Rocking out with Rock Band Rivals

When it comes to music, we can only hope that we’re doing our best with influencing our kids’ taste and appreciation for great music. Thanks to stellar family games like Rock Band Rivals from Harmonix, we can rock out to both classic and current songs while instilling a stellar rock repertoire from one of the best music games series. 

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Rock Band 4 carries over the well-known drum, vocal and guitar games in a fun play back format. Players can choose a song to play and earn points collectively while sharpening their musical chops.

 

My guys and I had the chance to give Rock Band Rivals a spin in our own living room. Let’s just say that my kids were born ready to rock and have no problem performing on a stage, even if it’s just our living room.

 

Since most of the songs in the music library are classic hits, my older guy wasn’t familiar with the songs that I loved. The kids, of course, were familiar with the likes of modern pop hits from Imagine Dragon and Maroon 5. I, on the otherhand, could comfortably sing Elivs’ Suspicious Minds and R.E.M.’s The One I Love—by heart, no less.

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The drum kit controller in the Rock Band Rivals set is user friendly and easy to set up. Each player was comfortable with playing the drums in Rock Band Rivals. We even brought out our own drum stool because we’re crazy like that. The guitar, styled like a sleek Fender, is cool and also easy to use.Though we found it hard to maneuver for smaller hands, those of us with more dexterity could strum the Fender like a rock boss. The instruments/controllers were seamless throughout the whole game. I especially loved how you could switch from bassist to guitarist from song to song. The microphone felt sturdy, yet basic. Obviously, as a component of the game, the microphone didn’t amplify as loudly as one would expect.

 

Overall, we enjoyed the different playing modes of Rock Band Rivals. Although we’re musically inclined, albeit a bit rusty, we appreciated the no fail mode since we have younger kids who needed a learning curve (as much as we did.) The music library, as previously mentioned, has a lot of great songs that I love, as well as great songs that my husband loves. Since I love pop and alternative and he listens mostly to country and classic rock, Rock Band Rivals complemented the whole family’s musical taste.

 

Though it took some time to familiarize ourselves, it was easy to read the screen in playmode. The different colors and areas for notes made it easy to follow, even for people who aren’t familiar with certain songs. There were so many great features that made this game especially more fluid as a family game. Each player could be assigned a different difficulty level. So, if one person was more advanced, and another was a beginner, each player was challenged just enough to make it enjoyable all around.

 

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We also enjoyed the playlist selection, where we could answer a few questions and the game would help assign a playlist so that we could continuously jam out to said playlist. And speaking of jamming out, we all got a kick out of the rockers in the game. Each song had a different backdrop and band appearance. Some were more eclectic than the next.

 

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The highlight of Rockband Rivals is that it could be played in various modes, which makes it truly engaging for the whole crew. You can perform through a rock documentary about your band in the campaign mode and join Crews to show off skills and battle opponents in challenges. 

 

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We spent hours trading places in Rock Band. For one song I’d be the singer, the next the guitarist, the next the drummer. My husband and the boys all loved taking turns playing the drums.

 

My older son decided he loved the bass more than the guitar. He could feel the bass in the songs, which gave him a better understanding of the way music blends together. My younger guy, who is under the age bracket for Rock Band Rivals, had a fun time rocking out, even though he didn’t quite connect the dots. 

 

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Rock Band Rivals is a fun way to get the family together and rock out collectively. This latest iteration of Rock Band doesn’t disappoint. In fact, I can’t wait to check out the other songs available so that we can have more current songs for the kids to enjoy!

 

Rock Band Rivals is rated T for Teen and is available at major retailers. The Rock Band Rivals ($199) kit includes the drums, guitar, mic and game. Be on the lookout for great deals for the Holidays!

Full disclosure: this is a sponsored post in partnership with KidzVuz and Harmonix. I was provided with a review unit and compensation to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

 

 

Skylanders SuperChargers Reach New Heights with Vehicles; Debut Set for September 20

Activision announced its latest installment in the Skylanders Franchise today. Skylanders SuperChargers will debut on September 20, 2015, which will bring this beloved game to new heights.

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In SuperChargers, Portal Masters will take the helm of high-octane vehicles on land, sea and sky. From vehicular combat, races down rapids and aerial dogfights, Activision says SuperChargers will feature story-driven gameplay, vehicle-based and on-foot adventures, puzzles, mini games, activities and platforming.

