22 February 2010

Finally Learned to Play Cribbage

Cribbage is one of those card games, along with bridge and canasta, that I've heard mentioned in 1940s movies and always wanted to learn to play. I've even had two cribbage sets in my house for the past several years. However, every time I would look at the rules, I couldn't wrap my brain around them. This was frustrating because I am pretty good at teaching myself how to do all sorts of things from books. I resigned myself to the fact I wasn't going to be able to teach myself this game.

Last weekend, I was hanging out at my best friend Rabbit's house when all of a sudden she pipes up with, "Do you know how to play cribbage?" Now, it was 11p and at least one of us had been drinking, so it wasn't the most conducive atmosphere for learning a game :-). Still, I managed to pick it up and I can't wait to teach it to my daughter C2. Cribbage is the type of game where my sweet and quiet 13-year-old will beat the pants off the adults!

18 February 2010

Rock Band Unplugged (PSP game)

I wasn't sure if I would like Rock Band Unplugged. After playing the game on the Wii, I couldn't imagine playing it on the PSP. I mean, you can't sing into the PSP, and that is my favorite thing to do when I play with the kids. Even without the singing, though, this is a compelling game.

To me this game is like Frequency with a Rock Band skin. You play guitar, bass, drums, and vocals -- but not all at the same time, of course. You switch tracks, trying to keep them all at the top of the meter. If you successfully play a phrase on one track, it will play by itself for a little while so you can switch to another track. I never thought I would get the hang of all the switching because I had a terrible time of it when I played Frequency. However, I did get into the groove after a few sessions.

I would say that playing Rock Band Unplugged satisfies a different gaming need than playing it on the Wii or one of the other consoles. When I play on the console, I like to grab the microphone and pretend that I am a rock star. On the PSP, Rock Band is more of a skill game; I don't even think much about the music. I worry much more about being fast and hitting the notes at just the right moment. So even if you thought that music games weren't for you, give this version a try.

09 February 2010

Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS Game)

I put Professor Layton and the Curious Village in my Gamefly queue because I have fond memories of playing point-and-click adventure games in the late '80s and early '90s. What I should have remembered was that I had to buy a walkthrough guide to get through Myst. When I got this game in my hands, I was frustrated by the time I got to the 7th puzzle! It has been a long time since I've played any kind of game that taxed my brain, so perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind to play it. Since I am renting the games, I feel the pressure to play it for a week and send it back. If I get stuck on a puzzle, I feel like I'm wasting time.

Even though my feeble brain couldn't handle the game, my 16-year-old daughter M got a kick out of it. She especially enjoyed the cut scenes; they reminded her of the anime movies that she likes. We both liked the "Story So Far" feature that reminds the player of the plot when you turn the game back on. M sped through the game and finished it over the weekend, but I know she didn't hit all the puzzles or bonuses that could be unlocked. I will probably rent the next couple games in the series for her to try, but I'm not sure if my brain is up to playing. I think this is the kind of game the doctors are talking about when they say you should do puzzles to keep your brain sharp in your old age!

08 February 2010

Loco Roco (PSP game)

Loco Roco is a cutesy little platform game for the PSP. As you can see in the video, you tilt the landscape to make your little person move forward. The more flowers you roll over, the bigger your person gets.That is about as much as I understood about this game. I'm not a big fan of platformers; I'll play them for a few minutes if I have a break but they don't hold my interest enough to play through all the levels. My daughter M actually finished the game in the week that we had it on loan from Gamefly, so it must not be a very long game. The best thing I can say about this game is that the graphics and music elevated my mood. They make you think of spring and sunshine and children playing in the park. Perhaps they should hand this game to depressed people.