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23
Sep 13

Wii Sports Club Enhances Classic Wii Game with HD and Online

WIi Sports Club

Wii Sports Club

In the world of video-games none come more star studded than Wii-Sports and Wii-Sports Resort. Proud at the top of the all time sellers chart these two family games have shifted a tidy 115 million copies.

Until now though there wasn’t a version of the game for the Wii U, Nintendo’s new console. Yesterday it announced Wii-Sports Club. This not only adds better controls and an online function to the classic five sports (Tennis, Bowling, Boxing, Baseball and Golf) but also gives it a HD makeover.

If you’ve not tracked with the games until now you may want to check which sports and features are available in the different versions — which all work on the Wii U.

Wii-Sports offers Tennis, Bowling, Boxing, Baseball and Golf and can be played with up to four Wii Remote controllers. It was often packed in with the Wii console itself.

Wii-Sports Resort offers Swordplay, Wakeboarding, Frisbee, Archery, Basketball, Table Tennis, Golf, Bowling, Power Cruising, Canoeing, Cycling and Air Sports. It required the MotionPlus attachment on each Wii Remote controller to be played. One MotionPlus attachment was included with the game.

Wii-Sports Club offers Tennis, Bowling, Boxing, Baseball and Golf. But like Wii-Sports Resort it requires the MotionPlus attachment on each Wii Remote controller to be played. You can play Wii-Sports Club online against players not in the same room and it also offers updated visuals.

Perhaps the biggest mark of success are other titles that recreate the Wii-Sports effect on different consoles. Sports Champions offers a more mature take on sporting challenges on the PlayStation 3 using the Move controller. Kinect Sports on Xbox 360 and Sports Rivals on Xbox One offer a hands free motion controlled sporting experience. An alternative take on video-game sports is the Sports Friends pack (PC/Mac/PS3) that includes the physical electronic sports game Joust.

Wii-Sports Club will be available to download from the eShop on November 7th. Individual sports can be purchased for £7.99 and a 24 hour pass to all sports for £1.75.


11
Sep 13

15 Top Autumn Family Gaming Highlights

Family Gaming Tips

Family Gaming Tips

With the children back at school and the weather turning autumnal the thoughts of families turn to inside pleasures. Not least of these are the great video-games we can play together as the nights draw in.

Here are my tips for family games just out that you shouldn’t miss this season.

Skylanders Swap Force The third iteration of the collectable toy figure game offers a new gimmick — mix and match characters. This refreshes the toy-line as well as the gameplay but will face still competition from Disney Infinity this year.

Beyblade Evolution 3DS The spinning top playground craze makes the jump to Nintendo’s 3D handheld in some style. Every battle is simulated in Beyblade Evolution and will match real world outcomes as players customise their spinning tops and use motions controls and augmented reality to play the game.

Lego Marvel Superheroes The next in the Lego games that offer a platforming and puzzle challenge. For co-operative two player fun go for the console version, or play on the move on 3DS or Vita. No Wii version this time round, does this mark a decline in support for Nintendo’s ground breaking hardware?

The Wonderful 101 An original title made exclusively for the Wii U that uses the tablet controller to command an army of super heroes. This PEGI 12 game offers the exuberance and thrills of older rated titles but in a more age appropriate package. It offers hours of fun for all the family in its five player multiplayer mode.

Minecraft Xbox, Xbox One Quite possible the most popular game of the moment for families. Here in Xbox form it not only offers value for money but an easy way to get started in the world of exploration and block building. With new updates coming thick and fast, this is a great way to game together as a family.

Knack PS4 A family launch title for Sony’s new PlayStation 4 hardware. Gaining visual and gameplay advantages from the extra horsepower Knack creates a loveable platform challenge that all the family will warm to.

Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS The evolving world of Animal Crossing changes with the passing seasons in the real world because it is tied to the 3DS system clock. On 3DS the game not only gains a 3D look and feel but many more features and ways to play it. Families can share the same island, each with a different character, and work together to keep their neighbours happy and craft a perfect life.

Disney Infinity This offers not only another take on the toy-meets-video-game play that Skylanders popularised but also a chance to make your own games in the Toybox. Go for the next generation versions on 360/PS3/Wii U for all the features, while Wii and 3DS offer scaled down experiences.

Zelda Wind Waker HD A rerelease of a classic Zelda adventure on the Wii U. This cartoon style game has a tonne of depth and playability for families. Solve puzzles together and take turns to work through the different dungeons as you control young Link on his quest to save princess Zelda.