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SuperChargers Dive Bombers

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SuperChargers will have 20 new character toys and 20 new vehicles. Starter Packs will include two new Skylanders characters and a new Skylanders vehicle, as well as a new Portal of Power. The game will be available for preorder starting today, June 3 for $74.99. According to Activision execs, the previous Portal will be functional with this game, as well as a Digital Players’ version where the game itself can be downloaded on select consoles, adding even more play value to Skylanders SuperChargers. I’ll share details on that once it’s released.

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Skylanders SuperChargers feature a new class of heroes. The namesake SuperChargers boast swift moves, powerful attacks and new weapons. The developers, Vicarious Visions, have given SuperChargers special in-game abilities that will uplift players to take on Kaos.

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First Look at SuperChargers at #MTSKylanders

Back in February 2011, I remember standing on my tip-toes in the back of a room of journalists, trying to see the stage while listening to Activision executives talk about their next big thing. It was a video game that combined video games and tactile play with collectible figures, that would go on be a major game changer.

Yesterday, I stood on my tip-toes to get a glimpse of Skylanders, but in a much different setting. I had the unique opportunity to attend an intimate lunch hosted by Momtrends to learn about the latest installment of Skylanders. The beloved franchise is unveiling their fifth installment in their character-driven game and they gave a select group of NYC bloggers a firsthand look.

 

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As major Skylanders fans, it was a treat to get the first look of this new installment of the game we love so much. Skylanders has perfected upping their own ante with each new installment. Is it any wonder why the game remains the top console game for kids? Upon first look, my mind was blown. The vehicles and SuperChargers add a whole new dimension and explore different terrain at a new perspective. The SuperChargers will surely be well received by kids and gamers alike. The vehicle figures alone add so much tactile play value; I see even younger Portal Masters-in-training getting into the mix with the introduction of the cars, planes and vessels.

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Skylanders, as a whole, is the embodiment of The Next Kid Thing, and I’m thrilled to give you a first look of the game in-play.  The video I shot looks and sounds very much like a bootleg because of the setting. Because of the nature of the reveal, we were asked to sign an NDA and video opps were informal since it was a luncheon. Nevertheless, here’s a first look of Skylanders SuperChargers in action:

 

Skylanders not only gave us an exclusive sneak peek of SuperChargers the day before the official announcement, they treated us to a very special Skylanders-themed gift bag. In it, we received a lunch box, Thermos Foogo, Gil the Grunt pillow, Crayola Color Alive book and various stickers. In honor of the SuperChargers unveil, I’ll be giving away one of these fun goody bags!  I’ll post an update on this soon.

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A big thank you to Activision for always including bloggers in your outreach. As a family who has been a fan since the first unveil, it was an honor to be included in yesterday’s luncheon. 

Thank you to the Momtrends team for hosting a lovely and delicious lunch where I got to see friends, eat delicious food, craft and geek out!

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Skylanders SuperChargers will be available on Xbox 360™ and  Xbox One™video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, PlayStation® 3 and PlayStation® 4 computer entertainment systems, Nintendo’s Wii U™ system, and a different, unique adventure will be made available on Nintendo’s Wii™ system and the Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system. Additionally, the complete Skylanders SuperChargers experience will be available on iPad®. The game will be available on September 20 in North America, September 24 in Australia/New Zealand; and on September 25 in Europe. 

 Full disclosure: I attended a hosted event and received exclusive information to share with my audience. I received swag bags and lunch, but as always, opinions on NKT are my own.

NKT Faves: Christmas 2014 Goodies, Lego, Disney Infinity 2.0, VTech and more

Happy 2015, everyone! Like all of you we had a busy holiday, so much so we took a mini-social media break. We seem to always have ongoing medical issues and work life consuming everything that it’s a necessity to recharge when we’re all together.

Anyway, we’re back and ready to focus on the new year.  But before I do, I wanted to share some of our favorites from Christmas.

Because we check out toys all year, as you can imagine, gift-giving can be tricky.  Thankfully, Santa and our relatives get that, and so the boys’ gifts certainly reflected this.

