Guitar Hero vs. RockBand

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For the first time in the Guitar Hero series they have released a full band version that allows players to use either the guitar, drums, or microphone to sing. Guitar Hero: World Tour has a great song list that allowed me to recognize at least every other song if not at least 80% of them. Some of our favorite songs are Crazy Train by Ozzy, Hotel California by the Eagles, Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynryd, and Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi. You can even download songs right through the game, there is no exiting out of the system to download these new additions to your set list. It’s all within the game.  In Quick Play mode you can choose up to six songs to include in your play list. This allows you to have more of a continuous play.

As for the instruments, the drum kit on Guitar Hero was more preferred in our household. It is more realistic and is certainly more difficult to play. We like the challenge of it. On it there are 6 different areas to engage with. On beginner mode, though, you can still play the drums by just keeping a simple tempo on one drum with the game.  The guitar is a great instrument that anyone can play. On beginner mode my daughter can use the guitar easily and usually gets 85% or higher. Both my children are very musically inclined so they love interacting with the game. By far my favorite instrument to use is the microphone. The wording on the screen is rather tiny, but after one or two tries you can really master a song.

We have spent many evenings as a family playing Guitar Hero: World Tour in band mode. We enjoy the thrill, the silliness, and the well thought out game.

About the Momma:

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Andrea is a 26 year old work at home professional and mother to two beautiful little girls, Cayleigh (7) and Gabrielle (2). She is married to her one and only love Marc. Andrea currently runs Mommas Review and handles the marketing and publicity for it. She is addicted to reading, social networking, and reality television.

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Rock Band 2 was my first experience with a band-style music game. I’ve never played Guitar Hero or the original Rock Band but I’ve been eager to try one so the opportunity to review the new Rock Band 2 which just came out in December 2008 was very exciting! The games uses a wireless drum set, wireless Fender Stratocaster guitar and microphone allowing you to transform your living room group, be it family or friends, into your very own Rock Band.

It seems each member of my family is naturally drawn to one of the instruments. My husband loves rocking out on the Rock Band guitar and quickly figured out all the ins and outs of playing it. With the help of Rock Band’s tutorials it is easy to become masterful at the instrument of your choice. My three year old son thinks the drum set is his own personal drum set and when we play during the day he has command over it. I love that we can set the drum set up and even turn it on so he sees the blinking lights, but simply leave it disconnected from the Wii which lets him rock out along with us, but doesn’t interfere with the game play – which is oh so crucial when each instrument has the ability to control the game. I love that he can be involved with our fun without being a complete pain. He rocks out on the drums and sings along to the songs with us while we play.

I love the microphone on this game, perhaps because singing comes more naturally to me than instruments (the only real instrument I’ve ever played was the dreaded recorder in middle school). On a song that I already know and love, I can score high even on the hardest of settings, but it’s fun to pick out a random song I’ve never heard, throw it back to Easy Mode and give it a go. We did that for awhile in the beginning after I realized that my knowledge of the initial songs unlocked in the game was pretty much limited to one or two songs. Then a friend tipped us off on a way to unlock the rest of the songs in the game – and oh my goodness there are some good ones. I now probably know at least 75% of the songs with artists like Alanis Morissette, Fleetwood Mac, Smashing Pumpkins and many, many more. Rock Band 2 offers 84 songs on the game’s disc with 20 additional songs available FREE for download. Plus you can always buy more in the Rock Band Music Store. You can use your SD memory card to store your additional songs, with seamless management of your Rock Band library. No need to move content back and forth!

My only real complaint with Rock Band is that the instruments don’t make noise themselves. All the sound comes out of the game itself. This doesn’t bother anyone else in my family but me, but I think that if the instruments could somehow make noise in addition to the game or alongside it, that it would be a big improvement. One thing I loved is that while navigating the song list, I was able to sort by level of difficulty, band, song and a few other options I think, too. I also enjoyed being able to choose from a long list of “characters” to represent me when I play. My husband loves to let it choose at random and laugh over the often humorous results. I’ve gotten very comfortable with the character Grace Williams, one of the few  girls who looks mostly normal, doesn’t wear a bikini or have a million piercings and tattoos. Can’t help it, the mom in me respects that.

Overall we are absolutely thrilled with Rock Band 2 and look forward to playing it as a family together frequently.

About the Momma:

Jen is a Stay at Home Mom and Loving Wife. She spends her time online reading RSS feeds and posting in her blog. If you haven’t heard from her in awhile, she’s likely lost in a good book, sleeping or watching Grey’s Anatomy.

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Family Game Night Fun at Mommas Review

Family Game Nights are important to us here at Mommas Review. We are always trying to find new and fun games to enjoy during our nights together. I find it important to play games with my children, it’s a good opportunity on those rainy days to turn off the television and interact with each other. As a family, we try to do this at least once a month.

Sometimes a new game is needed to kick start game night in your household. There are so many games on the market right now that it is difficult to find a new one that will entertain everyone. Our family pick for this month? Pictureka.

