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Moms With Apps Survery Results: Thoughts On Kid’s Apps

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Moms With Apps and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

 

 

As parents we want our kids to engage with technology in a positive way that inspires learning as well as entertainment. The challenge is helping our kids choose appropriate apps and setting screen time limits. Moms With Apps is a website that offers information about kids apps, including How To Choose Apps For Kids. I have twin 11 year old boys that like using their tablets or my smartphone for their screen time. I use resources like Mom With Apps to help me – help them – choose appropriate apps for their age and also apps that will inspire creativity, learning or just wholesome fun. Just this morning at a doctor’s appointment I searched for Math apps my son could play with while we were waiting.  My concerns related to apps are to make sure they are age inappropriate but also not just simple time wasters. I would rather help my kids use the powerful technology tools they have to enhance their lives, a lesson that they can take to adulthood.

 

 

Mom With Apps just finished a survey of more then 450 parents around the country with their app questions and concerns. The results are interesting so I wanted to share them!

 

 

 

Moms With Apps Survey

 

Here are some of the specific findings from their press release:

 

  • 96% of parents believe that apps are beneficial to their child’s education and development.

    Moms With Apps provides parents with the ability search for trustworthy apps in a variety of different subject areas, including science, math, reading and critical thinking.  

  • 87% of parents report that ​they are concerned about ​their​ children ​making in-app purchases, and 81% say they worry about app​s​ ​​collect​ing​​ their children’s​personal information.

    Founded by parents who love using technology with their own kids, Moms With Apps only features developers who have committed to high standards for protecting kids’ privacy and building great family-friendly apps – and Moms With Apps always makes it quick and easy to Know What’s Inside every app they feature so that parents can decide if it’s right for their kids.

  • When selecting apps for their children, the three key issues for parents ​are: 1) the age-appropriateness of the app​;​ ​2) ​if it’s engaging for their child​;​ and ​3) ​if the app protects their child’s privacy.

    Moms With Apps gives parents simple tools to find the right apps for their kids. Just like nutrition labels help parents decide which snack is right for their kids, Moms With Apps provides parents with information up-front and in plain English to help them decide which app is right for their kids.

  • Parents feel they waste time looking for the right apps for their kids. 49% report the process as “moderately” to “very hard.”

    With more than one million apps to choose from, it can be hard to find the right apps for kids – and even harder to know if the app their kid loves is one they can trust. Moms With Apps is the only resource for parents who want to find great, trustworthy apps for their children.

     

 

What are your thoughts and concerns about children’s apps?

 

 

 

 

Lenovo CES 2014 : Horizon 2, 4K Monitors and Beacon

*Sponsored series

 

For my first CES 2014 covering Lenovo products I discussed the Lenovo Yoga 2 and other new laptops. But Lenovo also showcased new technology at CES 2014 that enables new types of mobility and flexibility with home devices - and ups the ante for professional desktop monitors (that can also be used at home). The Horizon 2 showcases one of the most exciting new developments in home technology, the PC that extends into A TABLE form factor (also called a table PC)! The Horizon 2 is slimmer (19.5mm) then original Horizon, with new features such as NFC that allows devices to share digital content directly.

 

Lenovo Horizon 2 Standing Position

Horizon 2 – Photo credit: Lenovo

 

The Lenovo Horizon 2 Table PC has a 10 finger touchscreen, motion control features for navigation, Windows 8.1, four hours of battery, up to 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor and Dolby Home Theater.  When used in Stand mode, it can be used as an All in One Desktop. “Table” mode enables collaborative computing such as playing games for up to four people. Accessories include a joystick, striker and e-dice to enhance the digital gaming.

