So each brush stroke was part of a little movie. Doodlecast for Kids allows you to record your brush strokes along with voiceover narration. (And, full disclosure, I’ve worked on some of the Tickle Tap Apps, but not Doodlecast. I wish I was in on that one!)

●     Dance Central (Xbox 360 Kinect): Another one that we’ll come back to in a later post. But for now, this video says it all.

●     Wipeout in the Zone (Xbox 360 Kinect): No judging! Give a girl a little mindless fun, eh?

●     Meanwhile (iPhone/iPad): If you’ve heard me speak before, you’ve probably heard me talk about the fantastic interactive comic book Meanwhile by Jason Shiga, notable because it has branching paths that you can choose. Now they’ve turned it into an app!

●     And, last but not least, I would like the ability to freeze time while I play all these games, so that I can still get everything else done.

Assuming Santa is on my side, I’ll report back with my thoughts on the games in 2012! What’s on your list? Let us know at kidsgotgame@nocrusts.com or post below!

And from Anne and me, happy holidays and happy new year!

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