Home » Archives for Stephen Duetzmann
Author

Stephen Duetzmann

Stephen

I’m an elder millennial (1980) so I was around for some of the first online games. Our family computer wasn’t very powerful, so I was limited to text based games. The first online game I played for any length of time was Dragonrealms. Its a text-based MUD (that is still up and running) operated by a company called Simutronics. Since it was all text it was very focused on the roleplay and I loved every minute of it. 

Mike

Dragonrealms. A text based multiplayer RPG, I learned how to type *reaally* fast because of that game and it was my first exposure to reading and writing computer code through computer scripts. Never really got beyond entry level content, but it was my first roleplay experience outside my immediate friends and family.

John

Word Of Warcraft,  I apparently don’t know how to ease into anything as a rule.  This applies to running obstacle course races, taking up new hobbies or jumping into one of the largest MMORPGs ever.

Jonathan

DOOM because when it came out my friends and I mowed the lawn for this guy that had his house wired for gaming and we had voice chat and everything.


Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

The PlayStation 5 is still incredibly difficult to find as a result of shortages. This shortage is likely to continue well past the holiday season. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any available though. Start looking early if that is on your family’s wish list. 

The good news is that the PlayStation 4 should be readily available and still has life left in it for families who don’t have a console yet. Noteworthy titles you’ll want to find on deep discounts for the PS4 are Marvel’s Spider-Man, Horizon: Zero Dawn Complete Edition, and the Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Collection. 

Below is a list of games that are great gift ideas for PS5 owners. 

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

Buy here!

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is on my shortlist for the game of the year 2021. It is just that good. This is a new game in the franchise that has been built from the ground up to take advantage of the PS5 technology. The levels are designed in such a way that you use rifts to travel through completely different spaces within levels with no load times. It is wild to experience all the different ways that Insomniac takes advantage of the tech. 

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Buy here!

Kena punches way above its weight class. It is a budget title that has gorgeous graphics. It looks and plays like it was made by one of Sony’s high-profile studios. But, it is actually the first game from a company known for fan animations. This is another game in contention for game of the year and it will likely be on our PS5 essentials list for a very long time. 

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Lots of games have tried to clone Super Smash Brothers to find success. But, we haven’t seen anything like All-Star Brawl before. Game Mill Entertainment has combined the deep roster of Nickelodeon licenses like Spongebob, Avatar, and Ninja Turtles with retro gameplay that is reminiscent of Super Smash Bros. Melee. 

This is also as close to the original as one can get without owning a Nintendo Switch and actually buying Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 

Everyone of a certain age will have memories of playing Tony Hawk on their PS1 in their dorm room. (Ok. Might just be me.) This is a well-done remaster of the first two games of the series. It is gorgeously remade and includes some quality of life improvements that will help us share the game with our kids as we remember it (as opposed to how it actually was). 

PlayStation Plus/PS Now

Buy here!

Look. The reality of our situation this year is that it might be tough to find games in boxes to wrap up and put under the tree. Gift cards for PlayStation Plus and PS Now should be readily available though. These are “practical” gifts (or at least as practical as anything game-related could be). But, they will be appreciated nonetheless. 

Essential PS5 Games

If you are looking for more recommendations than what we list here, then check out our PS5 essentials list.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Nintendo has done it again. They have released multiple iterations of the Nintendo Switch console and had them on store shelves at the same time. This can be super confusing for parents who just want to buy a Nintendo for their kids. 

We’ve got just the solution! Below is a handy guide to the three different versions of the Nintendo Switch console and our thoughts on each one!

The Original Nintendo Switch

MRSP: $299.99
Weight: .66 lbs or .88 /w Joy Cons
Screen: 6.2 in LCD Screen @ 1280 x 720 pixels
Resolution: 1080 p resolution to TV // Up to 720 p in handheld mode

Battery Life: 4.5 – 9 Hours /w up to 3 hours max charge time

The original model of the Nintendo Switch is still available and is a great system. It is a handheld tablet that can be docked to allow gameplay on the television. Generally speaking the OLED edition (listed below) is the better option for new adoptees. But, this is worth grabbing if it is available!