 

Lenovo Horizon 2 Joy stick

Horizon 2 – Photo credit: Lenovo

 

Enhancing “table” mode is the Lenovo “Aura” custom interface for media aggregation and entertainment. The press release explained enables users to “upload photos from their camera or smartphone and the Aura interface will try to recognize the faces in the photos, access media from their PC or smartphone on their home network directly on Horizon 2’s display when it lays flat in Table Mode with the Aura interface activated. They can either use the new Horizon mobile app to shake their mobile Android device, allowing the content to “fall” onto Horizon 2’s screen. Or they can place the mobile device on the screen, which signals to the Aura dial to open around it and “pull” out content onto Horizon 2’s display. Also, users can edit photos and share directly from Aura to Facebook.“ In addition, the Horizon 2 also has multi-user games including Ubisoft’s Chubby Kings, Legacy Games’ Crayola’s Songbook and education apps such as I Spy from Scholastic.

 

 

 

Lenovo Horizon 2 Aura Interface

Horizon 2 – Photo credit: Lenovo

 

Lenovo announced the Beacon personal cloud storage device which allow to store and play media from anywhere using a tablet, smartphone, PC or TV.  The Beacon stores files within the device.   Because families these days have so much media to store, it is helpful to have a specific media storage for the home. Features include storage expandable to 6 TB and an Intel Atom dual core processor. The service has no monthly fees, can load files wirelessly or via USB connection, is able to auto upload photos from a smartphone camera via WiFi or 3G, uses Lenovo custom app on an Android smartphone to remotely control or play media stored on Beacon to an internet connected TV or by HDMI, and includes security features and ability to share with multiple users.

 

Lenovo Beacon

Lenovo Beacon Photo credit: Lenovo

 

 

 

 

Here are some of the other Lenovo product announcements from CES 2014:

  • Lenovo N308 is the company’s first Android all in one desktop that is geared for those who want access to apps, entertainment and browsing.  The N308 runs the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system, comes with an NVIDIA Tegra quad core processor, up to 500 GB hard drive storage, a 720p webcam and WiFi.
  • Lenovo A740: The Lenovo A740 is an aluminum styled 27 inch All in One that is only 4mm thin. It has up to 1 TB of hard drive storage, voice and motion control, a 10 finger touchscreen display, NFC for exchanging digital content, HD Display with wide 178° viewing angle (WQHD 2560×1440), NVIDIA GeForce graphics, JBL speakers and Dolby Home Theater.
  • Traditional notebooks Zline 14 and 15 inch for general computing are great for users on a budget. Starting at $399, they have quality features such as Intel Core processors, Dolby speakers, optical drives, different memory options 4GB, USB 3 port to work with USB 3 dock to hook into a keyboard. The 15 inch has a numeric keypad on the keyboard.
  • The Y40  (14 inch) and Y50 (15 inch) are laptops geared for media creation and gaming with Nvidia GTX graphics,  up to Core i7 and 16 GB RAM, backlit keyboard (modern design, red backlight), SSD option, touchscreen and has a 4K option. Both have JBL speakers with subwolfer. Price points starting from $699.
  • Two other new devices are the Thinkvision Pro2840m, a 4K (28 inch) monitor that is geared toward the engineering (CAD) or professional market with full speakers for only $799!!  Another is the Thinkvision 28 that is focused on consumer home market with a 4K monitor, adjustable stand that lays flat for gaming and has 32 GB storage. Touch and Android are additional features for $1199. The computer supports 4K is streaming on YouTube and Netflix.
  • The Lenovo Flex 20 (already out on the market) is a more portable alternative to the Horizon. It is an dual mode all-in-one PC that adjusts from standing in a “desktop” mode to laying flat in “entertainment” mode but hinge is adjustable at any angle. The 19.5’HD screen (1600 x 900) has 10 point multi-touch, built in camera and microphone for video conferencing, wide viewing angle, TV tuner and the stereo speakers have Dolby Home Theater.  Accessories such as joystick, striker and e-dice can be used with fun and educational games from a custom Lenovo Aura interface. The Aura was created to make the PC a “social device bringing users together to enjoy fun apps and multimedia.  Games can be loaded from the Windows Store and the Lenovo app shop. The up to 2 hour battery allows the PC to be moved to different parts of the house.  The USB 3.0 enables faster file transfer and copying of large media files (also backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices).
  • In the multi-mode category there is also the Lenovo Flex in 14D (14 inch) or 15D (15 inch) notebooks.  These value convertible laptops have AMD A6 quad core processors, all day battery life, two modes (Laptop and Stand) and  Dolby Advanced Audio v2 .

