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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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familial trials
children of dune - leto 1

Part A
I got my niece the comic Bone that got a fairly good rating from parents who didn't sound terrified at the idea their children would one day have to interact with the real world. So far, she's enjoyed it, though since she's six, it's fairly slow going with getting her still for long; she tends to associate reading with bedtime and while she loves reading at bedtime, she finds it slightly surreal to attempt at five in the afternoon.

It looks cute, though.

Part B
Okay, for gamers.

My mom loves The Legend of Zelda type games. She's good at them, and at pretty much any strategy/puzzle game. But she has this quirk that makes me kind of want to strangle her. If she thinks it's too complicated, she won't bother, which is how we lost her on Final Fantasy despite the fact the game might as well have said Jenn's Mom's Ideal Game.

Zelda always tricked her by looking simple at first, and by the time she was trading weapons and mapping tunnels on graph paper in three dimensions (One day ask me about our first Nintendo; five hours every Saturday and every Sunday, with me and my sisters with graph paper, pencils, maps and *color coding* monsters), she was a junkie, so--

I need a rec on a game that either looks simple at first and then once you get your two hits, it starts destroying your soul. I want the heroin of the gameworld that sucks you in. But preferably heroin that looks a lot like pixie dust.

If I could pull it off, I'd throw her at World of Warcraft so hard she'd see stars. She's one of those people that looks kind of mediocre and lousy and way too anal at first and seems to do nothing but wander over five screens for days and make obscure markings on paper, and then you wake up one day and your mother has like, moved eighty thousand levels ahead of you, found all the magic swords, and just finished killing the big monster without checking the user's guide, then blinks at you innocently and wanders off the play solitaire. And you look down at five notebooks, colored highlighers, three pencils, multicolored pens, and some kind of obscure altar to the god of video games and remmber, again, why you aren't supposed to bet a week of dishwashing.

*sighs* Birthdays for parents. Hard. Gah.


ETA: ACK! Sorry! We have currently Nintendo GameCube, Playstation 2, er, somewhere a Nintendo Gameboy, two PCs. She'd probably vaguely prefer PC, but for something good, I can get onto anything.

Oh my God, I think I love your mom. That's awesome! =) =)

Well, not the refusing-to-play part, but the rest of it - awesome!

What about the Myst series? There's a ton of puzzle-solving and notebooking required in those. Or at least the first three, which are the ones I've played.

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This one?


I checked it against Child's school and the blog I was reading (Child states its in the library, which is why I had it on my short list).

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Hi. You don't say what console or platform your mom will be playing on. What does she already have?

We have Playstation 2, Nintendo GameCube, PC, and I think a Gameboy atm.

There is a new Zelda out if your mom has a DS.

Is that the one I just saw on TV? Hmm. We have the one that was released for GameCube last year, but ooh.


I love the game "Etrian Odyssey" for the Nintendo DS. It's a Zelda-Final Fantasy kind of dungeon crawler, starts out pretty easy, and then you're playing eighteen hours a day and wondering where the world went. It's fantastic!

Also, there's Aveyond for PC, and a sequel coming soon (can be bought online) and I just saw a King's Quest 7-pack for sale at Target for $19.99. Good luck!

I asked my husband nlanza and our friends the Petes, who write the mostly-gaming blog Tea Leaves.
They complained that you didn't say what kind of gaming system(s) you have! Heh.

peterb says "if she has a PS2, Okami or Dark Cloud might be ok"

if you tell me what gaming systems you have, I can possibly drag more specific recs out of them, if you want.


Currently PS2, Nintendo GameCube, and somewhere a gameboy. Also a PC.

I love Bone, at least the first few albums. It gets a bit too clichéd epic fantasy towards the end and loses some of its charm. And I don't know if I would give a six year old more than the first album.

heroin game: GuildWars. :((((

(Prettier than WoW and you do not have ongoing monthly fees, you just buy the game. And then you buy the expansion set. And then you buy the next expansion set. And then... etc)

Ooooh. I like this. The slow approach.

Going to look now.

What gaming systems does she have?

The one I can think of that looks really simple may not be precisely what you're looking for. It's Okami, and it is - different, different in terms of the skills it requires and the way the game plays out; it is not precisel your typical RPG. But it's wonderful and addictive and I loved it, and the game has much more depth than it would seem. And you get to play a DOG who is also a GODDESS. How awesome is that?

A much more far-out possibility would be Katamari Damacy, which is not a role-playing game at all, but is the simplest, most addictive thing the world has ever seen. You start out and you're like, "Yay! I has a paper clip!" And thirty minutes later you're trying to figure out how to roll up the sun.

Oh, and one of the Shadow Hearts series might be a possibility; that one has a fairly slow build and the primary game trick is easily understood, if not precisely easy for those of us without hand-eye coordination.

Also, which Final Fantasy did she bounce off of? Or does deciding one is not for her mean the entire FF franchise is out? Because some have less challenging start-ups than others.

DITTO ON KATAMARI. I can't believe I forgot that one! <3

Oddly, I'd say Half-Life 2, if you think she'd like a shooter. I can never finish recommending the way it immerses the player - every new element is introduced so carefully you don't even realize you're being familiarized with it, so when you finally need to use that element you already know how.

Myst numbers 1, 3, and 4 are wonderful for the analytic types. I haven't played 5 yet so I can't vouch for it, but after the mess they made of Riven they seem to have shaped up. I do not recommend Uru - the controls made me drop it ten minutes after install, they were that bad.

If you have your heart set on an MMO, I recommend Final Fantasy 11. She would need a mentor, since there are certain customs that newbies simply can't possibly know (at level 13 EVERYONE goes to the Dunes and starts learning how to work in a party; some races are better for certain jobs and some are incompetent, etc) but I know a whole crowd of people will volunteer for that. :) FF11 is very friendly place.

Um, what else... Brain Age for DS, Elebits for PS2, um... I'm sure I'll think of more later. I tend to lean towards the simple, attractive games, so I have sympathy for your mother. XD FFXII beat my butt, but she might like the liscence system in that, too.

I would love to see your mom playing WoW. Sadly, I have no recommendations, because they would have been FFX or WoW. *g*

I'd have to second the Guild Wars rec. If you want a great laugh, the Star Wars Legos game for PS2. My nephew and I play that one. It's a riot.

My mom's obsessed with the Sims 2. I think you can buy that for several different gaming systems. (She has a laptop JUST FOR THE SIMS. Seriously.)

One day ask me about our first Nintendo; five hours every Saturday and every Sunday, with me and my sisters with graph paper, pencils, maps and *color coding* monsters

Holy mother of Mario. I seriously thought that my dad was the only one who did that--I still have some of the graphs we made for the Mario games. I learned to draw maps, people, and straight lines because my dad was obsessed with Nintendo games, and refused to shell out money for guidebooks when he could just as easily make us do it in the guise of "father daughter time." I used to go with him to the store and pick out video games to rent based on what I thought I could draw for the graphs. I still have what some might term an unnatural fondness for quarter-inch graph paper.