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Marie Rosa

Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games:  Adventure Game

In this genre the player is the protagonist of an interactive story driven by exploration, narrative, puzzle solving, or a combination of the three. These games are story based and can vary widely by content. Play is single-player. The majority of adventure games do not have action elements.

The adventure game has evolved from text-based command and prompt games into full graphic immersive stories and exploration. One of the first text-based adventure games was Zork I. The game describes player locations and actions, while the player types responses to these text prompts creating interactive fiction. You can find the Zork Anthology on Steam here.

Text-only prompts have evolved into graphic explorations such as Myst and Monkey Island where puzzles were entwined in the experience. As players move through the game, they are trying to solve a big problem or series of problems. To reach this goal, you need to complete many subtasks, in a chain of activities to work closer and closer to your goal. For example, you need a key to open a door, but to get the key you need to go solve a farmer’s problem (and in order to solve his problem you need to find some other object.)

Other subgenres of adventure games can include choosing your own adventure games and visual novel games. Many visual novels are intended for older teens or adults.

Examples of This Genre Include:

  • Dreamfall
  • Portal
  • Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove
  • The Last Express
  • Monkey Island series
  • Telltale games

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Virtual reality isn’t an emerging, fringe technology that is limited to tech nerds. These are mainstream pieces of technology that can be readily purchased at Target and Amazon. They’re cool pieces of technology that play games so it was only a matter of time before parents started asking us about virtual reality and whether or not it is safe for their kids.

We did our homework! Here are our findings!

What is Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is an immersive environment accessible through an avatar (computer representation of the player) through a set of glasses. Players can interact with a 3D space, as their avatar mimics their actions. VR can take the player to any environment imaginable and allow you to interact within that space through button pushes, movement monitoring, screen swipes, and so on. VR has the potential for education, social interaction, and gameplay combined.

Most VR glasses/headsets are recommended for children 12 years of age or older. The biggest concerns for parents in the short term will be VR sickness and eye strain.

VR Sickness

VR sickness is similar to car or motion sickness. It is caused when there is a difference between what is in your field of view and what your vestibular system detects. (The Vestibular System is the system in your inner ear that helps detect motion and to help with balance.) If your child is susceptible to either car or motion sickness then there may be a risk of VR sickness in the future. As technology progresses, there will likely be more ways to combat this, but there is no real “cure.” Most home remedies lack any real scientific backing.

VR Induced Eye Strain

Eye strain is a problem with any long-term screen usage. You can combat that with 15-minute breaks for every hour of screen time. Younger gamers may not be able to convey this to parents and require more parental supervision than others. Encourage frequent breaks, talk to your child about how they feel when and during play, and adjust their equipment for them where possible.

If your child wears glasses, then you should make sure that they fit comfortably inside the VR headset to limit discomfort.

Headaches and eyestrain could be increased for those with eye conditions. Frequent breaks can help

VR With Younger Children

VR is designed to create an immersive experience for the player. The younger the gamer, the more intense this immersion can feel. While this means younger children will often have a stronger emotional experience with VR tech. They might be scared or uncomfortable after experiencing something frightening or disorienting.

This means it will be very important for parents to talk to their kids. . Let your child tell you about their experiences and help them better understand the difference between the real world and VR.

Does this mean that children under 13 should be cut off from VR? Not necessarily. Every person is different. Monitor equipment for fit. Shorter time on the system. Talk with your children about how they feel during and after gameplay. However, because of the age limit on most headsets, content may need a closer review.

Many parents are concerned about the long-term effects of VR on developing brains and on vision. But, there is very little consensus from medical experts and manufacturers around this. This is why 12 seems to be the most common age limit among VR manufacturers six years into VR’s mass market availability. There have been a few studies done on mice and they did not demonstrate long-term effects on young mice. However, most professional advice regarding VR and kids leans towards being conservative and not using your child as a guinea pig. Every child is different so parents should use their own judgement.

VR Games and Content

Our advice regarding content for VR is the same as every other console. Parents should do their research on the VR games their kids want to play. Remember if it’s not something you would let them play in any other game setting, those rules will still apply to VR.

We do, however, recommend that new players (young and old) start with less stimulating experiences to ease their introduction to virtual reality and help them adjust to the new game style. 

Some VR games do have in-game purchases. Parents should check the parental control functions, and set limits with your child to avoid potential problems.

(Note: Check out our list of Essential VR Games for the Meta Quest.)

Safe Space

Virtual reality requires a lot of space (most of the time). Imagine your child moving around your house with a blindfold. That is going to be their real-world experience while they are in VR. Clear a space for them to play to make sure your child won’t knock into a wall, fall over a coffee table, or break your favorite vase. No setup is perfect though, so you will want to supervise them during gameplay until they are accustomed to their devices and the games they play.

Final Thoughts

VR isn’t all that different from other forms of technology that are out there. Each family needs to evaluate what works best for them. Parents can look to current research, but ultimately they need to know their children and their own comfort levels in order to make the best decisions regarding virtual reality or any other new tech.


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!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!