 

Lenovo Flex 15D

Lenovo Flex 15 D Photo Credit: Lenovo

 

Pricing from the press release:

The Lenovo Beacon personal cloud storage device will be available beginning in April with models starting at $199. The Lenovo N308 AIO Desktop will be available beginning in February with models starting at $450. The Horizon 2 Table PC will be available beginning in June with models starting at $1,499. The Lenovo A740 AIO Desktop will be available beginning June with models starting at $1,499 via major retailers and www.lenovo.com.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series for Techlicious Lenovo blogger program  I received products for review as part of the program. My words are my own.

 

 

 

Tips To #NavigateTheHolidays With Gift Offerings at GameStop

*Disclosure: Sponsored post.

 

I am a regular Gamestop customer, whether it’s pre-ordering a new kid’s video game or buying used video games and accessories.  So, I was excited to recently host with Techlicious – a Gamestop event and tour at my local GameStop store. We had a fun group of bloggers, many who were already GameStop customers and excited to learn even more with a tour by the local GameStop team. Beyond being the “world’s largest, multi-channel video game retailer“, GameStop offers:

 

***Video games for  all types of consoles (Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii) along with Video game consoles,  portable gaming devices, tablets and more.

 

 

***Tech accessories including headsets, tech toys such as Skylanders and Disney Infinity and even my kid’s favorite Lego video games (that compliment nicely all the Lego building they do).

 

 

***Gift Cards and Stocking Stuffers.

 

 

Best of all GameStop has affordable “Buy-Sell-Trade programs for video game hardware, software, digital content accessories, consumer electronics (including Apple Devices) and more“. To keep within our budget, we have our kids identify games they no longer play with to help save up for new ones. I was happy to find out that “GameStop also offers more then 2,500 video games under $20″. That also helps with the budget!

 

When looking for video games at GameStop we can always first check if there are used copies available. Long ago my teen figured out that we should sign up for the GameStop Power UP Rewards (customer loyalty program) – so we did. Along with the rewards, exclusives, point earning opportunities and extras, the GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards benefits include earning points towards future purchases.

 

 

 

We also had a lunch where we discussed holiday tech shopping tips, trends, tips on choosing video games and more from Suzanne Kantra of Techlicious and the GameStop team.

 

 

 

GameStop, with research partner Brierley+Partners, asked 500 U.S. gift givers what was at the top of their purchase lists this holiday season (fielded from November, 2013). Listed below are some highlights shared from the event and a press release:

  • 42 percent of shoppers surveyed plan to purchase video game related items for their children this holiday – including video games, consoles, and accessories.” While we’re always thrilled for the holiday season, this one is especially exciting as we welcome the first new gaming consoles in nearly a decade, along with a flurry of new titles to show off the systems’ next-gen technology,” said Ashley Sheetz, chief marketing officer of GameStop. “It seems more people than ever, at almost any age, are getting into gaming, and if this survey is any indication, the number of gamers will keep on growing thanks to the holidays this year!”
  • 84 percent of ‘gifters’ are aware of store and website trade-in programs, and nearly 20 percent are planning to use them to help defer gift costs. We learned that “GameStop offers instant store credit or cash on a vast range of products, from old video games, consoles, to smartphones, tablets, and other electronics sitting in drawers and on shelves. And with special holiday trade-in bonuses, the savings can grow large very quickly!”
  • 82 percent of ‘gifters’ expect to turn to store employees when making purchasing decisions this holiday season. “We know holiday shopping is stressful and even more so when presented with the plethora of gaming choices out there,” said Jason Cochran, vice president store operations and strategic initiatives of GameStop. “Our goal is to relieve some of that stress with our trained employees armed with the latest gaming knowledge, as well as through our loyalty and trade-in programs that can make the financial strain of the holidays less stressful.”

