Category: Our Blog

Our Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Review

The Nintendo Switch has been doing a great job of reinvigorating games and characters that were at their peak two decades ago. One of the first launch titles, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, was one of the best, and definitely the biggest, Zelda titles to launch. Super Mario Odyssey was another great title that came out a few months later. But what I remember the most about the old Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 were all the random party style games that had more focus on multiplayer with family and friends.

The upcoming Super Smash Bros game is one of these classic multiplayer games reinvented for the Switch, and the one most people are probably looking forward too, but Nintendo has already released a couple of great options in the meantime. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is one such title.

I must admit, I have no idea who the Rabbids are or where they came from. I did look into it on Google and apparently they have their own game world and adventures. I’m not sure who came up with the idea to mix the two worlds together but this was the first time Nintendo allowed a company other then themselves to work with the Mario characters. The end result is a great looking game with familiarity in the form of the Mario team but with the twist of adding some crazy weapons and a bit of strategy to the action.

In Mario rules you start at the first world and progress through more challenging levels until you reach your next destination. This game works the same, slowly building up the players skill level to handle more complex scenarios while always keeping you visually invested by changing the scenery regularly. The characters in the game are a lot of fun to play with and children will be easily entertained by what’s happening in the game.

It never becomes overly difficult and that is another thing that makes it fun. Rather then being challenging to complete, the challenge might be in competing for the highest scores or just working together with friends and family to complete the levels and unlock all the characters and weapon available.

Having been out for a little while now you can probably pick this game up for around $50 new, and less second hand. Nintendo Switch games second hand are pretty safe as they are running on cartridges instead of discs so worrying about scratches is a non issue.

LeBron James and the LA Lakers May Be In For A Long NBA Season

The eagerly awaited NBA season is here!  The most intriguing thing for basketball this season has to be the Los Angeles Lakers and how they will perform with their star recruit, LeBron James.

The LA Lakers started their season playing the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland.  LeBron made a statement with his first points as a Laker with a thunderous fast-break dunk.  He proved that at age 33, he is still the best basketball player in the world.  As a 15 year veteran, he still played 37 minutes and stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.  He showed no signs of slowing down despite his age and years of basketball that should have taken its toll on his body.

This was all accomplished while playing a very different style of basketball we are used to from LeBron.  There was much less LeBron bringing the ball up most possessions and surveying his options, before driving and finishing with a powerful jam or kicking out to a shooter for a three.  They played fast and old LeBron kept up.  LeBron handled the ball much less, allowing playmakers, like Rajon Rondo, to actually play their position.  He was more a finisher and rebounder and less a playmaker than we’ve ever seen him before.  In spite of this, LeBron played well in his debut for the Lakers.

The LA Lakers as a team, however, needs much work.  They kept up with the Blazers for three quarters, but were clearly outplayed in the final quarter, leading to a 128-119 loss.  There were a lot of errors on defence.  Much of this can be put down to a lack of time together as players.  LeBron dished out many assists which were wasted by his teammates being in the wrong position or simply missing their shots.  A couple of behind the back passes, which usually would be on LeBron’s highlight reel, went to nobody and out of bounds.  Their shooting from the three point line was abysmal, making only 23 percent.  Much has been said about the Laker’s lack of shooters and this pretty much confirmed it.

It’s only the first game of a very long season.  The team should get better as they play more together.  If not, LeBron may not be as patient as he says he will be.  The Lakers have resisted in a big trade so far and opted to keep their young core of potential stars intact.  However, this could all change as the season unrolls.

2018 Gold Coast 600

The Vodafone Gold Coast 600 was back on the weekend from the 19 to 21 October 2018.  The annual event brought Supercars motor racing to the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit on the Gold Coast again.  The main event was awesome, but there was much to do and see this year on top of it.

There was interesting viewing in the support categories.  The East Coast Bullbars SuperUtes Series showed off dual-cab, turbo diesel utes.  The Aussie Racing Cars Series displayed small size cars with powerful engines going at 200kph.  The Kumho Tyre Australian V8 Touring Car Series provided a chance to see genuine ex-V8 Supercars.  It was good to see the new model Porsche 911 GT3 in the Porsche Wilson Security Carrera Cup.

The Pit Lane Walk allowed a behind the scenes look at teams and drivers preparing for the race from the pit.  There was also an opportunity to tour the Hot Wheels and Hi-Torque Performance Factory where all the Hot Wheels toys are made.