Nintendo Switch Lite

MRSP: $199.99
Weight: .61 lbs (integrated joy cons)
Screen: 5.5 in LCD Screen @ 1280 x 720 pixels
Resolution: (Implied up to 720 p in handheld mode but not listed on the site)

Battery Life: 3 – 7 Hours /w up to 3 hours max charge time

The Switch Lite is a handheld version of the console that can’t be plugged into the TV. It is lighter, less expensive, and perfect for younger kids who are looking for a replacement for a 3DS. It plays all the same games with less of an investment. 

Nintendo Switch OLED Edition

MRSP: $349.99
Weight: .71 lbs or .93 /w Joy Cons
Screen: 7 in OLED Screen @ 1280 x 720 pixels
Resolution: 1080 p resolution to TV // Up to 720 p in handheld mode
Battery Life: 4.5 – 9 Hours /w up to 3 hours max charge time

The most recent edition to the Switch line is the OLED model that came out this fall. It functions similarly to the original model in that it can be used both handheld and docked to play on the TV. This newer model includes an OLED screen that is brighter and clearer so playing games in handheld mode looks better. 

This is definitely the model to look for if you haven’t owned a Switch before, but it isn’t worth buying as an upgrade if you already own one.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

2 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Nintendo specializes in family-friendly games and 2021 is no exception. They released a LOT of great games this year AND a new edition of the Nintendo Switch. Below is a list of some of the best!

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond + Shining Pearl

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl launched for the Nintendo DS back in 2006. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl bring the originals into the modern era including new features and quality of life improvements while maintaining the same story, Pokemon, and overworld map as the original. These games feature a familiar chibi art style while exploring and switch to battle animations akin to Pokemon Sword and Shield. These are must-haves for the Pokemon fans in your home. 

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

The 2020 release of this exceptional WiiU title is a fantastic addition to your Switch library. This title includes the original Super Mario 3D World and adds in a whole new adventure with the Bowser’s Fury add-on. The addition of Bowser’s Fury, an open-world type Mario Game, is something that people of all ages can enjoy. If you have a little one, you can even have them play along with Mario as Bowser Jr.  If you know someone that loves Mario games, this would be a great addition to any library.

Mario Party Super Stars

Mario Party Super Stars is the 12th home console installment in the Mario Party that has entertained fans for more than two decades. This version contains 100 mini-games that pull from the previous versions of the game and also includes 5 boards from the N64 versions of Mario Party.  If you know someone who enjoys party games this is going to be the one on their list.

Bravely Default II

This turn-based JRPG is the third installment in the Bravely series from Square Enix.  Unlike the previous two installments, this is a completely new storyline with new characters and a new world.  It features several new classes, including a “cat-o-mancer”, and also has a feature that encourages you to take a break from the game in order for your minions to bring back rewards while you get up and move around.  This would be a great addition to someone’s JRPG library.

Miitopia

Miitopia is an RPG where you build a team using Miis (Remember those things we used to make on the Wii and 3DS?). The story is simple and the mechanics are accessible. This is a great introduction to the genre for younger gamers and an opportunity to tell some really funny stories. (Bonus points if you ad Shaq to your team!)

New Pokemon Snap

Released in April 2021 New Pokemon Snap is an on-rails photography game that is the sequel to the 1999 N64 game.  Travel the Lental region and take photos of your favorite Pokemon and add them to your Photodex.  Any Pokemon fans will enjoy this installment and it is a must-have in any collection. 

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass

Buy here!

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass is getting a little more expensive this year. So the Nintendo fan in your life will appreciate getting this service as a gift. Don’t fret though. This isn’t just a subscription to play games online. It will give them access to some of the best games Nintendo has ever made!

EFG Essentials

If you are looking for more recommendations than what we list here, then check out our Switch essentials list. 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Stephen

The very first thing I do when I get stuck in a game is search for a walk through on YouTube. The information is plentiful and can often help me find the answer to even the stupidest questions. (I get stuck on weird stuff on account of being hilariously bad at video games.

