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Scott’s Toy Box: When Summer Starts Heating Up

Ghostbuster: The Video Game (Wii)

WII_L_Ghostbusters

I was too young when the movie Ghostbusters came out in theatres. In fact I was still too young when the sequel came out five years later. But I do remember watching the cartoon series and I loved it as well as the movies when I eventually watched them. Now Atari is releasing Ghostbusters: The Video Game for the 25th anniversary of the first film. It’s a pretty neat adaptation of the story line to include you, the “intern” who joins the team to conquer some of New York’s infamous apparitions.

In the game, you play an experimental equipment technician who busts ghosts along with the original team, Ray, Peter, Egon and Winston. At the beginning of the game, there is an animation about some supernatural events happening at a museum, where we see a bright blue light and a mysterious woman. When the team heads out to recapture Slimer and bring down the return of the giant “Stay Puft” marshmallow man, they run into the mysterious woman, who we learn is Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn, who is researching paranormal happenings.

The game is a third person shooter where you use the Wiimote to look around and aim, while the nunchuk is used to move your character through the levels and to shake when you’re drenched in slime. The characters for the Wii look like caricatures of the actors, which is different from the more realistic look of the Xbox and PS3 versions of this game, but the Wii version is still fun to play. There are also three different difficulty settings. The easy setting is more for kids and people who just want to play it casually where the hardest setting is for more hardcore gamers who want a challenge.

One positive feature for the less experienced players using the easy setting, is that it’s very difficult to get so seriously slimed or killed that your character is put out of action.

If you enjoyed the Ghostbusters franchise and like well executed story games then this is the game for you.

Fisher Price TurboFill Blasters

For the hot days of summer, water gun fights are a great way to cool off. But some water guns aren’t easy for younger kids to use. Fisher Price has come out with the TurboFill Blaster, which is perfect for kids three and up.

It comes with a base that you hook up to your water hose. You insert the gun into the base, which fills up the gun’s tank and pressurizes it. Once it’s filled, just press the release button down and lift the gun off. Then all your child has to do is pull the trigger.

I do have to say that when I first started playing with it, I couldn’t get the gun off of the base, which caused much frustration. Then I found out it was because I was holding down the release button, instead of pressing it down, letting go, and then pulling the gun off. The only thing that could improve this is if the base shot water out when the gun wasn’t attached.

If you have a youngster who wants to join the older kids in a water gun match you should try this one out. It’s sure to provide active fun, cool the kids off and water your lawn all at the same time.

ItzaBitza

When I was in first grade, I wrote in my classroom journal about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote that I was going to be an artist, live on the street (I was very realistic), sell my paintings and give my money to my first grade teachers. Years later, I have become a graphic artist (thankfully with an apartment) and art has always been something I’ve loved. That’s one reason why I was intrigued by ItzaBitza.

ItzaBitza is a web-based computer game for kids where users draw on the computer screen and animated characters interact with whatever is drawn.

Now you don’t get free range to draw whatever you please; the character will ask you to draw something like a house. Then a transparent sheet of paper covers the screen for you to draw your house where you want it in the picture. You add doors and windows and then once you are happy with it, the house comes to life and the character enters and exits from it. From there you draw all sorts of other things, the sun, a tree and even a friend.

This game is simple enough for preschoolers to play with it, but it’s not too boring for those a little bit older. There are stars that appear while you draw that indicate objectives to complete. When you get enough stars you unlock one of the other pictures to draw on.

The only thing I didn’t like was that you don’t get to choose the color of what you are drawing. Sure the sun is yellow and the tree trunk is brown, but I’d like to pick the color of my house. Even when you draw a paintbrush for your friend to paint the house you don’t get a choice in what it looks like. However that is just a minor personal preference and kids probably won’t care.

This is an easy, fun way to let your kids play at a computer, hone hand-eye coordination and experiment with both drawing and simple animations. It’s an enjoyable game that your kids can use to explore their inner Picasso and you may even find yourself discovering yours. Just don’t be alarmed if your child start saying he wants to be an artist who lives on the street.

You can find it at www.itzabitza.com for $19.99.

About The Author

M Scott Anderson

M. Scott Anderson grew up in Hattiesburg and now currently lives in Jackson. He went to college at USM and got a degree in Mass Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. He has always loved to be a storyteller. Friends from childhood would tell him of stories he would say he’s writing that included them in it. He enjoys comic books and superheroes and loves having friends over to play both table top games and video games.

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