Pictureka is all about finding things fast, and finding them first. The game challenges it’s players to find objects on the ever-changing game board in an allotted amount of time. It is like the I Spy books or even Where’s Waldo but in a fast paced game format.

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Try out this Hasbro game with the online trial version.

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How to do Family Game Night at your house

Pick a set day / time each month

Picking a day each month to have family game night is the most important factor. If you don’t set this in stone it won’t end up happening. Put it on your calendar. Post a bulletin on the fridge. Remind your family a few days before. You want everyone there and everyone excited. Pick a time when the kids won’t be tired or grumpy. I know it can be difficult when everyone has conflicting schedules but it’s important for all the family to be there.

Rotate who picks the game

We love doing this at our personal family game night and also at the Mommas Review team game night (where all of our families get together for fun). By changing up who is choosing the game it is never monotonous and everyone gets the chance to have their voices heard.

Choose games that will suit all the family

If you are worried about what games your child will pick, give them options. Let them pick from say three games that you know are suitable for the children and the rest of the family.

Turn off distractions

The hardest thing you have to do. Turn off the television, shut down the computer, and turn off the phones (yes, even your cell phone). Now, this doesn’t count if you will be playing games using the television or playing gaming systems like the Wii as a family. Our family gets distracted so easily that if we do not take this important step, Family Game Night will be a failure.

Start a collection

If you only have a few games and they are ancient you all will lose interest instantly. It’s important to build a collection of games that the whole family can enjoy! We find that games by Hasbro are great for the whole family. Be sure to look at the age ranges on the box! Some recommendations we at Mommas Review would like to make are:

partini

Partini– This game is a fun one for adult family game nights! We occasionally have adults in one room gaming and the children in the other room running around like crazy and playing with each other. Partini is a mixture of a 6 games and is for sure a game that does not bring boredom.  It is a party in a box! It feels like Cranium but more light weight and easy for a quick play. A minimum of four players is needed.

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Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader– Jeff Foxworthy hosts this DVD interactive game. For ages 8 and up, the game is for 1-2 players or more if you do teams. This game is probably the best for your children ages 8-14 to try with their friends.

A few other recommendations for your gaming shelves: Clue, Cranium, Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Pictionary, Scrabble, Sorry & Sorry Sliders, and the Game of Life.

Family game night promotes family fun and learning for everyone. It helps build good communication skills and teaches everyone how to be good sports (especially in winning and losing). Most importantly it brings the family together without all of the normal distractions to be just be together and enjoy each others company.

Family Game Night: Battle of the Sexes

My friends and I love to get the families together to play games. We love it so much that we hold a monthly game night where we get together for good food and good times. We recently played and reviewed the popular board game Battle of the Sexes as part of a review of the Family Game Night promotion at TimeToPlayMag.com – a game which pits the guys against the girls to see who really knows more about the opposite sex and whether gender stereotypes are true. Each turn the guys or girls will be asked trivia questions that are typically considered common knowledge for the opposite sex. Do you think the guys in your life will know more typical girl stuff than the girls will know typical guy stuff? This game is a fun way to find out and it was interesting to see what typical girly or masculine stuff we each knew – and how much we didn’t!

We had a blast playing Battle of the Sexes and it was harder than it looked! The game play is pretty easy – with a short and long option to choose from. We played the quick version, which is good because it took us a long time, between answering all the questions – some harder than others – and keeping our young kids entertained in the next room. We found ourselves quickly getting competitive and contemplating which questions we did or didn’t think our spouses could answer, which led to a lot of laughs! In the end, the girls finally triumphed but it was a hard battle and the guys easily could have taken the cake at any time. We will definitely look forward to playing this game again.

Do you have family game nights at your house? It’s a great way to get the family together to spend quality time – or groups of families together to reconnect with good friends or extended family. Check out Family Game Night at Time To Play Mag for tips on starting a family game night of your own as well as reviews of great games like Battle of the Sexes, Phase 10, Monopoly Here & Now edition, Apples to Apples and more.

About the Momma:

Jen is a Stay at Home Mom and Loving Wife. She spends her time online reading RSS feeds and posting in her blog. If you haven’t heard from her in awhile, she’s likely lost in a good book, sleeping or watching Grey’s Anatomy.

WW: Future Rockband Rockstars

Me and MM playing the guitar for Rockband for the Wii

He loves rocking out on the Rockband Drums!

He loves rocking out on the Rockband Drums!

For more Wordless Wednesday fun head to Wordless Wednesday and 5 Minutes For Mom!

Hasbro Family Game Night – Giveaway

Hasbro Family Game Night

Hasbro’s newest way to get your family together for family game night is bringing the fun of board games to the Wii. As a mother it is important to me to find new ways for our family to spend time together and interact with each other.  When we received Hasbro Family Game Night for the Wii both of my daughters immediately decided that it was theirs and not mine.

The game declares: “Join your host Mr. Potato Head as you play classic Hasbro games as well as exciting new versions. Hasbro Family Game Night features family favorites such as Connect Four, Battleship, Yahtzee, Boggle, Sorry! and the all new Sorry! Sliders.”