Super Mario 3D World Wii U This takes the 3DS Mario game and paints it large on the Wii U. Not only multiplayer but also a variety of new abilities and outfits await the famous plumber and his friends this season. The challenge is considerable and will keep you and the family entertained for many hours.

Forza 5 Xbox One The classic driving experience updated to not only keep dads and sons happy but the whole family. A whole host of driving aids in this version means that anyone can pick-up and play, whilst experts will still find the usual challenge they expect. On Xbox One it looks and feels (with the new controller) even better than ever.

Mario Kart 8 Wii U The same classic Mario racing game comes back with a twist. Anti-grav karts let you race on the wall and the ceiling. New characters and new vehicles also keep the competition fresh. Along with new visuals and controls on the Wii U this is an ideal way to get the family racing together this autumn.

Angry Birds Star Wars II iPad This may sounds like another derivative update for Angry Birds but actually this introduces new Telepod characters. Like Skylanders this uses the toys to unlock characters and content in the iPad game. Moving into the collectable toy-game market may make financial sense for Angry Birds, but we need to see how convincing this is in terms of gameplay when the game is released later this month.

WonderBook Book of Potions This follow up to Book of Spells is again written by J K Rowling no less and offers more interactive witch and wizard adventure. On PlayStation 3 you use the physical book peripheral to navigate and interact with the game. What starts as a simple story book experience soon has you concocting various potions and spells.

WonderBook Walking With Dinosaurs This uses the Wonderbook physical peripheral to enable players to excavate and piece together their own dinosaurs. Not only can you complete the various puzzles to find all the bones, but then watch them come to life on the page.

Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) is a freelance Family Gaming expert for the BBC and produces Family Gamer TV.


27
Jun 13

Mr Shingu’s Paper Zoo – origami meets Tamagotchi

Computer games are incredible things, but their real potential is in inspiring young people to be more creative after they put the iPad or joypad down, according to Frank Arnot from Stormcloud Games. Here Frank writes exclusively for HELLO! Online about creating games for families.

As parents and gamers, creating fun experiences for kids is hugely important for us – and that’s why we decided to start up our own company last year after many years in the games industry.

Between the three founders, we’ve worked in the games industry for over 50 years and created 45 titles for just about every computer and console you can think of. We worked on the F1 games, Harry Potter and helped with the Xbox version of Minecraft too.

Title screen - Mr Shingu's Paper Zoo

We think of Mr Shingu’s Paper Zoo as ‘origami meets Tamagotchi’ – children get to trace their finger on an iPad or iPhone to fold 24 different animals, choose their colours, and then watch them magically spring to life.

The child then has to pick a habitat and a shelter for their animal, and fold them a partner so they can create baby animals in their Paper Zoo. They have to look after all their different animals, feed them and entertain them to make sure they’re happy.

But for us the real measure of success for Paper Zoo might sound a bit odd – we really want children to put the game down and start folding paper to create a real paper zoo at home.

Animal shop - Mr Shingu's Paper Zoo

We’ve been really fortunate to work with a Japanese origami master, Mr Fumiaki Shingu, so all of the designs in the game are completely accurate.

As children (and big kids!) play the game, they’ll learn how to fold animals like pandas, lions, owls and seals, and we’ve included lessons to help make that learning process as easy as possible.

Games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity are incredible because they allow children to mix playing in a game with playing with toys in the real world, but buying all the games and all the toys can be very expensive.

As parents who feel the pressure to buy all the latest toys, we were shocked when ‘in-app’ purchases hit the headlines earlier this year with one boy spending almost £2,000 in just 15 minutes on the family iPad.

Zoo in day - Mr Shingu's Paper Zoo

Right from the start we were very clear – there’s no hidden extras to pay for in Paper Zoo. You buy the game once, for the price of a kids’ magazine, and that’s it.

We’ve loved working in the games industry for all these years. It can be incredibly tough to get a product finished, but at a basic level being able to bring fun and happiness into people’s lives is just incredible.

With Paper Zoo we’ve taken a big personal step, to design the games that as parents we want our kids to be playing. And if we can bring some joy to young people – and inspire them to fold and paint their own paper zoos – then we’ll have achieved something really important indeed!

We’d love to see pictures of the paper animals your kids make – so please get in touch with us on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/mrshingu] or Twitter [https://twitter.com/mistershingu/]. Origami paper from a craft shop or online store is best, but any square paper – or trimming A4 to make a square – will work.

