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Kid Icarus: Uprising – Review of the Nintendo 3DS Game

Out of all the great games I play each and every year, it seems there is one title per year that becomes an absolute obsessive/borderline frightening time sink, one that I can’t seem to put down until it gets naturally lost in the shuffle of other games, and gradually fades from memory. One that I look forward to every evening, much like a hot cooked meal or a smooth glass of wine. In all honesty, I really, really didn’t expect the reemergence of Nintendo’s long lost hero Kid Icarus to be that game.

Kid Icarus: Uprising is a polished, wonderful revival of this long dormant franchise. Playing through it once provides a rock solid journey of considerable length, but beyond that initial playthrough, this game reveals itself to be completionist heaven. The entire game is designed to encourage replay, and there are so many goals and so much content in this game, it’s overwhelming at first glance. I have been playing well over 100 hours and my completion rate is still only around 93%. And the content isn’t pathetic filler; in fact, it all feels very Smash Bros, which is no surprise given the game was designed by Masahiro Sakurai.

In Kid Icarus: Uprising, you play as the plucky hero Pit, who is once again tasked with taking down the evil Medusa and her underworld minions. Though it’s not Shakespeare, it is an interesting enough story, and comes off like a children’s cartoon mashed up with Greek myth – that is to say, a wonderful idea. But the story is really elevated by genuine smart writing, occasional dramatic moments and very humorous voice acting, not to mention a carefully constructed musical score, complete with reoccurring themes that tie in to the different characters. The production values are high here.

And that level of care and love can be seen in every inch of this product. No detail was spared. Nothing feels lazy. Even one particular stretch of the game (in which I felt things got off the narrative course and dragged a bit) was still designed and executed to a high standard of quality, when compared to many other games. The final battle is absolutely epic, something that many games stumble with. KI: Uprising might have been hard to have found fault in, were it not for the controls.

Ah, the controls. Glaring as they may be, they are not a deal breaker. While the controls are weird and problematic (and yes, they hurt for extended play sessions) you will grow accustomed to them. You move Pit with the analog stick and use the stylus to aim your weapon, shooting with the L trigger, all while support the weight of the 3DS. It’s an unusual set-up, but the game is otherwise excellent, and worth adjusting to the controls. “The Claw” technique used by Monster Hunter fans on PSP never stopped them from logging hundreds of hours, and the same should be said for this game.

Aside from the lack of Circle Pad Pro support for dual analog control (arguably a grand oversight), I don’t really see how they could have implemented much better controls, given the design of KI: Uprising. And the extensive option menus allow for a deep level of customization and optimization, so don’t hesitate to get in there and fix things to what works best for your hands.

Included with every copy of KI: Uprising is a little plastic stand, and I’m shocked anyone gave it the greenlight, for fear of sheer embarrassment. But ridiculousness aside, it actually works – it takes away the portability of your 3DS, but it also takes away the need to awkwardly support your DS while controlling the game. I honestly prefer lying down in bed or on my couch when I play my 3DS, so I ultimately tossed it aside, but if you are willing to sit at your kitchen table or desk, you will have an easier time when using the stand.

So, it all comes down to this: if you think you can deal with the controls, then buy this game. Like now. Or tomorrow. Because this game is an awesome time sink, with a ton of heart and soul.

And multiplayer. Not that the game needed it for longevity, but it’s there and it works admirably, given the limitations. It’s nothing special, a Kid Icarus take on simple deathmatch with a twist, or free for all. But it’s there, to complete what is a beautiful package, that if not for the undeniable control issues, I would have absolutely no problem giving a solid shining ten out of ten, as it is one of the best games (my favorite) to have been released for the 3DS. But nothing in the world is perfect, so take Kid Icarus: Uprising with all of its flaws, and love it for all that it achieves.

© 2012 Stephen Maxwell. All rights reserved.

Interactive Girls Games: The Pros and Cons

The biggest inspirations for young girls are their mothers. Therefore, their dreams usually are wishes to cook, bake and manage a family like their mother does. These wishes have been made to come true by games available online that cover each of these genres, and are targeted at young female audience.

Girls are encouraged to play such games by their parents because they improve problem solving and reading skills, sharpen the coordination and motor neuron capabilities to provide a truly beneficial way to while away leisure time. So if you’re one such parent, we recommend you search online for safe titles and teach your young lady how to play it.

Reading skills

Games of this genre help develop reading skills while simultaneously providing entertainment. This is achieved by providing sets of instructions about each step that the girls are required to follow before they can progress to the next level, and this is how their ability to check all details gets enhanced. Such skills, once developed, can be employed in their course of study as well, and prove their benefits there too.

Encouraging Creativity

Titles like Kids and Donuts and Halloween Cupcakes provide kids platforms to enhance and truly bring out their creativity. Such games are more beneficial for girls who play them than actual experiments in their kitchen at a young age, as they provide a highly realistic experience while eliminating the dangers of burns and similar mishaps. Kids are offered wide choices of cupcakes and donuts to choose from, and then are required to decorate their chosen donuts or cupcake with jellies, sprinkles, candies and other scrumptious toppings.