Mike

The pause button is your friend, both literal and figurative. You put the controller or keyboard down and you walk away. Nine times out of ten, the reason you are stuck is because of something that is completely beyond your control or something that is readily fixed. Drink some water. Have a snack. Look it up on your phone. Try again. And if it is already night time, consider sleeping on it and trying again the next day.

John

As a father with busy kids and a full time job I frankly don’t have a lot of time to be stuck in games, specifically video games.  If I am stuck for more than 30 minutes in one spot  I am not averse to lowering difficulty ratings if that is the problem or using the magic that is the internet to look up the solution to a puzzle.  I play games to relax and have fun, not pull my hair out.

Linda

With board games there are so many more options these days.  When I am stuck and do not understand a rule or step, my first move is to go back to the rules, and reread.  When we are able to play with our game group, there are two people who are excellent at deciphering rules. Sometimes if it is a small thing as a game group we make a call about how to proceed and just keep playing.  

Another tool that we use with more complicated games, are Youtube videos.  There is a huge library of videos teaching how to play a huge range of games.

Jonathan

If it’s because of needing to level up i’ll go back and grind. If I can’t find a key I turn to youtube a lot now as I have grown too old and tired…#facts

Mike Melkonian

There was a time when consulting a game guide felt shameful to me, but now I go straight to a walkthrough if I have trouble with a game! Time is limited when you have a family and full time job, so I’m content to merely imagine what being frustrated at a puzzle or boss fight would feel like. Of course, I’m going to tell the kid to figure it out on his own! No reason they should have it any easier than we did back in the day.


Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Stephen

See my review for Turbo: Super Stunt Squad.

Mike

There is an adage that there are no bad games, only bad experiences. A lot of fun times can be had with some definitively bad games. When I owned my very own PS2, I went to the electronics cabinet of the local game store bristling with birthday money. I had narrowed down to two choices: Devil May Cry…. and Eve of Extinction (E.O.E.)

You do not remember EoE? That is fine. Neither do I. I just know that I spent full retail on a forgettable action/brawler with frustrating quick time events, instead of quite possibly one of my favorite PS2 games of that year.

John

Starfox 2, go figure that it never got published in real life.  The Switch made me glad that I never plunked down real money for this game as an individual.  It is confusing, awkward and has no business being in any game lineup.

Jonathan 

I have zero love for 99% of the Atari games. They are so rudimentary now that other than missile command or pong I can care less.


Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Nintendo announced the voice cast for the upcoming Super Mario Bros. animated film during the September Nintendo Direct. It will release in theatres on December 21st, 2022 in partnership with Illumination (The company behind the Secret Life of Pets and the Minions).

The Announcement Video

Miyamoto was on hand to announce the voice cast. Video Source: IGN YouTube

The Cast

The full cast list that has been announced so far is below including links to their respective IMDB pages is below.

Anya Taylor-Joy

Anya will be immediately recognizable as the lead from the Netflix show Queen’s Gambit. I’ll admit. I didn’t give this casting choice a second thought until I watched clips from her role as Gina Gray in Peaky Blinders. I felt like she talked more with her facial expressions and her hands in Queen’s Gambit (which you obviously can’t do while voice-acting). I’m not worried at all after watching her play Gina. It’s going to be fun to watch her play off of Bowser (or at least I assume it will be Bowser. We have no idea what the plot details are).

Princess Peach (voice)
Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt needs no introduction, but it is worth remembering that he has done voice work before. He played Emmet in both LEGO movies.
Mario (voice)
Jack Black

Jack Black’s voice is immediately recognizable and will do a wonderful job bringing Bowser to life. Remember that Bowser is often played off as a somewhat childish and incompetent villain while also being a giant dragon… turtle…. thing. This is perfect casting.
Bowser (voice)
Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen doesn’t often play rules that are suitable for kids. But, He can play the lead role well. If Nintendo is hoping to spin off Donkey Kong movies (which they would be foolish not to), then Seth is a good call.
Donkey Kong (voice)
Keegan-Michael Key

Obama’s Anger Translator is playing Toad.