The video game definition this week is a term that is applicable to many well-known MMO games: Instance

Instances are a separate part of a multiplayer game for a player or small party. It is meant to create a private/small group experience. Instances often include quests or storylines, although the most common are dungeon instances. These are done with a small party (3-5 players) or a raid (as many as 40 players or more).

Thousands of instances can be ongoing simultaneously within a game, but they are unique to the party. Lord of the Rings Online instances, for example, have instances that become available at level 20, and these are primarily dungeons.

Examples of an instance is going to range widely depending on the content. Storyline progression can be instance related. Dungeon instances will likely pertain to the success or failure of the mission and the loot hoped for or received at the end. Instances are a separate part of a multiplayer game for a player or small party, and often include quests or storylines. Although the most common are dungeon instances. These are done with a small party (3-5 players) or a raid (as many as 40 players or more).

History

Term originated in World Of Warcraft, but other games not incorporate them as well. Initially the first instance of Instance combat in dungeons. It has evolved into multiple formats where you can repeat or have a single instance. In some games the first time you come to a certain encounter there is an instance which are meant to be experienced privately to convey the story.

Examples

  • World of Warcraft
  • Lord of the Rings Online

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games: Raid

Pokémon Go

A Raid is a high-level challenge requiring cooperative play amongst several players, usually 10 or more. Often end-game content involves a combination of mechanics, puzzles, and/or a super boss or multiple bosses. Rewards for raids are typically higher than smaller instances such as dungeons. Some raids may also include PVP (player vs player) content.

Raids such as in Final Fantasy or World of Warcraft can be played with a premade group of players or a PUG (pick-up group). Each game has a method for group search.  Raids in MMORPG (many multiplayer online role-playing games) may require multiple tanks (character who draws the damage and can take the damage to protect other characters), healers and dps (damage dealers) in order to complete the challenge.

A quest line may be attached to raids as well, which may involve a specific action to be completed inside the raid not necessary to defeat the raid itself. World of Warcraft for example has an item drop when you defeat one of several bosses.

Examples of Games with Raids

  • World of Warcraft
  • Final Fantasy
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (requiring 12 players)
  • Pokémon GO.

Raids are the pinnacle of cooperative play. They offer a high-level challenge that to be tackled by 10 or more players. They often include end-game content with a combination of mechanics, puzzles, and/or super bosses or multiple bosses. The rewards for completing a raid are typically higher than smaller instances such as dungeons, making them an attractive option for many players.

Let us know in the comments what your experience was like!


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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many well-known games: Dungeon

Quest Kids has you flip cards to reveal the spaces in the dungeon

A Dungeon is a set location compromising of combat and/or puzzle elements, often with higher rewards or loot than normal gameplay. Dungeons can be a spot for characters to repeatedly have monsters spawn (enter the game), so they can gain XP (Experience Points), or it can be a single continuous narrative and combat experience. Often combat and narrative escalate in complexity and difficulty as you progress through. In some cases they culminate with a boss fight.

Dungeon Academy create the
dungeons with dice

Dungeons can be found across many types of games from card games, board games, table top role play games, LARPs, and video games of all types. Dungeons are also a common part of most MMORPG (many multiplayer online role-playing games). In Minecraft Dungeons they take the dungeon crawler gameplay and adds a boxy twist with their graphics style.

In board and card games there are many formats a dungeon can take. Often you are revealing sections of the Dungeon as you progress. There you may find loot, a monster or loot after encountering the monster.

Dungeons have been a staple in games for years, and with good reason. They offer an immersive experience that often follows a consistent format.

Examples of Board Games/Table top Role Play

  • Munchkin
  • Dungeon Drop
  • Dungeon Academy
  • Dungeons and Dragons
  • Quest Kids

Examples of Video Games

  • Minecraft Dungeon
  • World Of Warcraft
  • Diablo
  • Terraria
  • Legend of Zelda

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!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!


NPCs

The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many well-known games: LARP

LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role-Playing. It Incorporates physical action, improv, cosplay, and roleplay into a single event. Players inhabit a fantasy world at a set location in real-time, and can be based in a wide variety of genres.

LARPing involves social interaction with players and NPCs (non-playing characters). LARP events will require specific costumes and props to further the set environment. More experienced players will likely be better outfitted for LARPing events having collected gear over a longer period of time. New players can purchase supplies at various stores and online sites. LARP organizations such as Alliance have forums to guide new players. Preparation: character creation, backstory, props, costuming, etc. assist players with fuller immersion into the event.

A PC attacking an NPC

References can be similar to tabletop role-playing questions, general gameplay, character class and race choices. Parents may need to assist with forum surfing, costuming. As with sports or a new instrument, it is advisable to invest minimally at first to ensure your player is interested enough for larger financial investments.

LARP Found in Shows and Movies

There have been TV shows and Movies, not all that are family friendly, that have depicted LARPs. Our experience is that some aspects that are portrayed are quite accurate and some are not, as one would expect in a fictional story.

Examples

  • Supernatural
  • Hawkeye
  • Role Models

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!

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