There were also some amazing stunt shows.  Matt Mingay’s notorious Hot Wheels Stunt Team performed spectacular and highly dangerous motorbike stunts.  The Showtime Freestyle Moto X Team thrilled with their aerial stunts.  The Flair Freestyle Trial Riders Show showcased trial motorcycles and bicycles being pushed to their limits.  The Royal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growler flew over the starting grid, performing incredible acrobatics at low levels.  Water powered jetpack, board and bikes were also on display along the waterways.

The Broadwater Sounds Concert featured the ARIA award winning Sheppard followed by international rock acts, +Live+ and Foreigner.  There was also a Late Night Pitstop Party at Cocktails Nightclub in Surfers Paradise for those wanting to stay up late.

When there’s racing, there’s also beautiful grid girls.  The 2018 Miss Supercars Race Team National Final was a chance to see some beautiful girls compete for the title of Miss Supercars.

Hudsons Circus in Springfield for 2018

The Hudsons Circus has been in Springfield since the 17th of September and there are 3 more shows left over the weekend. Those of you looking to do something a bit different with the family this weekend should definitely check it out. The act itself is full of entertainment, with shows including trained animals, aerial acrobatics and even a globe of death motorcycle stunt that will thrill all ages. It’s a great balance of entertaining guests of all ages at all times.

My favourite performances were the many aerial acrobatic acts. There was a good handful of these acts that showcased the skill of the performers doing extraordinary stunts in the air. The finale of the show was the flying trapeze which even included a blindfolded leap and catch. There were many great stunts performed and I don’t want to spoil them all for those who are able to attend, however some of the performances included rare talents. One particular act had a performer attempting to shoot a target with a bow and arrow using only her feet, she is one of just two people in Australia who have successfully performed the feat.

Taking children is obviously recommended, they will enjoy the show more then you, the circus clown is highly entertaining and very good at engaging with the children on their level. He doesn’t just have fun with the kids though, in a couple of acts he involves adult members of the audience so the kids can have a laugh at the parents doing silly things. The animals involved in the show are also very impressive. The ability for them to learn their routines is mind boggling, and you will be surprised at how well trained and clever these animals are.

You can view information about the show on the Hudson website here;

http://www.hudsonscircus.com.au/

There are 3 shows left to attend over the weekend. I recommend that you purchase ring side seats in the red zone for the best value for money. You will be right up close to the action and there are many acts where members of the audience are selected to get involved. All of the chosen participants I saw were in ringside seats. You also get the best views and I guarantee that if you sit ringside you will be involved in the show in at least some way.

How To Attend The 2018 Brisbane Riverfire

One of the highlights of the year for Brisbane is coming up this weekend. On Saturday, September 29, Riverfire will once again be happening to wrap up this years Brisbane Festival. We’ve already talked about our top picks for things to do during the Brisbane Festival and we hope you’ve been able to get the kids down to some of the fun family activities.

If you haven’t made it yet this year you should check out the following link to see what other family friendly activities will be available for you if you do make the trip in for the fireworks tomorrow.

https://www.brisbanefestival.com.au/family

Those of you who are interested in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) aerial displays, here is a timetable for the events tomorrow.

2:45 pm – C 17A Globemaster flypast

4:10 pm – Roulettes Aerobatic Display

5:30 pm – EA-18G Growler flypast

7:04 pm – EA-18G Growler flypast

7:05 pm – Fireworks display commences

According to the organisers of the Brisbane Festival these are the best vantage points for the show;

Victoria Bridge, South Bank, Kangaroo Point Cliffs, Captain Burke Park, City Riverwalk, including Riverside Centre and Eagle Street Pier.

According to the organisers there will be food and drinks for sale at many of these sights. If you would like more information about how to attend Riverfire we have a link to the event right here.

https://www.brisbanefestival.com.au/whats-on/sunsuper-riverfire-2018

 

Is Roblox Good For My Child’s Creativity Or Putting Them At Risk?

Roblox is one of the latest crazes in gaming entertainment that is capturing the attention of children. Two other games come to mind when considering whether Roblox as a suitable gaming option for your child. Fortnite and Minecraft. Both Fortnite and Minecraft are fun games that kids can play together, and that you will no doubt hear about their friends playing as well. Minecraft is a world building sandbox style game where construction of worlds on your own, and with other players, is a core part of the game. Fortnite is an action shooting game where players are pit against each other to become the last surviving player. However both these games also come with risks that exist for Roblox as well.