 

When it comes to video games for my kids, I spend the time to gather information about the game by using not only sites like Common Sense Media and ERSB, but also knowledgeable GameStop salespeople. Over lunch, we had a chance to talk about screen time and tips to understand if a game is appropriate for kids/family use:

 

  • Current state of kids & technology:  83% of parents set rules or have a conversation with kids about the safe use of technology, with the majority of parents setting limits starting at ages 5-8*, Overall daily screen time for kids under 8, 1 hour 55 minutes, decreased by 21 minutes per day vs 2 years ago.** More time on: mobile devices, Less time on: TV, DVD, Computers, Video Games.*From Microsoft/Comscore study 2013 .
    **From Common Sense media 2013 survey: Kids 0-8.
  •  Games are social: 40% of gamers play with friends with 17% playing with their spouse or significant other and 34% playing with other family members. Video games are a family activity: 40% of parents play video games with their children at least weekly. Most video games being sold are appropriate for kids with 73% of the 245.6 million video games sold in 2011 rated Everyone (E), Teen (T) or Everyone 10+ (E10+). Ninety-one percent of games evaluated by ERSB in 2012 were rated E, T or E10+, From Entertainment Software Association.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations : Establish screen-free zones, turn off electronic devices during dinner.  For children and teens: limit entertainment media to no more than 2 hours per day (does not include homework). For children under 2: no TV and entertainment media.
  • Recommendations to help find the appropriate video: Common Sense Media offers the ability to search game titles for younger kids and drill down by age, content, educational benefit and more. PluggedIn.com offers the ability to sort by rating, platform and genre. ESRB rating search app (and website) flags “Interactive Elements” so you’ll know if the game shares location, personal information or user habits. ESRB recently expanded search filters for exclude/include content type (violence, language, nudity etc) or a specific rating, plus access to rating summaries for packaged games.

 

How do you choose which games are appropriate for your family? What types of family technology are on your holiday shopping list?

 

Here are some posts from other bloggers at the event:

Mom With Apps: Three Tips for Family-Friendly Gaming
ParentGrapevine: GameStop – The Place to Shop, Sell, Trade-in and Buy for the Holidays
 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All of my words are my own.

 

 

 

 

Giveaway: Pledge Not To Text And Drive. It Can Wait!

Distracted driving is a serious problem. In my last post about the topic I discussed the AT&T “It Can Wait” website that has important information for families. The AT&T It Can wait website shows “Texting and Driving Crash – It Can Wait” and other videos that anyone with a phone and a car should watch (parents and teens included!):

 

 

Join me and pledge to never text and drive.  The It Can Wait website has a section where you can share your pledge. Here is another It Can Wait pledge I just did on the website and tweeted:Those who send txt messages while drivng are 23x more likely to be in a crash. Pledge @ itcanwait.com. #ITCANWAIT “.

 

 

I was thrilled to see my pledge retweeted by others – so by making a pledge you can inspire others to make their pledge not to text while driving.

 

 

AT&T also has a DriveMode™ (Android  and BlackBerry) app that has auto on/off to help increase safety on the road.

The DriveMode app “curbs the urge to text and drive by allowing you to temporarily limit the features of your mobile device so you stay focused on the road. You can set-up auto-replies to texts, emails and wireless phone calls to let people know you’re on the road and will get back to them. AT&T DriveMode is free to AT&T customers.

 

UPDATE:  Jeannine S  is our Winner (and she has been contacted). Thanks to all that entered!!