Happy folding!

Mr Shingu’s Paper Zoo is available now on the App Store


4
Mar 13

Making an app: young BAFTA-winning design talent Sophia George tells her story

You’ve probably been there: Trying to get your iPhone back off the kids, who tell you “ten more minutes” or “just one more level”. When can all appreciate the peace and quiet that comes from a really good app, but how many of us stop to think about what goes into making one? Sophia George has just launched her first game at the grand old age of 22. Here, she tells HELLO! Online about the process.

“I am the Chair and Creative Director of a new start-up studio called Swallowtail Games and my first game Tick Tock Toys has just been released on the App Store!

“I’ve been gaming and using computers since I was very little. My first computer was an Amiga 500, which I still have great memories of. As I got older, I started thinking about seriously pursuing games as a career. I was always told that you needed to be excellent at maths to work in games, but there so many different skills involved with making a game.

Swallowtail team photo - web

“I ended up studying Games Art and Design at Norwich University of the Arts, learning a wide range of skills from 3D modelling, animation, drawing and design. I also began to study games from a more academic perspective.

“I started to see how women characters are poorly represented, often sexualised and most of the time appearing as supporting characters, or even as prizes for the main hero. I found myself always dissatisfied with the female characters, so it just made we want to get into the industry even more. For my final year dissertation, I studied why there are so few women in the games industry, looking into individual games, feminist theory, developer interviews, evolutionary psychology and art history.

“I also found problems with the games industry outside of the actual games! During university, I attended the Eurogamer Expo, a huge event that showcases up and coming game titles to the public. While queuing to get inside, a few security guards told me that I must be in the wrong queue, assuming I was trying to find the Earl’s Court Wedding Show!

tick.tock1

“In 2011 I entered a 10-week competition run by Abertay University in Dundee called Dare to be Digital with friends and other students I met online from Abertay. Together we developed my game idea Tick Tock Toys, which went on the win the competition, as well as the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in March 2012. It was an exciting night, and I met so many great people – and even saw a few celebrities!

“Now Tick Tock Toys is available on the App Store, and I am so happy that it has gone from a small idea I came up with to a published game! I am very happy with the game and proud of my team. I am so keen to make more family friendly games that people can enjoy together.

“For too long has gaming been seen as a hobby for boys, but now it’s all starting to change. Currently, 47% of gamers are women, and if we get more women into the development side of games, I’m sure we’ll see some even more amazing and innovative games being created.”

Download the game from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tick-tock-toys/id581681651?mt=8

@TeamSwallowtail
http://www.swallowtailgames.com/


11
Feb 13

PlayStation 3 bringing a splash of colour to living rooms

For anyone looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day present for their video game-loving other half, Sony might just have the answer.

The computer giant have brought out the ‘super slim’ 500GB PlayStation 3 in two limited edition colours. There’s a choice of Garnet Red for the girls or Azurite Blue for the boys. Or, not to be sexist – alternatively you could just match it to your living room colour scheme.

If you don’t already have a PS3 at home, this is the perfect opportunity to get one. Apart from the usual gaming action, it comes with Blu-ray player functionality, a world of online services from catch up TV like BBC iPlayer and 4oD, through music video services like VidZone, movie download services like Netflix and Lovefilm plus you’ll get access to PlayStation’s very own Sony Entertainment Network with offers movie and music downloads via the PlayStation Network.

PS3_Red_Consolea

PS3_Blue_Console-1a


5
Feb 13

Fifty-six new reasons to love ‘Skylanders’ as new game is in sight

As we recently told you, Skylanders has become one of the biggest video-games for families in a short space of time. With Disney hot on its heels with a similar game called Disney Infinity, Activision are about to unveil the next game in the Skylanders series: Skylanders: Swap Force.

The new game has an innovative set of 16 new toy figures that can be separated at the waist and mix and matched. By doing this the player not only created some odd looking creatures but also combines the figures’ different attacks and characteristics.

 

Swap Force

 

These Swap Force figures have the same tactile feel of the other Skylanders. Strong magnets hold them together and enable children to articulate the toys during play away from the game. A minor point until you see the new possibilities this creates for youngsters.