I thought I’d share a round up of the boys’ favorite gifts:

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Legos continue to be the absolute favorite toy in our home. Santa gifted the boys a couple of Lego sets: Duplos Joker Challenge and Minecraft Cave set. Admittedly, we haven’t assembled either set in their entirety yet, but we’re getting there. As Biggie’s big gift, we got him the Lego Movie Super Cycle Chase.

Littles got a couple of fun gifts that he’s been eyeing. He got the Fisher Price Grow with me Roller Skates. My little guy has been “skating” with his physical therapist for quite some time. As Early Intervention is winding down, I thought it would be fun to get him his own pair of skates. I love that there are multiple functions to help the kids grow with the skates. He’s currently on the first function, which lets him “walk-skate” until he has enough coordination to move on to the next level.

Another fun toy that Josh received was Vtech’s Go Go Smart Wheels Airport playset. I will never forget the look on his face when he first opened that gift! I was so in the moment, that I was too slow to catch a picture. He’s been begging for the Go Go Smart Wheels toys, but we haven’t had a chance to get it for him. Lucky guy got it from my parents. I love how smart this playset is; he can navigate the plane around the tracks and at specified points he can learn all the “smart” little quips about the airport.

The big gifts for the guys was Disney Infinity 2.0. This follow up to the first Disney Infinity features more characters than ever, including our favorite super heroes. The graphics are stellar and game play is truly an adventure. Since this game is still super new, we’ll do a follow up, more in depth review.

Perhaps Biggie’s favorite and really big gift was his iPad Mini. This gift was actually his birthday present, but we conveniently used his birthday money from relatives to pay bills or something else responsible. Since I had several Amazon gift cards, we got him his much deserved Mini, which he has been burying his face in ever since he opened. Upside: he’s learning how to type more efficiently. Downside: I get emoticon-filled texts every other minute.  Honestly? I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Hope you guys enjoyed your holidays! Looking forward to sharing more fun stuff in  2015!

 

NKT Gift Guide: Best Toys for Boys

There are so many fantastic toys out there for boys, and since my older son is at the sweet spot for big boy toys, I thought I’d round out his absolute favorites of the season.

My older son, whom I often refer to as Biggie or just ‘J’, has been tagging along with me to media and blogger events since he was just a year old.  He’s always had quite discernible taste, but as he’s gotten older, in terms of the next big thing in kid stuff, he’s truly seen it all.  Every November, when we open the Big Box stores’ toy circular, he circles less, if anything, and instead, offers his personal opinions on the toy manufacturer’s latest wares.

We had grand plans of having him do videos of the below toys, but life got in the way. Nevertheless, here’s a round up of really awesome goodies, gear and gadgets that my blogger’s kid really appreciates with my annotations :

1.  Skylander’s Swap Force

After much anticipation about this mega-successful franchise, J’s first impression of Swap Force was that it has a “new Chompy.”  That wasn’t exactly the reaction I was expecting, but nonetheless, we’ve enjoyed exploring Skylands even further with Swap Force.
The ability to swap characters’ bottom halves to determine how they move and interchange tops which determines how they fight.  The interchangeability makes gameplay possibilities practically limitless.

2. Lego Marvel Superheroes

This game is by far the most played game at our house.  My husband and son co-play video games, so playing a game with every (Marvel) superhero imaginable is beyond addictive for our house.  Combine the love with superheroes and Lego and you have Lego Marvel Superheroes, which is perhaps, our most favorite game of the year.  The story lines, graphics, superhero theme are just a few of the many elements that keep my guys engaged for hours.  True story: I know that a game is really good if my husband continues to play after my son goes to bed.

3. Angry Birds Go! Telepods Pig Rock Raceway Set

I’ve said it for years, but one of the smartest things for toy manufacturers to stay relevant in this ever-evolving digital world, is to coexist.  Hasbro is proving just that with their Teleport series of games, including their latest Angry Birds Go! Teleport game.  Angry Birds Go! is the latest version of the uber popular app that features those pesky pigs and titular Angry Birds, but this time, they’re racing.  The Angry Birds Go! Teleport Game allows players to race with tactile play and a physical race track, but also use the game figures to teleport into the app via front-facing camera on a smart phone or tablet.