Like Minecraft, Roblox is more about world building. This allows your kids to be creative. They are able to build their own game environments for themselves or others to take part in. They are able to create custom clothing, accessories, and skills, and even their own adventures. In this way Roblox is a little more advanced then Minecraft. The two main issues that should bring parental monitoring are the social aspect of Roblox and the ability to make in game purchases.

Both Fortnite and Minecraft also have a social chat aspect in their games which, for children, is really not a necessary part of the gaming experience. As an adult I have played games of Fortnite and been put into chat groups with children as young as 8 or 9 years old. It’s not something that I’m comfortable with, and as a parent it’s not something I’m comfortable with my children being apart of. I have a rule in my house which I apply to all these types of games. You are not to engage in social chat activities with anyone in a video game. With Roblox you are able to prevent your children from being put in a situation where someone you don’t know is talking to your child.

https://en.help.roblox.com/hc/en-us/articles/206224956-Chatting-and-Playing-with-Friends

If you explore the content on the Roblox website you will find all the options for disabling the social chat aspect of the game from your child’s device. With any game that allows online multiplayer it is a good idea to check what settings you are able to control. As parents we are always trying to protect our children in the world while allowing them to take part in the same activities as their friends.

As for in game purchases, handle that however you prefer. On my children’s iPads I don’t allow them to make purchases without being able to pass pin codes that I set up. I ask my children to do certain chores during the week and take certain responsibilities. I might have one of the girls stack the dishwasher a couple of times a week, and ask them to clean up their rooms when they finish playing with things. When they do these things for me I might reward them with $5. I encourage them to think about things that cost more than $5 and ask them how they might save up for those things. If they choose to use their money to make an in app purchase I’ll allow it. For me it’s the same as them saving up to buy a new toy. I do talk about the value of items for both short term and long term but I’m happy for them to make their own choices about the money they earn. Not too long ago our school engaged in a fundraising activity where money raised could be exchanged for gifts.

As for Roblox, it’s a great game for getting your kids playing together nicely and getting them thinking about how to make stuff. The characters are similar in look to Lego characters and I think that draws them in a lot more. My two eldest girls often played completely random apps on their iPads, but now I see and hear them sitting down together exploring different worlds in Roblox and working together to win games and improve their characters. While I do have to monitor how long they spend on Roblox overall I do think that they are getting a lot of benefits out of the game.

Our Picks from the Brisbane Festival

So many offerings at the Brisbane Festival!  From music and dance to theatre, opera and cabaret, there is a lot to choose from.  Here are our picks from the Brisbane Festival:

Séance

Become locked up together with a group of people in pitch black darkness in a 40 foot shipping container.  Experience what is happening inside the container with the thrill of using your other senses apart from sight.  What you think may be happening may not be happening at all.  How will you cope and what will you do when you are bombarded with suggestive material?  Experience Séance to find out.  Not for the faint-hearted.

Life – The Show

A mix of circus, cabaret and comedy, Life – The Show promises to be another awesome offering from the Courier-Mail Spiegeltent.  It is brought to us from the same people involved with Limbo Unhinged and Blanc de Blanc.  Cirque du Soleil’s Goos Meeuwsen, Violent Femmes’ Blaise Garza, and Limbo’s Mick Stuart and Hilton Denis star in this adventure.  It is billed as a celebration of life and what it means to be a human being in a fun and outrageous fashion.  It also comes with a warning.  Full frontal nudity, drug references, attempted pyrokinesis and other adult themes are strong throughout the show.  Purchase tickets only if you are not easily offended.

California Crooners Club

California Crooners Club is highlighted by Australian actor, Hugh Sheridan.  He’s starred in popular Australian TV shows House Husbands and Packed to the Rafters and won 4 Silver Logies.  However, he can also sing.  Sheridan is joined by singers Emile Welman and Johnny Manuel to bring us elegant tunes with swagger and style.  They won Pick of the Fringe and Critics Circle Award at the Adelaide Fringe Festival.  They were last present at the Brisbane Festival in 2016 when they introduced themselves to us.  They return in 2018 having established themselves as bonafide smash hit.