Because of this these new characters will be welcomed by players and parents alike. They epitomise the physical-virtual cross over that makes Skylanders such an interesting game to play. I spoke to Guha Bala, studio head for Skylanders Swap Force, and asked him to talk us through the new game:

Click here to see video

 

swap2

 

Likely to be less popular are characters returning for the third time, the Series three figures. These are reposed in a similar fashion to the Series two figures last year and offer a special Wow-Pow attack. The tension here is that players may have already purchased and invested time in the old versions of these toys and now have to decide whether to miss out on new powers or buy the figure again.

There are also eight more Light-Core Skylanders in Swap Force. These popular figures light up when you put them on the Portal and have a special smart bomb effect. Players will be interested to see which of the Skylanders characters get the light-up feature this year. If Swap Force mirror’s Giants approach here it is likely that some of the light-core characters will be selected from the 16 new Skylanders that are also being introduced this year.

 

swap3

 

Adding up the 16 Swap Force, 16 Series three, eight Light-Core and 16 new Skylanders this is quite a haul for those who feel the need to collect them all. Of course, as we highlighted previously, the key thing for parents to understand is that you only need to buy the starter pack to be able to complete the whole game.

This year however, there isn’t the option of reusing your existing Portal peripheral. The new Swap Force figures are only compatible with the new USB Swap Force Portal. Although the new Portal will support all the old Skylanders figures the Portals from Spyro’s Adventure and Giants won’t work with Swap Force.

 

swap5

 

There will no doubt be more to discover when the game is unveiled fully – something anticipated to be at the upcoming New York Toy Fair. We’ll report back with more details as they arise.


Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) produces Family Gamer TV and the Family Gaming blog.


22
Jan 13

‘Disney Infinity’: the new family gaming experience set to take over living rooms this summer

If last year was about Skylanders Giants, Disney Infinity is sure to be at the top of every child’s wish list this summer. The new game – which combines collectible Disney characters with in-game, virtual ones – was unveiled at a Hollywood event last week and will be launched in the UK on June 28. It takes the movie tie-in game to the next level with two clever innovations. Andy Robertson got to try out both the toys and the game in LA after the event. Here’s what he thought…

Disney Infinity uses physical toys to access in-game characters in a similar fashion to Skylanders. But here, of course, they are the Disney characters we already know and love rather than the newcomer toy creations from Activision. Place these Disney characters on the game’s own Portal of Power (Infinity Base as they are calling it) and they instantly appear on the screen ready to play.

disney-infinity-1

The game will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS when it launches in June.

In addition to the collectable toys there are also a series of tokens. Some of these provide special objects while others offer character upgrades when they are placed underneath particular figures on the Infinity Base. The clever (or frustrating) thing is that you can’t just go out and buy these tokens as they are sold in ‘blind’ packs of two. Players will need to trade these with each other if they are to obtain the full set.

This is a double-edged sword. Certainly it offers families a lot of fun – who doesn’t like collecting things, right? But, it also adds another layer of expense to an already costly hobby. Provided parents see the additional figures and tokens as a ‘nice to have extra’ rather than essential, the value Disney Infinity offers is pretty good.

disney-infinity-2

The game comes in a Starter pack (£54.99-£64.99) that includes three figures, the Infinity base and three play-sets. This means that you can play the following three adventures that last around six hours each:

The Incredibles

Monsters University

Pirates of the Caribbean

 

The gameplay is more advanced and varied that Skylanders, offering not only platforming, fighting and shooting but also driving, city and ship management as well as less combative tasks around the Monsters University play-set.

In addition to these franchise specific experiences you can bring all your toys together for the ‘Toy Box’ mode. This grants players the ability to create their own challenges, landscape and scenery through a simple interface. Seeing Mr Incredible racing Sully or Captain Jack is a surprisingly entertaining prospect as these franchises are usually kept separate.

For families Disney Infinity certainly ticks the right boxes, and offers something distinct to Skylanders Giants. Its split screen gameplay will suite a wider demographic and avoid the annoyingly tethered feel of Activision’s game. Equally the online multiplayer (up to four friends) will suit older players who want to play or create with other people not in the same location.

disney-infinity-3

The first wave of Disney Infinity will just be the start however. By creating a more modular approach to movie tie-in games Disney Interactive can now release new franchises, figures and play-sets as the year progresses.

With the figures and starter box already being listed in the UK they are likely to appear on Amazon.com any day now. I’m using the following links to track them as I imagine getting in early will be the way to ensure you get the figures you want. Now I just need to get the kids to decide — easier said than done.