That’s all I need to say about this.

Toad (voice)
Charlie Day

I didn’t know that I wanted to see Chris Pratt and Charlie Day play off of one another. But I do. I really really do.
Luigi (voice)
Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen is one of my favorite character actor’s from SNL. He does a great job being a guy who is a little out of touch with things… and I can’t wait to see what they do with Cranky Kong.
Cranky Kong (voice)
Kevin Michael Richardson

Kamek is the wizard Koopa that is often seen as a parental figure for Bowser. I never imagined one to have such a deep voice. But, I would listen to Kevin Michael Richardson read the phone book. So this sounds great to me.
Kamek (voice)
Sebastian Maniscalco

I guess they decided to make Spike Italian. Sure! Sounds great to me!
Spike (voice)
Charles Martinet

Charles Martinet has been the voice of Mario for years. So he is being rightfully included in the voice cast as a cameo. I imagine that it will be somewhat like the cameos that Stan Lee did in Marvel movies before his, unfortunate, passing.
(voice)

The Internet Sure Did Have “Feelings” About Chris Pratt

The internet erupted with opinions the second the announcements were made. The biggest rift however was between commenters who had opinions about Chris Pratt and his casting as Super Mario.

The crowd speaking out against him is divided into two camps.

The first group is speaking out against him because of his social views. He is a member of a church that has taken some VERY strong Anti-LGBTQ stances. He hasn’t spoken out in support of these beliefs, but he hasn’t exactly spoken out against them either. I, personally, don’t know what’s going on inside his head. And I have a difficult time judging him for things he hasn’t said, but I can’t blame people who feel that way. Either way, it definitely explains some of the outcries.

The second major group is one that is angry that Nintendo didn’t choose Charles Martinet to be the voice of Mario in the movie since he has been the voice of the character for decades in the video games. I can’t agree with this at all. I love Charles’s work. He has provided the voice for Mario for my entire life. HOWEVER, Mario doesn’t talk in his games. He emotes. He expresses joy, frustration, fear, and excitement. I cannot IMAGINE listening to him actually speak in the Mario accent for 2 hours or more. I think it might actually hurt.

Why Cast Celebrities At All?

I’ve seen this argument pop up online as well and I just find it odd that Super Mario Bros is where we draw the line? This has been done for decades. Major Hollywood studios are far too risk-averse to cast voice actors who are, essentially, no names with the larger public.

Go and test it. Ask on Facebook if any of your friends know who Charles Martinet is. Then do the same with Chris Pratt. The studio’s decision will be pretty clear at this point.

What do you think? Sounds off in the comments.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Streaming, whether it be video games, cooking, or just live conversations, has never been more popular. More and more of our kids are hopping into live stream channels every day and it is important that we help them understand how to behave there. 

The most important thing to remember is that while live-streaming does give more of a personal connection between a streamer and their audience that doesn’t mean that the streamer is their audience’s “friend.” They are not really much different from a radio DJ or a TV weatherperson. The only difference is that they have an easier time responding to people. 

That ease of response makes people feel comfortable in their channels and can lead to some embarrassing results. Below are some guidelines for how to interact with streamers that you can keep in mind while you talk to your kids about the streamers they watch.

Great Guidelines to Share With Your Kids

  1. Don’t call a streamer by their first name unless they tell you that you can. This implies a level of familiarity that your child doesn’t have. You should encourage your child to use the streamers screen name or handle instead. 
  1. Subscriptions buy entertainment. They do not buy access. Many people on the internet believe that subscribing to a channel on Twitch or to a user on Patreon should grant them more access to the content creator. Sometimes they even think that it makes them “friends.” This just isn’t the case. A Twitch subscription grants you access to more content from the creator, but it doesn’t mean that they should give you more access to their personal life. 
  1. The very first thing your child should do when they start to watch a new stream is read the rules. This will let them know what kind of channel they are in, what the expectations are of them, and what the environment will be like. This will be a great way for your child to know if the chat will be safe for them. You should tell your child to be wary of streamers with no rules. These streamers can have pretty toxic communities. 
  1. Every channel has different rules for how to behave there. If your child spends time in those channels they will learn those rules. They should not, however, try to enforce those rules unless they have been chosen to be a moderator by the streamer. This can add to confusion in the chat and make it harder for the moderation team to do their work and interrupt the stream for everyone else. 
  1. Teach them to interact more with the chat than they do with the streamer. The streamer is performing for a group of people and shouldn’t be expected to talk to everyone. Instead, the community is supposed to form around the streamer and talk amongst themselves. 

