Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Spider Man laptop proves gaming can be good

New Jersey-based KIDdesigns' new Spider-Man laptops are fun for young children, who are often ignored in the all-too violent world of videogaming.

The black laptop costs about $40 and is a really good tool for kids, say, 4 to 6 (the manufacturer recommends 5-8) to learn how to use the computer, to learn how to type and battle Spidey villians at the same time.

The games are easy. You identify letters on the keypad and Spider-Man tells you how good a job you're doing. You find words. You play Hang Man. The laptop teaches math, spelling and vocabulary with eight learning zones and more than 40 games.

I think it's a terrific value and training aid. It'll hold your kids attention just as much as that handheld color thingy and will teach them a little something at the same time.


-- The National Institute on Media and the Family released the following statement regarding Microsoft’s efforts to inform parents of a hidden partial nudity section in the soon-to-be-released Halo 2 video game for Microsoft Vista:

“The National Institute on Media and the Family commends Microsoft for their leadership and transparency in alerting the public and the Entertainment Software Rating Board of the hidden game content. Thankfully, Microsoft took the leadership role in ordering the ESRB to issue stickers with the correct rating information on the packaging. Microsoft has taken great strides in ensuring that parents have the tools available to make healthier media decisions. From parental controls to game ratings, Microsoft has become a reliable friend for families."

-- SEGA today announced that CRUSH, a new puzzle game created exclusively for the PSP. CRUSH is set within a complex and hypnotic 3D world. Players will use the game’s unique crushing mechanic to “crush” the environment and transform it into a more simplified 2D platformer. Once flattened, players will utilize the 2D space to move to new areas in order to solve otherwise impossible challenges, and unlock secret items that were previously unobtainable in the 3D environment. Players will then “uncrush” the 2D environment and return to the 3D world.

-- Midway Games today announced that Mortal Kombat®: Armageddon™ for Nintendo's Wii™ home video game system has shipped to retail outlets nationwide and is available at a U.S. MSRP of $49.95. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon features a new control scheme, a completely revamped Endurance Mode, and a new kharacter - Female Khameleon.

-- GameTap, the broadband entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting, announced today the latest addition to the GameTap Originals line-up, American McGee’s Grimm.

Fans can expect the same twisted treatment of children’s classics, in addition to a fantastical art style, and groundbreaking gameplay elements. American McGee’s Grimm is a narrative-driven, action-adventure game which immerses the player in a world built around some of the best known tales from the Brothers Grimm, including Rapunzel, Rumplestiltskin, Little Red Riding Hood, and Snow White.

-- The 3D racing party game, “Mad Tracks,” will be available for download on Xbox LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360 beginning Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. GMT (2:00 a.m. Pacific Time).

Players can race through 15 challenges consisting of nine mini-games and six different races behind the wheel of one of 12 sleek compact cars. “Mad Tracks,” from Load Inc., features 12 power-ups to keep engines revved up and players in the fast lane ahead of the competition.

-- The PlayStation store is offering a free download of Gran Turimo. Players get access to one track and ten cars with HD graphics.