Problem Solving

By finding their way around certain levels in games, kids can enhance their problem solving skills as well. Today, games are being designed solely for the purpose of providing an interactive experience for girls, which can help enhance their problem solving and comprehending skills while providing great entertainment for them. Young girls are required to apply their problem solving skills to get around basic issues faced at each level of their favorite game, hence using their brains towards solving problems. This too can prove beneficial in studies and their life in general later on.

There are slightly more difficult titles as well, like Moussaka. In such games there’s no guide available, and no navigation arrows between individual instructions are included. There are random pictorial instructions present on their screens, and the kids are required to choose from them in the right order. Such games are particularly interesting because of their tougher, more engaging game-play.

Enhancing Fine Motor Skills

Some games require precise use of the navigation arrows using the computer’s mouse. For example in cooking games, blending together all the ingredients requires precise use of the navigation arrow, as the virtual mixer follows the pattern of the arrow. Picking up utensils and ingredients and putting them in one mixing bowl also allows for extensive use of the navigation arrow. The timing that is required by cooking games today thus help young girls to enhance their fine motor skills by allowing them to practice split-second accuracy while having fun.

Learning Tools

In addition to providing a platform to enhance their brains, these games also helps girls to actually memorize recipes that they are to cook in the kitchen once they’re ready. The use of all utensils, the stove, the microwave oven and the electric oven, is equally important in cooking, and hence knowing beforehand how to use them proves to be highly beneficial for girls when they begin cooking in their home’s kitchen unsupervised.

Conclusion

Such games have enabled girls to begin learning quite early in life, without being exposed to dangers of a real kitchen. Their skills are polished while entertaining them, which makes it much safer than actual cooking. Skills that are developed here can then be applied in the kitchen when the girl is old enough to, and can even be brought into use in other situations faced in everyday life.
Now that you know the pros and cons of interactive girl games, you are in a better position to allow your little princess play one. Also there are other kids games which may attract her.

Youth Sports – Six Tips on How to Be a Coach Kids Love to Play For

In my lifetime, I have spent over 40 years around sports including youth sports. My dad was president of our local Little League for two years and now I coach AYSO soccer and Little League Baseball. In all that time, I have had many opportunities to watch many dads coaching kids on the field. Mostly, they act like frustrated would be but never were has bins playing GI Joe with live action figures, namely their sons. These are the coaches who no one wants to play for. In that time, I have also observed a small few men for whom the kids wanted to play. This article outlines five tips for how to be a coach kids want to play for.

Care More about the Kids than the Game

Many boys and girls love to play sports. They are natural athletes who want to compete on the ball field. However, before they will give you their best effort, they want to know if you care more about them than the game. Many youth coaches treat every game like the World Series and every season as if it was the only thing that mattered on the earth. In one league I recently observed, the coach was more concerned about beating another coach than how the child might be coping with their dad in the hospital. Youth sports are about the kids not the final score on the scoreboard.

Greet Every Team Member When They Arrive and Say Good Bye Before They Leave

Apart of showing how much you care is greeting each player when they arrive and before they depart the field. Find some way to give them either a high five or talk them up verbally at both ends of a game or practice. Some coaches get wrapped up in the stars of the team, and neglect those who do not play well. Reaching out to every kid will draw them into the team and drive them to want to put out their best effort.

Remember That the Ultimate Goal is for the Kids to Have and Enjoy the Experience

Youth Sports can teach children so many life lessons. Yet, many parent coaches think the main goal is to win the league championship. This is not the main purpose of youth sports. The main purpose is to create a long-term appetite for the game. Kids will only comeback if they are had fun and enjoyed the experience. When they are treated like pawns in some super dad’s fantasy to win at all costs, they will feel used and abused and eventually say, Thanks, but no thanks.”

Break Practice into Fast Action Activities That Teach Fundamentals and Skills

All the above being said, a good coach teaches the kids how to play the game. Making practices fun and exciting does not mean ignoring the fundamentals. Kids want to succeed. They want to have a chance to contribute and win. Being a coach kids want to play for means learning how to teach kids how to play the game. Unfortunately, many kids get bored at our same place, same thing practices. This is the video age. In order to capture the kids attention break practice into centers with three or four kids at each center; then make batting practice a time to practice game situations in the field.

Be a Cheerleader Not a Bull Whip

Kids have enough negative feedback in life. If you want them to respect you as a coach, be a cheerleader. Believe in your heart that even the least capable player and learn to play well and contribute to the team. Take seriously the idea of giving five positive comments to every negative criticism.

Use Positive, Constructive Discipline

Many Little League and AYSO coaches are stuck in the days of Woody Hayes and Bobby Knight. They think that the best way to get kids to play well is to make them. Their form of discipline is to berate the kids with vicious verbal abuse and hit harder line drives at them. They rationalize such language and behavior is okay because it is their kid and it makes them tougher.

On the flip side, the answer is neither to ignore bad or disrespectful behavior nor to allow kids to run wild. A good coach is not soft. He or she is firm but not overbearing. And, the kids want boundaries. They will push the limits and when the limits are enforced firmly without harassment. Use positive and constructive discipline and the kids will endear themselves to you.

Youth sports are meant to be fun. Kids want to learn how to play in a safe environment. They want to know that they are more important than the game and want to be taught how to thrive to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, coaches try to pound their message into the kids’ heads with a sledge hammer, causing kids to lose interest in the game. This article has discussed five tips to being a coach kids want to play for.