The below video is a panel hosted early on during the pandemic. It features a diverse group of streamers with years of experience. They talk a lot about how users should behave while watching streams and talk a lot about the experiences they have had. It is an enlightening video for anyone who watches streams regularly.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Introduce us to your favorite character that you made for a game?

Stephen

I spent a few years playing Dragonrealms, a text based MUD run by Simutronics. I played a dwarven paladin named Deutz Anadeuz (I don’t really know where the name came from.) Over time he turned into a bit of a nerd. He tried to learn skills that didn’t make a lot of sense for him to learn from a power perspective just for the sake of knowing them. Eventually he even began to worship the god of libraries, Lemicus. It was a lot of get into his head and figure out how to would respond to the different things that happened in the game. This is especially true because of how different he was than the rest of the paladins in the game.

Mike

Sometimes, the short lived games create the most memorable characters. I played a D&D single day adventure where everyone swapped roles from the usual game we were playing at the time. Instead of the Swordmage Private Investigator…. I was a halfling professional wrestler dressed in crocodile hides. It was Ebberon, it makes sense for the setting.

John

My LARP elven adept Shenk, because sometimes you need to not think about the details and just kill necromancers.

Linda

My favorite character hands down is my elven healer from LARP Tianna. She is/ was a character that I played for about a decade. Should I have the opportunity to play again, she may yet be played again.

Tianna is a wild elf who has faced a dark force that threatened to destroy the world.  She was given a feather artifact that allowed her unique powers, and eternal life, and entrusted to be its bearer. Tianna is the foster mother to a dragon, and with the power of the feather was able to keep him safe until his hatching.

Jonathan

Well My LARP character is known as Jaques Battleforge and has been nicknamed Happy Dwarf. Weird cause how can you see a smile under a beard….


Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Video games have never been bigger. The industry is growing in leaps and bounds and is showing no signs of slowing down. Our kids play them, talk about them with their friends, and even watch people play them on YouTube and Twitch.

This is a great opportunity for us to connect with our kids, and we definitely think you should take it. Below is a list of three reasons why you should!

You Can Learn About the Games They Play


Showing an interest in the games our children play allows us to build new connections and experiences through play. Kids love to share their favorite things with people and they will definitely want to share their games with you. This is a great way to connect with them and build lasting memories.

Games are a great form of personal expression, and you can learn a lot about someone by the kinds of games they play and the way that they play them. Learning about the games your kid likes to play opens a window through which you can view their interests and examine their inner workings better than conversation ever can.

You Can Keep a Better Eye on the Content

Sometimes it is tough to know what kinds of content are included in a video game without playing it for yourself. Showing an interest in what your child is playing will give you greater access to the games they play.

Knowing what is in the games they play will also help you understand what to look for in other games and will help you give constructive feedback on the games they want to play. This way you can suggest alternatives to what your child wants to play than outright banning them. Being able to suggest Fortnite over Call of Duty: Warzone and have a real explanation for why because of your personal experience is a great way to overcome objections to your decisions relating to acceptable content.

You Might Even Like Them!


There is nothing more amazing than finding a new joy or interest by accident. Games have changed so much that they are hardly recognizable now from even a handful of years ago. There are even new genres that would not even be thought off when we were growing up that are now commonplace for younger gamers.

You only get the chance to find these surprises if you play video games with your kids! So get in there!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail
Newer Posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More