To help move this important issue forward, I am excited to host a “It Can Wait” (ICW) giveaway where ONE winner will get the following prize (fulfilled by AT&T):
One Samsung Galaxy S III
One ICW t-shirt
One ICW branded phone case (to fit the GSIII)
Two ICW decals (for your car)
Two ICW thumbbands
How do you enter? It is 2 easy steps:
1. Fill out the Rafflecopter entry below
2. Take the pledge at ItCanWait.com and comment that you took it .
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

HP Envy 23 Touchsmart AiO – Fun With Apps

In my last HP Envy 23 TouchSmart All in One post I did the unboxing showing how easy it was to set up. As we started using it over the next few weeks, our family fell in love with having such an amazing touch screen computer in the family room. Of course I could not wait to take a look at the Windows 8 store to personalize my start up screen with Windows 8 apps.  Luckily the HP Envy 23 TouchSmart AiO comes with some basic Windows 8 apps loaded but there are many you can add depending on what your interests are. Some of the apps I installed are music apps including I heart Radio and Slacker Radio (rocking out thanks to the HP Beats Audio), games including Angry Birds Space, puzzles and even archery , watching movies on apps such as Netflix, search such as Bing, Educational apps such as Kahn Academy, news apps such as News Bento,  Reading books with apps such as Kindle. recipe apps such as Foodily and many apps to create content and communication.

 

 

In the video below I discussed some of the Windows 8 apps I was able to use because of the HP Envy 23 TouchSmart’s high resolution screen, 10 point touch, Beats Audio speakers and processing power that makes those Angry Birds fly. Or at least I would like to think that it is my Angry Birds skill that makes them fly!

 

 

My next fun projects to test out will be the camera app to make videos, photo apps to edit photos and using the Skype app with the HP TrueVision HD Webcam to video chat with the grandparents.  I was having so much fun I forgot about loading my social networking apps to take advantage of the people hub and calender apps.

 

Have you tried Windows 8 apps on a touchscreen yet? If so – which ones do you like? I am looking for new apps to play with on my HP Envy 23 Touchsmart All in One!

 

 

***Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a program on behalf of HP and received an ENVY 23 TouchSmart AiO as a thank you for participation. All my words are my own.

 

 

 

Nukotoys Monsterology And Animal Planet Wildlands – Trading Games Now at Stores

When I accepted a consulting project with Nukotoys on the Parents@Play board, I did not realize that it would make me feel like a kid again. My favorite games as a child were strategy games. Now as an parent looking for apps for my 9 year old twin boys (and their tween brother), I jump at the chance to find apps that entertain and have the strategy that engaged me as a kid.

 

 

Enter the Nukotoys Monsterology Game (for 7 years old +)  based off the of the Ology World book series that includes Dragonology, Egyptology, Wizardology, Pirateology. My 9 year old twins happen to have many of those books and are fascinated by the myth meets multi-sensory experience that is a chess meets mythical characters game.  The Nukotoys Monsterology game is an app that brings the book to life with fantastic graphics, an original musical score, pop-up elements, 3-D mythical monster characters and storylines wrapped up in a strategy game that big and little kids alike will be engaged with. The newest twist are Nukotoys Monsterology trading cards that when swiped using the app (currently for iPad/iPod but more versions to come) – the Monsters jump into the game.

 

We enjoyed playing the beta Monsterology game during my time on the Parents@Play Board – so I can’t wait to load the newest version of Monsterology (for 7+,  iOS5 or later) and try Animal Planet (for 3 years old + , iOS5 or later) now that  Nukotoys “ launched Animal Planet Wildlands and Monsterology NUKO™ in Apple Stores, Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us!“  .  We also received a brief demo of the Animal Planet game and was impressed with the graphics and interaction.

 

Here are some fun specs:

 

Nukotoys Monsterolgy  Features **From press release:

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ESRB and SF Giants: Dream Team To Help Parents Understand Gaming Ratings

When it comes to who has influence over my kids,  sports idols rate very high. We are a SF Giants fan family – and my twins were lucky enough to play in 2 years of Little League where there team was called the “Giants”.  So of course the SF Giants have a huge impact on my sons. Their dedication, hard work and teamwork are something I remind my sons to model in their own life. The ESRB is an organization that not only assigns content ratings for computer and video games, but also helps parents understand the content each game.  When I was invited to press event with the Giants and ESRB about a new PSA  (public service announcement) campaign educating parents about the video game rating system – that was a “home run” event for me not only as press but as a parent. Of course, I had to bring my boys with me (it was my own unofficial bring your kids to work day!)..