Here’s a run-down of the first figures that are starting to appear online, if Skylanders is anything to go by getting in early will be what the savvy parents will be doing:

Pirates of the Caribbean figures:

• Jack Sparrow (Included in the Starter Pack)

• Hector Barbossa (Included as Single Pack and Sidekicks Pack)

• Davy Jones (Single Pack)

The Incredibles figures:

• Mr. Incredible (Included in Starter Pack)

• Elastigirl (Included in Sidekicks Pack)

• Dash (Single Pack)

• Violet (Single Pack)

• Syndrome (Single Pack)

Monsters University figures:

• James P. Sullivan (Included in Starter Pack)

• Mike Wazowski (Included in Sidekicks Pack)


Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) produces Family Gamer TV and the Family Gaming blog.


17
Jan 13

Just Magic: ‘Wonderbook: Book of Spells’ is a total page turner

I loved my pop up book when I was a kid – and would turn the pages until it was nearly falling to pieces. Things have certainly moved on a lot since then.

The Wonderbook takes the idea of a pop up book to the next level. It looks and feels like a regular book, but once it’s put in front of the PS3 Eye camera it’s completely transformed, with content bursting from each previously blank page.

wonderbook-2


Book of Spells
is the first release in a series of games that will use the new book peripheral, and this one is specially for fans of the Harry Potter series. The premise is that it’s a spellbook found in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry 100 years before Harry joins as a member of Gryffindor.

It’s been developed with the collaboration of JK Rowling, author of the boy wizard series, and features a good bit of new content written by her especially for the game.

wonderbook-3

Players get the chance to learn and practice spells that Harry and co will be eventually using in their quest against the evil Lord Voldemort. These include skills such as shrinking, growing, and levitating – you might find yourself dropping the jar of eyeballs just to see them scatter all over the place. To do this, you make use of your movement sensitive Move control, which becomes a magic wand.

Although this is aimed at the seven-12 age bracket, mum and dad will love playing along. The novelty of actually seeing yourself in the game takes a long time to wear off – and little ones never seem to tire of waving to themselves in the TV screen. Be warned though, adult gamers may have to sit on their hands to stop themselves snatching the Move off younger players and showing them how to do it properly.

wonderbook-4

Although this is essentially a one player game, it feels like the whole family can get in on the action – one person doing the spell, another turning the pages of the book – which looks so real on screen you can hardly believe it – and others shouting encouragement (or criticism!)

For Harry Potter fans – and even those who aren’t massively into the series of books and films – this is a great buy, scoring top marks for originality, look and the interactive factor. It’s a good investment too, as Sony have promised a steady stream of Wonderbook games, with ones already in development including BBC Walking with Dinosaurs, Diggs Nightcrawlers and some Disney titles. Story time will never be the same again.


11
Jan 13

All you need to know about Skylanders Giants

In the space of two years Skylanders has become one of the biggest video game franchises. Whether you’ve read about it in the press or picked up on playground chatter, it’s worth being one step ahead of the kids. Here are our top tips – brought to you by gaming expert Andy Robertson – on how to get ahead in the game without breaking the bank.

The basics

Skylanders is a video-game and toy franchise that uses figures to grant access to characters and areas in the videogame. A starter pack provides the game, a portal peripheral used to bring the toy characters to life in the game and three toy figures.

The Skylanders Giants videogame retails for £49.99 for a starter pack or £39.99 for a booster pack if you already own the original game. The figures sell for between £8 and £15. There are 40 or so toy figures available for each Skylanders game.

The novelty is that the game saves progress to the toy figures wirelessly via the portal. They can be taken on and off the portal at any stage to swap characters in the game. They are also compatible with any version of the game. So, for example, you can take your Wii figures to a friend’s house and use them on their Xbox version of Skylanders.

The toys

There are four different types of figures you can buy; each is distinguishable from its packaging. Series 1 figures (with a green base) are from Spyro’s Adventure. Series 2 figures (with an orange base) are reposed versions of the original figures re-released with Skylanders Giants. New light up Lightcore figures were released for Giants and illuminate when they are on the portal. Eight Giant and eight new normal figures were added to the collection for Giants.

The first game in the series, Skylanders: Spyros Adventure, supports all figures with green bases that were released with it. It also supports characters for Giants (with orange bases) that existed originally. Check packaging for compatibility.

The second game in the series, Skylanders Giants, supports all figures. Original green based figures bring all their upgrades with them into the new game and can upgrade to a higher level. Series 2 re-posed versions of the original figures also get a special Wow-Pow attack and the ability to switch upgrade paths at will. The light-up Lightcore figures get a special smart bomb attack when they join the game.