My husband and I popped in the game and were overjoyed by the main character of this game, Mr. Potato Head! He hangs out with you every step of the way and even does fun little dances that my two year old loved duplicating. The first game we tried was Battleship. We both were confused how Battleship could be played when we both could see the screen. The round started and I was told to turn around by the game. At this point my husband was able to put his ships on the board. Then we switched. After the ships are in place the battle began. The bottom of the “game board” looked like water and rippled, and whenever a torpedo missed or hit you got a loud noise letting you know plus fun visual.

We also tried Sorry Sliders, which we don’t have the physical board for. Trust me, though, we will be getting it. Basically you just chuck your color Sorry piece into the center of the board and try to get points. The game also calls for hitting the other players pieces out of high scoring points. Think darts that you slide.

Last we sampled Yahtzee. Something my husband has never tried!  Once we figured out the buttons and the shaking process it was very much fun. The typing for the scorecard and the buttons for choosing were confusing. There were times that I chose the wrong one by accident. With some more time playing, that didn’t happen as often.

Hasbro Family Game Night for the Wii is fun and interactive. It is great for all ages and got our whole family involved. It can be purchased from Amazon for only $36.99.

We are giving away two copies of Hasbro Family Game Night for the Wii. That means two winners! Here’s how you can enter to win:

  1. After reading this review, let us know what you think your favorite game will be on Hasbro Family Game Night.
  2. For an extra entry, you can follow us on Twitter. Post a comment here with your Twitter username.
  3. For a third entry you can tweet about this giveaway or post about it on your blog and leave a comment here with either the URL of your post or your twitter profile.
  4. For a fourth subscribe to our RSS feed, leaving a link here to tell us you’ve done so. We’ll be posting more giveaways on Momma’s Review soon so subscribing will be a great way for you to stay informed about all the great things you can win in the days and weeks to come.
  5. As a final entry donate $1.00 (or more if you’d like) to the I Heart Tucker fund. This can be done through PayPal and your donation would be greatly appreciated. Just visit I Heart Tucker and click on the donate button on the right sidebar, you can also enter raffles on the I Heart Tucker site with donations you have made!  Make sure to come back and tell us you donated.

This giveaway is open to US readers only (sorry to our international readers)!

The contest will close at 12:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday March 18th.

Wii: Nascar Kart Racing

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On Saturday night our team: Me, Amanda, and Jen (and our respective families) got together to enjoy some games, fun, and chit-chat.  We were lucky enough to receive a few days before game night the video game NASCAR Kart Racing.

 

The game boasts:

The first and only NASCAR title available for the Wii! Pre-order your copy today, the game ships on February 10, 2009!

Experience the thrill of racing with the pack-on and off the track-with NASCAR® Kart Racing! Grab the steering wheel as a famed NASCAR driver and speed off through treacherous terrain, wind around rocky cliffs, jump rivers and dodge falling boulders. Invite your family and friends to join the fun! Compete together to see who will be the first to fly across the finish line and enjoy the glory of a coveted NASCAR win!

We sat down and went through the initial set up. I was the only person who fully knew who the drivers were so I told everyone who to pick. You are able to pick two drivers. I picked Carl Edwards and Elliot Sadler who are some of the drivers I enjoy. I like Carl Edwards because he back flips and I like Elliot Sadler because he once crossed the finish line on his hood. There is also Jeff Gordon, Jimmy Johnson, Dale Jr, and more.

 

We established the game to be a four player and it was me, my husband, Amanda, and Jen’s husband Dan. Next we were able to learn how to steer. This was very easy, actually. Especially with the Wii controller, all that we had to do was hold the controller sideways and use the 2 button to use the gas. Then in order to take corners all you have to do is tilt the controller from side to side.

 

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We got the visual tutorial down and moved on to the actual game playing. We got very into it. At first we had no idea how to control the cars, this is mainly our fault as we did not read the instructions fully and we decided to jump on into it. Once we learned how to throw bombs at each other and also to draft using some sort of electrical current, the game really got into action. There was quite a bit of screaming and yelling in excitement and we certainly enjoyed it.

 

Some things I liked about the game.

 

  • NASCAR Kart Racing got the whole family involved into the game. Even those watching were laughing and cheering along. Especially the level that we kept flying off the edges of the road due to bad steering.
  • The graphics are decent and the concept compares a lot to Mario Kart.
  • It was easy to steer and play and only took us one round of trial to learn how to play.
  • The game is rated “E” for Everyone which means the whole family or group can play along.

 

Some things that I would suggest:

  • This is a good party game for those who love racing games or loves NASCAR.
  • We used a 4-player game on a 19-inch TV. The TV was not large enough to get a good visual of each of the players and there was some squinting involved. With a larger TV I feel the game play would be very fun.

NASCAR Kart racing will be sold in all retail stores on February 10th, 2009 and can be pre-ordered through certain retailers now. The game retails for about $39.99.

 

 For more fantastic games check out EA Games who have (in my opinion) the best video games for you and your family!

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