4.  Rainbow Loom

Rainbow Loom, created by a dad of young girls who wanted to make rubber band bracelet creation easier, is rightfully up for one of the Toys of the Year.  This sensation is an old skill that’s making waves.  The Rainbow Loom is engaging both boys and girls, and giving them time to disconnect, stay focused on the task at hand while using their creativity, math skills and often times, encouraging charitable giving with completed bracelets and other creations.  What’s NOT to love about this fantastic toy?

Loom Boom is a holder and display fixture in the shape of a boom.  This simple structure was created by a young NJ boy who fulfilled a need to display creations.  The Loom Boom is proof that the Rainbow Loom and its creations fosters imagination and ingenuity. The Loom Boom comes in a variety of colors and can be found at TRU.  Support small business and USA-made products by grabbing a Loom Boom for stockings.

5.  TenKai Knights

Introduced to this shapeshifting Ionix building set from Spinmaster at the recent Kidz Vuz event, J loves how the ninja warrior aspect meets building with your hands.  This is a brand new toy that’s based on a series, so I’m excited to learn more about Tenkai Knights soon.

6. Kreo Cityville Invasion

Another amazing building set, Kreo’s Cityville Invasion brings monsters, zombies and more to “life.”  The cool monster theme keeps J engaged in this version of Kreo.

7. Crayola Crayons and Markers

Screentime during the week is extremely limited.  Depending on how much reading and homework is done, J gets less than an hour of screen time.  And in these cold winter months when we don’t have a sport during the week, we have to fill that downtime with something.  J creates murals and masterpieces almost daily with his Crayola art supplies.  Each cool drawing makes my heart grow even bigger.

8.  Minions

Those little yellow dudes have captured America’s hearts—well, with the littler guys anyway. J cracks up at these guys’ gibberish and silly shenanigans.  Thinkway Toys’ Dave, which can be found at Toys R Us, is truly one of the coolest interactive toys on the shelves today. This toy says upwards to 50 phrases and makes us laugh effortlessly. Looking for a last minute add-on gift?  Download Minion Rush for the kids.  My guys is obsessed with Minions!

9.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

There’s so much to love about TMNT, that it’s hard to narrow it down for J.  I just love that this franchise is almost as popular as it was when I was a kid!  The Nickelodeon series heightened the popularity of this throwback brand, it’s no surprise the toys are super hot sellers, too. From the lair to the RC Subway Car to the role playing gear, TMNT is taking over our Christmas gifts.

10.  Zoomer

I was smitten by Zoomer at Toy Fair this year.  Zoomer was one of the most memorable toys that I knew would be a hit this holiday season.  Zoomer is a robotic dog, who is ideal for those families who can’t have a real dog, or just aren’t ready.  Zoomer has quite the character and can be trained to learn commands.  He sings, “runs,” rolls over, goes to sleep, among other tricks.  J’s favorite trick:  having him pee.  What’s so fantastic about Zoomer is that he is popular with both the big kid and with the toddler.  Even more?  Zoomer has an app where you can learn different commands.  Zoomer, another favorite for Toy of the Year, is, no doubt, one of my personal favorites as well.

Activision Family Game Summit Makes Family Connection

A few weeks ago, Activision, the video game powerhouse, invited us to their annual Family Game Summit.  Held at the Metropolitan Pavilion, this year’s theme focused on connecting through video games.

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Sure, family time should transcend screen time, but Activision presented a solid case on how and why video games often connect family, regardless of age or interest.  This year’s celeb guest host was Korie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame.  She talked briefly about how their family connects, and her thoughts on the business, among other things.

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As usual, I found the stats to be the most interesting part of the event.  I learned a few key takeaways, including:

  • Fun means different things for everyone
  • Free doesn’t always mean free
  • Actively manage your online parental controls
  • Your kids’ friends lists are not always friends
  • Check your kids’ profiles for publicly facing information

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And, of course a Family Game Summit wouldn’t be a summit without a showcase of the latest new games.  Just in time for the holidays, Activision spotlighted just a few titles that are all about family fun. The titles featured at the event were:

Angry Birds Star Wars, Wipeout Create and Crash, Transformers Ultimate Battle Edition and Ultimate Autobots Edition, Skylanders Swapforce, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Moshi Monsters Katsuma Unleashed and SpongeBob Square Pants Plankton’s Robotic Revenge

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Our most favorite of the lineup is, of course, Skylanders Swapforce.  As diehard Skylanders fans, this franchise continues to keep the family gaming going.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Angry Birds are also fun games that require patience and strategy.  I’ll post separate reviews for the aforementioned, so check it out soon.

