Paw Patrol: On A Roll is a capable, kid-friendly platform game. Heroic hounds of every rescue discipline travel left to right, collecting items and using their special skills to save humans and animals in peril. It’s fun, but after a dozen missions, its endless instruction repetition and a lack of equal puppy representation frustrates even the most hyper-focused seven-year-old.
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For a lot of gamers with demanding jobs, marriages and/or families, the excitement of reading good reviews for games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is tempered by the sinking realisation that they’ll never have time to play them.
How do you make time for a 60+ hour game when you have a busy life?
In February, aspiring streamer Mystic hit a breaking point. When her kids started going to school, she had decided to try to turn streaming on Twitch from a hobby into a career.
At first, she only streamed during the day while they were away, but as time went on, she became obsessed with keeping her numbers up. She started streaming at night, too, after they went to sleep. Self-care went out the window. Streaming and family — those were the only things she had time for.
One day, right before a stream, she had a panic attack. All the pressures and unattended wants and needs boiled over. She quit streaming shortly after.
It's hard to say exactly why children with autism are some of the greatest devotees of Minecraft, the computer game in which you build endless worlds out of LEGO-like blocks. Stuart Duncan, a father of two, believes it's because it's a perfect union of two opposites. On one hand, Minecraft offers structure - everything from the water to the doors to the falling lava behaves with a certain predictability that they need. On the other hand, it gives the player infinite freedom. There's no story, no levels, no bosses presenting participants with quests to complete. Behind the shield of their computer screen, players can do whatever they want to do in a sensory-friendly space - recreate the Taj Mahal, light up a house with torches, or hide in a cave.
In 1990, Bill Watterson created a Calvin and Hobbes storyline in which Calvin is bullied into playing baseball during recess. Watterson drew a relatable, cautionary tale about the dangers of cramming boys into neat little boxes. Everyone in this story wants Calvin to do something he hates, but even when he commits to it, nobody helps him succeed.
I had a baby nine months ago. As you might expect, this has significantly changed my relationship with video games, at least temporarily. It has made the Nintendo Switch my favourite console of all time, because I can play it both on the big screen on the occasional evening and in my hands during naptime/train journeys/stolen moments hiding in the bathroom whilst my partner deals with the baby.
It has also drastically reduced the time available to me to play games -- which, given that it is literally my job to know about games, is a smidge inconvenient.