Webkinz was aggressive and relentless in their marketing. It's true that, up until relatively recently, they did not allow any other advertising on their site; however, when it came to advertising their own product, they did it overtly and covertly in as many ways as they could. The opening page was a "newspaper" but it only covered Webkinz-related news, like new toys available. We talked about this with our kids. I don't know how much they understood or retained. This drawing may suggest that those discussions on how Webkinz tries to get us to spend more money may have fallen on deaf ears.
This is a drawing of our Webkinz collection a long time ago. When we first began playing Webkinz, we decided that all the "pets" would go on one account. The disadvantage was that my son and daughter couldn't play separately from each other, or together with two accounts. Of course, at that time we only had two computers in the house and my husband's was off-limits to them. Now we have four. However, an advantage to our policy is that all our Webkinz resources are compiled together, making us very rich in Webkinz World. I can't even recall how many pets we have logged on.
Today is a month away from Christmas, but this is a drawing of another holiday celebrated by Webkinz characters - Halloween. During these real-life holidays, the Webkinz website offers all sorts of items to "purchase" with your Webkinz cash that are holiday-themed. We bought many of the costumes, some of which are "collectors items" because they don't come out yearly.
Our home in Webkinz is much tidier and larger than our real house. I never garden in real life but I do it occasionally online. I'm better at it online too - no thorns and better results!
Webkinz was an online community for my children to play in and their drawings were imaginary riffs on their game playing experiences. The houses and apartments are labeled with the user IDs of their Webkinz friends, some of which they knew in person and others they didn't. We tried to be a lot more cautious back then with adding people to our friends' list.
One of my daughter's favourite areas on the Webkinz website was the listing of all the various Webkinz you could buy. She's a collector at heart, albeit a choosy one. (For instance, her current obsession with obtaining Monster High dolls only applies to the main line, not the "same dolls in different scenarios" like the prom line or sleepover line.) She really liked the Fire Fawn. We refused to buy it because it was an online only item - we didn't mind buying the toys that came with the codes to activate online because even when she might eventually stop playing Webkinz, at least she'd have the toy. (This is what spurred my husband to commission a drawing done of his World of Warcraft character Jherith, at the height of his power, and paid for a physical copy of it, so he'd have some physical token to remind him of his time with the game.) She understood and agreed with our position but still drew this advertisement.
My kids used to be intrigued by an object in Webkinz that you received if you bought and logged on additional Webkinz toys. It was a pond with a creature that occasionally peeked out of the depths. I think it was called the Lurker Below - or at least that's what the kids called it. My daughter decided to draw a picture of some of her Webkinz pets investigating this mystery, with a Sherlock-Holmes-attired horse in the lead.
It's not me - it's my daughter. She drew a picture of her alongside her Poptropica alter-ego, Maroon Whale. Poptropica generates the character's names on its own - she was young enough at the time to not find the name insulting. It's fascinating to see how my daughter's self-portraits have changed over the years. This was drawn a long time ago. Her illustrated versions of herself have become a lot more "manga-ized" and more detailed.
Looking at these old illustrations reminded me about how much my children enjoyed playing Webkinz. There are tons of these things! This was when the game first introduced the school that you could attend, take classes, and get certificates. Later on, you could pay extra and just get the credit without having to do the work. A comment on the modern education system?
The pets in this class photo are mostly of the ones that my girl and boy owned (we didn't own a lion, if I recall correctly). We also couldn't afford to send all our pets to school so we sent just a couple. Another commentary on education? I didn't realize Webkinz had these ethical dilemmas built in!
Here's another long-ago drawing, from a game that my girl no longer plays - Neopet. She stopped playing it because it was too demanding of her time and too hard to maintain the pets. She cried when she thought her "neglect" would cause her unicorn to die, but we showed her that it was just "perpetually unhappy" (and since it wasn't real, that there was no harm in abandoning the game she didn't enjoy playing.)
I wish I could say more about this mysterious map that I found in the old file of video game related artwork produced by my kids. I think my son made it with help from my daughter. She can't recall what it was from and he's too busy playing video games with his pal Q to answer my questions.
As I was flipping through my various file folders, I found one from a presentation on video games I gave ages ago. As part of that talk, I had nearly a dozen drawings done by my kids when they were much younger. I keep their drawings in a portfolio in the garage for posterity, but sharing the game-related ones in this manner means that more people can see and enjoy them. There was only one that my daughter said was "too embarrassing" to post (it was a jointly-made comic with her friends featuring characters from the Littlest Pet Shop online game).