The video game

Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants both offer similar gameplay. This is a two-player simultaneous action adventure where you shoot and fight enemies and solve puzzles – quite similar to the Lego games although without the split screen.

Skylanders Giants offers more interactions from a wider set of figures. It also offers a difficulty level that enables young (or advanced) players to be accommodated and provides another reason to replay the game once it has been finished. The 360 and PS3 version of the original game has a very difficult final boss (also true but less so on the Wii).

Collecting

You can complete both Skylanders Giants and Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure with just the starter pack characters. Additional figures do extend gameplay by granting access to new characters and areas, but are a “nice to have” rather than necessity.

To be able to access every area in Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure you need one figure in each of the eight element groupings. The same figures can be used to access every area in Skylanders Giants although you also need one Giant to access other areas – which the game comes with.

You can identify which grouping a figure is in from its packaging and the materials of its base. You can also look on the bottom to find the element symbol, or check details in the game by pausing to access the menus.

The figures are not all available at the same time. Shops stock new models in groups with new waves of figures made available during the life of the game. Second hand figures often sell on eBay for much more than their retail price due to their rarity.

Certain figures are available in a limited edition “Legendary” variant that provides increased stats in the game. Some of these variants are only available from a particular retailler. Some are only available in a certain country. Additionally there are a large number of novelty figures that can be found at random at retail. Silver, Gold, Glow in the Dark and even Flock covered figures are much sought after although do not make a big difference in the game.

Saving money

The game contains video trailers for each toy character that are triggered as you play. These advertise new toys that players need to purchase if they want to use the character in the game. It is worth noting the above point that these are optional extras not required to complete the game.

You can use the portal from the first game with Skylanders Giants. To this end there is a Portal owner’s expansion pack that offers better value to returning players. Portals for Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure were battery powered for Wii and PS3, whereas for Giants they are wired. This is to enable the portal to draw more power for the light-up Lightcore figures.


Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) produces Family Gamer TV and the Family Gaming blog.


21
Dec 12

iPhone and iPad add-ons for an app-y Christmas and New Year

Yes, you can make calls on your iPhone, and browse the internet on your iPad, but there’s so much more to the Apple gadgets than that. With the help of some nifty little add ons the touch-screen wonderkids can be transformed into fun games to keep the whole family entertained. Getting your phone or tablet back at any point could be a little tricky though.

Appsing

What better way to get your festive or New Year’s Eve party started than with a good old fashioned sing song? With a microphone and speakers, the Appsing turns your smart phone into a portable karaoke machine. All you need to do is download your favourites from the appstore and you’re good to go.

£39.99 from all good toy stores or www.red5.co.uk

Speck iGuy Case

Little ones can be kept amused for hours with a gaming app – but the fun stops if the iPad slips out of little fingers and ends up in pieces on the floor. But the iGuy is a great solution to iPad danger, protecting iPads or iPad minis from bumps and scrapes. The legs and arms transform it into a sweet little computer person, and act as a stand or just provide something for kids to easily hold onto.

£24.97 for iPad 4/3/2 and £22.97 for iPad mini in a range of colours from MobileFun.co.uk

AppQuiz

Forget charades or scrabble, this is the next generation of after-dinner party games. Download the free app and plug in your device and you can stage your own quiz show in the comfort of your own living room. There are thousands of questions to test the general knowledge of all the know-it-all dads out there, but will they be quick enough on the buzzer to beat the rest of the family?

£29.99 from all good toy stores or www.red5.co.uk

Arcadie

What if you could be transported back in time to the Eighties, but without the dodgy fashion and haircuts? The Arcadie can’t quite promise that, but it does offer the thrill of button bashing down the arcades that some members of the family might remember from the era. Think Eighties games with the added auchenticity of an old style joystick and buttons – all you need is the free app, which is loaded with retro games – then slot your iPhone into the unit, no wifi, power cables (or spare change) required. It’s hard to tell who will like this more, children or kids from the Eighties.

£14.99 from www.firebox.com

AppLingz

Anyone who ever had a Tamagotchi will know how much fun it is to have your own virtual pet to care for. The Appling takes things one step further, changing your iPhone or iPod touch into a furry little friend who responds to touch, motion and voice commands. All you need is the free AppLinz app from the Appstore and you’re all set.

£14.99 from all good toy stores or www.red5.co.uk

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