As with previous Activision Family Game Summits, we were able to bring kids.  My boys had a blast in the kid zone playing with new friends, coloring and going crazy.  A definite highlight though, was schmoozing with TMNT and Sponge Bob! I mean!

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Once again, Activision outdid themselves with a lovely and informative event promoting co-playing and family bonding over video games.  Of course, as with everything, moderation is key, so don’t go playing video games all day and night.

Thanks to Activion and the other sponsors, we were sent home with a very generous gift bag with samples and other branded material.  I love that Amazon also had a presence there, and I learned all about Amazon Prime and got to know their latest Kindle a little better.

All in all, it was yet another lovely event, where I learned interesting information about family time and video games!

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Full disclosure:  Activision provided us with a gift bag  As always, all opinions are my own.

Savoring Sweet Suite 2012

What do you get when you mix toys, Times Square, tons of treats and girl time?  Well, that would be Sweet Suite 2012, which preceded BlogHer in NYC.  Hosted by The Big Toy Book, the third installation of this hot ticket party was held at the Lodge in the Viacom Building, home to MTV and Nickelodeon—the sweetest venue yet.
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Sweet Suite wasn’t all fun and games, it was about socializing and seeing many of my blogging friends, some of whom I only get to see once a year.  But as for the fun and games? Yeah, The Big Toy Book assembled some of the best names in toys, books and games.

Of all the fabulous brands at the event, here’s just a sampling of the goodies that caught my eye:

LeapFrog LapPad 2
Unfortunately, I missed LeapFrog’s holiday preview because baby was in the hospital. So, it was fun getting a good look at the LeapPad 2, LeapFrog’s hard-to-get tablet.

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Among the many fun features, I particularly loved that the LeapPad 2 has a faster processor, more memory, as well as front and back cameras. Mark my words, this WILL sell out again for the holidays. If you see it and need it, I’d suggest you buy it. It’s highly rated and constantly in demand!

Alex Toys
I’ve been a long-time admirer of Alex Toys, specifically their craft and activity sets.  While their little hands line of puzzles  and arts and crafts will be on our Christmas list this year, I had SUCH a blast crafting at their table.
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I made a few bracelets, headbands and necklaces.  Their area was the most crowded because of all the fun happenings.  I even spotted Jill of Scary Mommy fame in the mix! I love me some Jill!

XBox Kinect
As a family who games together, Xbox has been on our ongoing want list. We already own two video game consoles, but have been waiting for just the right time to invest in the Kinect.  We already know all about the Xbox’s fun family factor, and how everyone can join in the fun without having to pick up a controller.  Since we’ve been eyeing and studying the system as far back as when it was still referred to Project Natal, I’ve enjoyed seeing their lineup of games and console features grow.  And as huge Sesame Street fans and supporters, I loved hearing that they’re introducing 2-way TV experiences with Sesame Street and National Geographic.  I’m thinking our time is near!

Charm It

Charm It by High Intencity was, by far, one of my favorites.  These cute charm bracelets lured me in with nostalgia and their collectibility.
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Ideal for the tween set, these charm bracelets are fun and funky. Browsing at all the adorable Kawaii-looking charms, channeled my inner girlie girl and reminded me of the plastic charm necklaces we used to collect in grade school.  I miss my roller skate charm with that tiny bell.  I can’t wait to check out even more of these charms at The Gap and Nordstrom.

But beyond checking out fabulous toys and games, the highlight was definitely sitting down with the girls and chatting over Pinkberry.  I may have had two servings because it was so delicious but, hey, life is too short not to savor the sweets.

Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster for Kinect is Family Fun at its Best

Sesame Street is always at the forefront of children’s media, and the video game segment is no exception.  Last month, publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released Once Upon a Monster, the first Sesame Street title for Kinect for Xbox 360.

A vibrant, funny, family adventure game, Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster features a storybook-like experience that allows kids to explore scenarios with Elmo, Cookie Monster and meet new monster friends along the way.  The game features a helpful co-op gameplay option, which, I think, is inherent for young players.  And according to WBIE, through gameplay, Once Upon a Monster underscores social, emotional and other life lessons, for which Sesame Street is already known.