Best Activities for Young Children at the Brisbane Festival

The Brisbane Festival is here again for another year.  There’s plenty to see and do, but not all of it is suitable for young children.  Of course, Sunsuper Riverfire celebrating the end of Brisbane Festival is a must for older children and adults.  As usual there will be a massive all-day concert, cumulating in a spectacular fireworks display.  The theme of the soundtrack this year is sci-fi and superheroes which sounds fun.  However, little children just can’t last the day and stay up late for the fireworks.  Here are our picks for the best activities for young children at the Brisbane Festival this year:

#CelebateBrisbane River of Light

The #CelebrateBrisbane River of Light is a spectacular show of lasers and lights over the top of giant spirals and dynamic jets of water.  This would be amazing by itself, but on top of that the technology is used to tell the traditional Aboriginal story of how the Brisbane River came about.  Come to the free show to experience how the Brisbane River was created by the dreaming serpent to become the life blood of Brisbane.

House of Mirrors

Located at the Brisbane Treasury Arcadia, the House of Mirrors is your classic maze of mirrors.  A myriad of mirrors are carefully arranged to provide optical illusion with precise geometry.   It will challenge your physically and psychologically as you make your way through.  Some people are delighted.  Some people are amazed.  Some people are frightened.

BrainBuzz Live

BrainBuzz is a new educational children’s show on Channel Nine.  It is produced in Brisbane.  It teaches children about science by answering all those scientific questions that they always wonder about.  This free show located in the Brisbane City Hall Main Auditorium will let children get up close and personal with the hosts and characters from the show.  They promise excitement, experiments and maybe even some explosions.

Gold Coast Show

The Gold Coast Show is more or less the Gold Coast’s version of Brisbane’s Ekka.  Gold Coast residents get a public holiday to go to the show, similar to Brisbane’s People’s Day show holiday.  There are games, rides, showbags, animals and food similar to the Ekka, but at a much lesser scale.  However, unlike the Ekka, the Gold Coast Show has free entry.  That’s awesome considering it costs $35 for an adult ticket and $20 for a child ticket to enter the Ekka.

Sideshow Alley was of course smaller at the Gold Coast Show than the Ekka.  However, there were still plenty of games and rides to please all ages.  Most of the shooting, throwing and fishing games were present at the same cost per game as the Ekka.  There were a lot of rides for young children, but many of the big rides from the Ekka were missing.

Showbags were more disappointing.  There was only a small tent for showbags shared with other stalls.  The line up was so bad you couldn’t even walk closer to see what was in the showbags.  From what we could see, there wasn’t many different showbags to choose from and they looked like the same ones from the Ekka.

Food was even worse.  We thought we would have lunch early before 12pm to beat the line up.  However, many items at 3 different stalls were already sold out.  There were no shakes available at the shakes and dessert caravan, which was a quarter of their menu.   The soft serve stall shut their serving counter at around 12.30pm after running out of ice cream.  No pork or beef skewers were left from the BBQ skewers stall and we had to wait 30 minutes for our order of chicken skewers, mixed grill skewers and loaded fries.  Some customers got fed up waiting for their food and asked for a refund.

More organization regarding the showbags and food would have been nice.  Luckily, the games and rides made up for them.  You can’t complain about the free entry.  Overall, still a fun day out.

Are Video Games Bad For Kids?

Video games get a bad rap.  They stop kids going outdoors to play.  Kids sit all day staring at screens so they become fat due to a lack of exercise.  The flashing lights at close range are bad for the eyes.  They are the reason more kids need glasses.  Kids sit in front of a screen by themselves and become anti-social.  They don’t develop the normal social skills through interaction with other kids in person.  These are all the negative things associated with video games.

What if video games were used for exercise?  You can’t sit to play the game.  You have to stand and move about in order to complete the levels, win prizes and unlock new content.  When playing these video games, kids would be keeping active, not just sitting in front of a screen.  There are many of these type of games now available.

What if video games encouraged you to rest your eyes?  Looking at anything for a long time can be bad for your eyes.  Being out in the bright sunlight can make your eyes sore if you are not wearing sunglasses.  Doing an assignment on the computer for a few hours can be draining on your eyes.  At least video games have an inbuilt warning and ask you to rest your eyes after playing for a certain amount of time.

What if video games encouraged social interaction?  There are many offline games that allow you to play together with a second player on a second controller.  Many online games allow you to play with and against other people.  This interaction is not just on the screen either.  Many games encourage the use of headsets with microphones and talking to each other while playing.

Video games are not as bad for kids as they have been made out to be.  These days video games are part of kids’ lives.  As long as playing is in moderation, there should be nothing wrong with it.