The next few weeks will have these older drawings. This one is of my girl's favourite online friends from Club Penguin.
Another explanation, dictated by the girl and typed by the mother.
This is a fan-made Paper Mario game that I drew for my brother because I knew he really liked Thousand Year Door so I decided to make a sequel to it. This is something I made up totally by myself. The characters in the picture are fan-made helpers, since every Paper Mario game has little helpers in it. I modified them based on previous characters. Their names are Goombrina, Captain Bones, Bobby, Yoshi, Boolina, Flare, Umi, and Lakileroy.
Goombrina is Goombella's roommate and she likes to read. She sort of reminds me of myself because I actually drew her to sort of look like me. Her special ability is tattle, which helps her to identify the foe.
Captain Bones is a dry bones who is the captain of the Shadow Queen's guard. When he sees Mario get captured, he secretly decides to set him free and join his party. His special ability is shell spin, which helps him to hit far away objects. Bobby is Bombette's younger brother. He is a Bobomb. He is a big fan of Mario and likes going on adventures. His special ability is the same as his sister, which is bomb, allowing him to blow up walls and reveal secret doors.
Yoshi is the grown up version of the yoshi in the Thousand Year Door. As always, he is a bit rambunctious and always ready for a fight. He can let Mario ride on him and take him to far up places.
Boolina is Lady Bow's cousin and she is shy and a bit nicer than Bow. Her special ability is the same as Bow's, out of sight, which can make Mario disappear.
Flare is a mischievous little firefly. She loves to play tricks and have parties. She's a really funny little character. Her ability is to create light in dark places so you can see where you're going. Umi is a teenage cheep-cheep who lives on Yoshi Island with her friend Sushi from the previous game. She likes to swim and listen to music. Her special ability is to go underwater and find secret items.
Lakileroy is Laklustre's twin brother. Laklustre is a bit embarrassed by him because they have totally different personalities but they look entirely the same. The only thing they have in common is that they can go over mountains and clouds to get to higher places. He's a lot like Yoshi in that respect because they have similar abilities.
This is a picture of [my brother's] favourite Skylander character. His name is Wrecking Ball. I think he likes him because he's small and round and destructive. I drew this for him because I knew he liked it and that's basically it.
This video consists of my son and daughter commenting on the opening sequence of the latest Kirby game, Kirby's Return to Dreamland.
Today I brought home my school's Wiimotes so that all four of us could play together. I can tell why my son adores this game - Kirby is grossly overpowered so defeating enemies can be a bit of a cakewalk for an experienced game player like my boy. As the helpers (Waddle-do = his sister / King DeeDeeDee = his father / MetaKnight = his mother), our job was simply to follow Kirby around and help him out when we could. Non-Kirby characters can't grab the extra special powers (like the huge swords that destroy almost everything on-screen when used). My boy feels like a god when he's roaming Dreamland. I guess that's not a bad thing sometimes.
War is a terrible thing, there is no question. It can be argued that the ancient Greeks had two deities associated with warfare. Ares was a brute, the wild and cruel side of battle, and he was usually portrayed pretty negatively. Athena was the personnification of strategy in armed conflicts and had much better "PR". It's a little ironic that I'm choosing to talk about my son's battle plans on Remembrance Day but I'm trying to focus on the Athena side of the equation.
The girl and the boy have been involved in a project associated with Ryerson University about creating a game on online privacy. At the end of one of the sessions, the boy had some homework: "beta test" the game he had invented in class. His description, scribed by one of the adult leaders of the workshop, is below in blue.
AIR RAIDERS RULES 1) Each person must have a hula hoop. 2) On each team's turn - they walk around for 5 seconds - after 5 seconds are up, you put the hula hoops down and stop. 3) Each team is trying to outnumber the other team. 4) The team with the smaller amount of planes (within 3 steps) dies. 5) If it's the same amount on each team someone has to decide on a number. Both teams have to guess - the closest wins and the other team dies. 6) Teams can group up to make a large battle plane that shoots missiles. Everything within 2 steps dies.
The boy was a bit reluctant to polish his game plan but we did some game-testing. It reminded me of another rule-honing moment to perfect a fighting game.