The friendly, familiar and furry monsters, ultimately, were the main appeal of this game for my preschooler.  The dancing and other adventures, coupled with the sharp graphics, “made” this game for him in the end.  From start to finish, and whether they’re big or little, the game involved players’ movement from head to toe, creating active gameplay that was virtually nonstop.  This would be such a fun alternative to movie night or even a complement to traditional game night.  The co-op gameplay feature gives parents a proactive approach to  stay involved in this specific element of screentime.  And although it may not be the most educational title (as far as letters and numbers go,) I do appreciate that Once Upon a Monster gets kids moving–without a remote!

Rated E for Everyone, this game is ideal for preschoolers to early grade school and their family members.  Change up the holiday family gathering monotony! I personally can’t wait to see my 20-something brother join in on the fun!  Coordination and the ability to comprehend basic verbal instructions are important, but a little monkey-see, monkey-do always helps with that.  Sesame Streeet: Once Upon a Monster for Kinect for Xbox is available in stores now and retails for $49.99.

The kid and I were onhand at the NYC Once Upon a Monster launch, where we had a chance to demo the game before its official release.  Suffice it to say, the kid and I both had a blast moving and grooving to “that monster game” as the kid lovingly calls it.  Check out the kid and a few little buddies checking out Once Upon a Monster at the launch event.

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Visit the official Sesame Street Store and save 15% on Once Upon a Monster with the promo code: SESAMEBLOGGER

This offer expires December 15, 2011.

Full disclosure:  I’m an affiliate of the official Sesame Street Store, and there are two affiliate links above.  As always, I appreciate your readership, and by visiting and shopping through any of my affiliate links, you help me keep this site afloat!
Product sample was provide to facilitate this review; as always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

NKT at CES 2011

Howdy from Las Vegas, everyone!  As everyone was gearing up for the New Year and packing up their Christmas decor, I was fielding emails, setting up appointments and mentally preparing myself for the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s largest technology conference.

What’s a blogger—more specifically, a blogger who focuses on kid stuff—doing at a tech conference?

I’m doing what most other members of the press are doing: checking out and reporting on the latest innovations in technology.  Most importantly, what I’m here for, is to learn about all this new technology and how it intersects with families and kids.

This holiday season, I noticed that more and more handhelds for kids and gadgets lined the shelves of big box electronic stores.  In the age of iPads and smartphones, apps help our kids to read stories, tablets are being harnessed for educational purposes and moms…well, we’re still doing most of the buying decisions, especially when it comes to technology throughout the entire house.  It’s more than evident that technology is embraced by the entire family, with mom and kids influencing a good portion of the techy marketplace, now more than ever.

With CES officially opening today, I be on the look out for a superfluous amount of #CES tweets, my pictures on Flickr, and of course, some blog posts all about the family friendly tech gear that I find on the showroom floor.

Time to Play Announces Holiday Must Haves

It’s October, and fall is officially in full swing.  (How did that happen so quickly?)

Even though the season is just now starting to change, media and bloggers alike have had the holidays in mind for months now.  In fact, I think I went to my first holiday preview back in May?

Nevertheless, I’m excited once again to curate—what I consider—cool new kid gear that would make fun gift for the holidays.  But this week, to get the season started right, I had the chance to attend Time to Play magazines Holiday Showcase here in NYC.

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The pros, Chris Byrne, content director, and Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of TimetoPlayMag.com unveiled Time to Play’s Most Wanted list, the 16 toys they predict will be the “must haves” for the upcoming holiday season.  And once again, NKT was onhand to check things out and tweet all about it.