The PSAs,” which feature the players explaining the ESRB rating system and encouraging parents to use it when buying games for their families, will begin running on television and radio stations throughout Northern California as well as on the video display boards in AT&T Park during Giants home games.”  The representatives at the event were Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants catcher,  Ryan Vogelsong – San Francisco Giants pitcher joined Patricia Vance – President ESRB, Michael Gallagher – President and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, Jack Tretton, president and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment, Laurent deToc – Executive Director for North America, UbiSoft,  other ESRB and Giants representatives and Families from Junior Giants.

 

Patricia Vance welcomed everyone to press event with Buster Posey,  Ryan Vogelsong and reps from Sony Computer Entertainment, UbiSoft,  Entertainment Software Association and ESRB representatives:

 

 

Buster Posey shared information about the Giants/ESRB public service announcement:

 

Ryan Vogelsong also shared information about the Giants/ESRB public service announcement::

 

 

The PSA was shown, one of the scenes shows the ESRB mobile app – which I use all the time to help me with finding out ratings information on the go:

 

 

The PSA also had Buster Posey and Ryan interacting with the kids with an age appropriate, which is positive reinforcement for kids to play games appropriate for their age:

 

 

After seeing them play the baseball video game on the public service announcement, my twin sons of course had to check out the new MLB® 12: The Show™ for PlayStation®3 (PS3™)  game that was set up at the event. That is – after checking out the ESRB rating:

 

 

My teen knows that he can play games with the ESRB rating “T” for Teen or below. My 9 year old can play the games rated “E” for everyone. They were both holding pictures of the games as examples, showing off the ESRB ratings on the bottom left:

 

 

Then we had the opportunity to head out to AT&T stadium area, one of our favorite places to be because it is where the SF Giants play!:

 

 

They gave the press more opportunities to see the games and rating examples:

 

 

Then the local mom bloggers got together for a picture: Left to right – Adel Vardell (HappaMama), Beth Blecherman (thats me – TechMama!), Kimberly Kauer Postlewaite (Silicon Valley Mamas), Lia Frietas (Mama’s Starting Over), Patricia Vance (ESRB), Ana Picazo (Finding BonggaMom), Perrin Kaplan (Zebra Partners). On bottom row: Kari Dahlen (The Karianna Spectrum). Taking the picture: Michele Spring Fajeau (Zebra Partners).

 

 

My sons were beyond excited when Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants catcher) not only shook their hand but posed for a picture!

 

 

Just to “knock it out of the park”, Ryan Vogelsong  (San Francisco Giants pitcher) also gave my super SF Giants fans a handshake and a picture:

 

 

The official press release is below. My boys never knew that computer and video game ratings could be so much fun!

Disclosure: This was a press event. All of my words are my own.

Camera used: Pictures taken with Sony Cybershot WX9

PRESS RELEASE:

 

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Disneyland Explorer – a Disney Parks App for iPad

Part of the excitement of our family adventures to Disneyland is going online to plan our trip. Our kids love helping to collaborate so we can fit in all of their favorite Disney experiences in the trip. The Disneyland mobile apps are also helpful for us to get information on the go.

 

When I received this press release about a new Disney Parks app for the iPad, I was excited for a new mobile opportunity to experience and get information about Disneyland. Disney Explorer is a free app for the iPad that offers a mobile experience of the sights and sounds of Disneyland. The app offers the ability to “tap beautiful images, animation and interactive touch points that represent experiences inside Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure park, Downtown Disney District and all three hotels of the Disneyland Resort. ” I can’t wait to try it – but showing it to my boys will make it harder for us to wait until our next trip to Disneyland.

 

 PRESS RELEASE:

 

Discover the Sights and Sounds of Disneyland Resort with ‘Disneyland Explorer’ – a Disney Parks App for iPad

Take a Spin Around The Happiest App on Earth!