When my son and husband bought Nerf swords, my boy really enjoyed fighting with us. However, I found his "rules" for combat were inconsistent and heavily slanted so that he would win. That was fine the first couple of times we played, but I soon tired of having my shots declared null and void because he was using the healing powerup but his blows always counted. Finally I told him that if he wanted to play this game with me, we had to come up with some fair rules. These were the rules of our "Nerf Sword Battle Game", in my words.
1) Each player has a sword and starts on the opposite side of the room. 2) To begin the battle, each person must utter some heroic or action-movie cliche line (such as "Taste my steel" or "Bring it on"). 3) If your enemy hits you in a limb, you are no longer allowed to use the limb (e.g. hit in your sword-bearing arm means you must fight with your opposite arm - hit in your leg means you must hop and can't walk) 4) If you are hit in your torso, you die and fall to the floor dramatically. 5) The winner is allowed to cleave you in twain, behead you, and/or taunt you over your fallen form.
This took several "play-throughs" for us to agree to the rules. However, once we ironed it out, the battle was a lot of fun. It reminded me of the "green army guys and golf ball bomb" game that my siblings and I played when we were kids - what constituted "dead" was mutually agreed on, there was set-up, and it was clear how to play.
Since the boy's game involved lots of people, it was hard to play-test. However, here are the changes we made (in red).
AIR RAIDERS RULES 1) Each person must have a hula hoop. 2) On each team's turn - they walk around for 5 seconds trying to get close to the enemies- after 5 seconds are up, you put the hula hoops down and stop. 3) Each team is trying to outnumber the other team and the team decides to attack 4) The team with the smaller amount of planes (within 3 steps) dies. 5) If it's the same amount on each team someone has to decide on a number or a letter because numbers will be too easy. Both teams have to guess - the closest wins and the other team dies. 6) Teams can group up to make a large battle plane that shoots missiles. Everything within 2 steps dies. 7) There has to be a captain. The captain decides to attack or flee. 8) There has to be a sky master that decides the letter in a tie.
Yes, the Illiad - the epic Roman poem by Suotonius about the founding of the great city-state. I read it in university but my son discovered it thanks to a video game he found on Mini-Clips called the Snailiad. My boy's daddy explained a bit of the back story to him but I think he was more impressed that the snail could travel upside-down. Here's a tribute drawing he made.
Kids may not read game instruction manuals but they were certainly interested in creating material that could potentially appear in them! Here's a page listing all the power-ups you can get in the game Super Mario Galaxy.
My daughter was reading a gaming magazine that their friend Q brought to our house one day. She showed me an artist's reinterpretation of some of the Mario characters with a less-cartoony, more-horrifying style. Suddenly those piranha plants are even more menacing! Funny thing is, my girl already did something similar with a series of her own illustrations. What would some of the Paper Mario characters look like if they were humanoid? Here's her interpretations, in her favored drawing style.
Sometimes my daughter gets "conscripted" by her brother to draw things for him. Other times, she draws them because she wants to give her brother a present or she is merely inspired herself to create. When she was younger, she drew in a variety of styles. As she has aged, she prefers to draw in a manga manner.
This drawing is a picture of all the helpers that exist in Paper Mario, drawn in a classic Japanese manga style. It's a gift for her little brother. Hope he appreciated all the details!
My children saw something in our local Toys R Us store that has the potential to be this Christmas' hottest commodity - Skylanders. It's a video game but it also appeals to collectors because you can purchase figurines that can add new characters to the game but are sturdy enough to be played with. The family did some research on the new product and are quite enthralled - enough that they wrote this dialogue between characters.
Have you ever watched the old cartoon "Kirby: Right Back At'cha"? My kids were too young when it first came out but thanks to their father's Internet explorations, they've watched most of the episodes online. They enjoyed it quite a bit, especially King Deedeedee and his malapropisms. Naturally, this inspired my son to imagine a new Kirby TV show. His is called "Kirby: clues for the warp star" and he pictures many cross-overs with other Nintendo properties. Look for tomorrow's post to see a list of episodes.
We realize that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is just a souped-up version of Super Mario Galaxy. We know that Kirby's Return to Dreamland is is very similar to Kirby's Dreamland. Despite the lack of originality, we still buy the new version of these games - or at least my family does. My son imagined a new twist to a possible remake - Super Kirby Galaxy. This is a drawing of his vision of the game.