And here they are, TimetoPlayMag.com’s Most Wanted List for the 2010 Holiday Season:

  • AIR HOGS MOTO FRENZY
    (Spin Master/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
  • DISNEY PRINCESS & ME DOLLS
    (JAKKS Pacific/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $49.99)
  • HOT WHEELS R/C STEALTH RIDES
    (Mattel/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
  • LEAPSTER EXPLORER
    (LeapFrog/Ages 4 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $69.99)
  • LEGO Games – LEGO Systems
    (LEGO/Ages 7 years & up/Approx. Retail Price $29.99)
  • LOOPZ
    (Mattel/Ages 7 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $29.99)
  • MONSTER HIGH Dolls
    (Mattel/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $16.99)
  • NERF N-STRIKE STAMPEDE ECS Blaster
    (Hasbro/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $49.99)
  • PAPER JAMZ
    (WowWee/Ages 5 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
  • REAL CONSTRUCTION
    (JAKKS Pacific/Ages 5 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
  • SCRABBLE FLASH
    (Hasbro/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $29.99)
  • SING-A-MA-JIGS
    (Mattel/Ages 3 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $12.99)
  • SQUINKIES
    (Blip Toys/Ages 4 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $6.99)
  • TONKA CHUCK & FRIENDS CHUCK’S STUNT PARK Playset
    (Hasbro Playskool/Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $39.99)
  • V.READER
    (VTech/Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99)
  • ZOOBLES
    (Spin Master/Ages 4 years & up/ Approx. Retail Price: $4.99)

They also highlighted three family-friendly video games, which include:

  • Kirby’s epicYarn
  • Epic Mickey
  • Dance Central

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Most of the toys at the showcase were toys that I’ve had the chance to check out at Toy Fair, at media previews or have even been dubbed NKT faves, so some of the “must haves” were no surprise.  They’re all great picks, but I have several more on my radar that I think should’ve made the mark.  I’ll be sure to share those in my holiday gift guide, which is coming soon.

Do you guys see any toys that you think might be the “it” toy this year?

Whatever you think might be hot, put it on your radar NOW.  Time to Play’s sage advice for consumers and industry insiders alike:  “If you see it early, grab it early.”

2K Sports Releases MLB 2K10

It’s not quite official yet, but Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods, and you know what that means…

It’s time to root, root, root for the home team!

Just in time for Spring Training, 2K Sports has released Major League Baseball 2K10.  For the MLB video game series’ tenth anniversary, this variation showcases perhaps the best graphics yet.  Check out the trailer to see for yourself.

The ongoing battle of pitchers vs. hitters is the highlight of the game, where pitching mechanics and right-stick swing control enhancements convey realistic experiences.  MLB 2K10 also boasts a revamped fielding system, new signature animations, as well as a new star player rating system.  The game is available for XBox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS and PC and is rated E for Everyone.

The kid and I had the chance to preview 2K Sports’ MLB 2K10 the other week, just before it hit the shelves.  During the demo, I was in disbelief how incredible the graphics were; if I didn’t know any better, I could’ve mistaken this new game for a live broadcast of an actual ballgame on tv.  The audio adds to the whole realistic experience as well.  During our demo, we chose to play using our team, the Mets in their homefield, Citi Field. Having visited the new ballpark for the first time last summer, I was in awe of just how realistic the graphics of MLB 2K10 were to the park.  Speaking of Citi, did you know 2K Sports has a cool gaming suite within the Fan Fest area at the ballpark?  It’s a must-see and must-do if you make it out to the park.

For the most part, I watched the demo, rather than played MLB 2K10 myself, but I plan on having a more thorough review of the game as soon as we have the chance.  There’s quite a few other baseball games that are big for sports gamers, but as a non-sports gamer who reviews a host of games for kids, I think MLB 2K10 is certainly one to check out.

Win it!

Two of lucky NKT readers will have the chance to win a copy of 2KSports MLB 2K10!  That’s right, two.

To win a game, let’s make it easy, tell me about your favorite MLB team, players or stadium.

Per usual, share on any social networking site for extra entries.  Comment below for all entries.

 

Check it!

While we’re talking about baseball favorites… together with some fellow bloggers and kids from the NY Boys and Girls Club, our family was invited to participate in Citi Field’s Kid’s Day tomorrow.  As diehard Mets fans, we’re over the moon about this cool experience.

Citi Field

Want to see what we’re up to at the ballpark?  Be sure to follow me on Twitter and on Facebook to get live updates throughout the day!

If you’re in the NYC area tomorrow, Citibank branches in the five boroughs will host baseball themed activities, including kids’ games, food, face painting, balloons, clowns and characters. Former Met Ed Kranepool will visit the Park Slope Citibank branch from 12:00-1:30pm to sign autographs. Baseball themed refreshments will include hot dogs and cracker jacks.