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New Release: “Double Fine Happy Action Theater” – A New Kinect for Xbox 360 experience for families

Our family loves our Kinect for XBox 360 as family entertainment with a gesture tech slant. We always enjoy trying out the new activities and games that come out for the Kinect, especially ones for all ages. I just received a press release today of a new activity for the Kinect called Double Fine Happy Action Theater. The 18 new family friendly “arcade” like experiences include jumping in a ball house, hot lava, build an ice cave out of your furniture and wait out a blizzard, become a giant monster and stomp buildings and more. Up to six players at once can play with the experiences that ” intuitively respond to their body movements and react in interesting and unexpected ways”. I can’t wait to try them out.

 

PRESS RELEASE/FACT SHEET:
Double Fine Happy Action Theater Fact Sheet – January 2012
Continue reading

 

RockSmith Video Game: Finally A Game That Uses Real Guitars!

When Clever Girls Collective/Ubisoft asked if I was interested in trying out Rocksmith with my tween son and his rocker friends (who are in a band), I jumped at the chance. Rocksmith is the first video game where you can connect real electric guitars with a standard 1/4” input jack with a Microsoft Xbox 360 or Sony PlayStation 3 entertainment system. There is also a Rocksmith bundle that includes a guitar.

 

The game has a helpful tuning process and difficulty settings that automatically adapt to your experience level. Experts can play songs from memory, experiened guitar players can play from notes on the screen and a beginner like me can follow easy color-coded strings on the screen.

 

Feel like a real rockstar with different backgrounds including a concert theme.

 

 

There are also mini-games and what the Rocksmith website explains as the ability to: “Turn your console into an amplifier and play with loads of in-game effects pedals, amplifiers, and cabinets. String pedals together with nearly infinite combinations and tweak your sound until you’re satisfied.”

 

Some of the tracks include  David Bowie – Rebel Rebel, Eric Clapton – Run Back To Your Side, Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way, Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama, Radiohead – High And Dry, The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry and The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

 

Here are some details from the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO – October 18, 2011 – Today, Ubisoft® announces that Rocksmith™ is now available at retail throughout North America.  The standard edition of the game, available for $79.99, will include the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable™, a unique 1/4” to USB cable that is the first of its kind, developed exclusively for Rocksmith.  This revolutionary cable turns the guitar’s signal from analog to digital, allowing it to be recognized and played through video game consoles for the first time.  The guitar bundle will provide a quality entry-level option for people that have always wanted to play but don’t own a guitar. The bundle, available for $199.99, includes an Epiphone Les Paul Jr guitar, along with the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable.  Rocksmith is rated “T” for Teen.  

For more information on Rocksmith, please visit www.rocksmith.com, and follow Rocksmith on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rocksmithgame

But what did my tween son’s friends – who happen to play in a band – think about Rocksmith?

 

Not only did they say Rocksmith was enthusiastically “awesome” – but they also had been waiting for the game and were so excited it finally launched. Here are some of their comments after playing the game at our Rocksmith party:

 

  • The game is not only fun but also teaches you how to play notes & chords by showing you where to press and even how to hold the guitar pick.
  • Let’s you choose whether you play chords or notes.
  • Really enjoyed the freestyle mode.
  • Unlike other games, you can play actual notes.
  • As you learn, the game gives you more notes to play.
  • Yeah! I finally get to play Rocksmith!

 

As a mom, it was exciting to watch video game play that had learning involved and was very “cool” (hard to find that combo). Rocksmith is the type of game that either one, two or big groups of kids at a party can take turns playing and is also fun to watch and listen to for the partygoers not playing the game.

 

At the same time, it is a welcome addition to our family video game library, whether for my tween son to play during his allowed “screen” time or for the family to play together. Rocksmith was also a great fit for my 8 year old twins who are taking guitar lessons. The teen rating was not an issue for our family because it was mainly related to lyrics in the songs (which I have been listening to for years so why can’t my kids!).

 

Disclosure: Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own.