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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: Cozy/Wholesome Games

A wholesome game is a little difficult to pin down because there are so many different kinds of wholesome games. The one underpinning piece of what makes up a wholesome (or cozy) game is that it is non-violent. Some wholesome games are bright and vibrant. Others are a bit more muted. Some cozy games are social simulation games like Animal Crossing or Cozy Grove or chill, low-key match-three games like Spirit Swap or even spatial awareness games like Unpacking

A picture of a player standing in front of their house in Animal Crossing New Horizons.

Wholesome games are more about how they feel rather than what genre they are. If a game allows for a player to comfortably exist in that digital world without violence or high-stakes competition, it’s wholesome (in some way). The biggest strength of what defines wholesome/cozy games is in how subjective it is. Its breadth and depth allows for developers and players alike to define what wholesome means to them.

Cozy (wholesome) games are considered a trend, but an entire digital conference presentation has popped up around these games called Wholesome Games’ Wholesome Direct. The Wholesome Direct is a presentation that usually happens during June (around E3, whatever form that happens to be) and features a wide array of games that are considered “wholesome” in their “vibe”. The Wholesome Direct was also shrunk down to a “snack-sized” presentation in the lead-up to the Game Awards in 2022.


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

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Minecraft is one of the biggest games in the world and will likely go down as one of the most influential games in history. One thing that is not often discussed when people talk about the Minecraft phenomenon is that there are two different versions of the game – Java and Bedrock. These two versions each have different features that can greatly alter you and your kids’ experience with the game. At the end of the day, they are the same game (Minecraft is Minecraft after all),  but there are a few key differences between the two versions that range from how multiplayer works to the availability of user-generated content like adventure maps

Multiplayer in Minecraft Bedrock vs Java

One of the most common ways that kids play Minecraft is with their friends. It has become just as much of a social gathering space as school playgrounds. This makes the version you are playing very important. 

It’s important because you can only play with people on the same version. This means that Java players can only play with other Java players and Bedrock players can only play with other Bedrock players. There isn’t any way around this limitation.

A picture of a player looking at a map while playing Minecraft

Hardware Availability for Minecraft Bedrock vs Java

Below is a list of the hardware that can play each version of Minecraft

Minecraft Java Edition

  • PC
  • Mac
  • Linux

Note: You can only buy the Minecraft Java edition from the official Minecraft website. 

Minecraft Bedrock Edition

  • Windows 10 and 11
  • Xbox One*
  • Xbox Series S and X*
  • PlayStation 4 and 5
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Amazon Fire OS/TV
  • Android
  • iOS 
  • Windows Mobile
  • Samsung Gear VR.

Note: Minecraft Bedrock edition is available on Xbox Game Pass.

Servers in Minecraft Bedrock vs Java

Another difference between the two versions is how one plays on multiplayer servers, online playspaces with special minigames and other things to play with others. Connecting to a server is very different between the two platforms. On the Java edition, you have to go into the multiplayer menu and connect to a server , by entering the server address, which will look like a link to a website. ON Bedrock, however, there is a separate tab when one is entering a world, by moving over to the servers tab, you can connect to a list of servers that are approved by Microsoft, and are moderated to be accessible and fun for all ages. 

User-Generated Content in Minecraft Bedrock vs Java

User-generated content is accessed differently in each version of Minecraft. This includes content like adventure maps, player skins, and texture packs. 

On Java edition most of those are free, and all you have to do is download them from the web, and put them into the game files. (this is hard to figure out unless you have a guide). 

It is easier to gain access to UGC on Bedrock edition. You simply buy them from the in-game marketplace using real-world currency. They are also guaranteed to be appropriate for children, because in order to be published on the marketplace they have to go through an approval process to check for things like inappropriate content, and to make sure they work as advertised. 

Mods in Minecraft Bedrock vs Java

Screenshot of the CurseForge application showing several Mod packs available for Minecraft.

Mods are a big deal for some players. This is especially true if they have spent a lot of time watching Minecraft on YouTube. Mods are pieces of code that can be added to the game files that change the way Minecraft functions. They can add items, change the appearance of the game, or make other significant changes to game mechanics and systems. (Warning: Some mods aren’t even for kids. See our report on the Minecraft Jenny Mod.)

Mods are only available on the Java edition. They require much more effort to get working but can make HUGE changes to the base game including things like adding new items to make the gameplay like Pokemon Legends Arceus. 

Bedrock players on PC have a similar feature called Resource Packs that are downloaded and added into the game through a simple menu. Resource packs are very limited in what they can do though. 


Minor Variations Between Java and Bedrock

The Minecraft Java Edition

Java edition can run shaders, and advanced texture packs, that change the graphics to look like a super high-end video game. Whereas the Bedrock edition cannot. The Bedrock version has to run on too many platforms to be able to support advanced graphics options. 

There is a difference in the way the two games are coded, whereas the Bedrock edition is less resource-intensive and less susceptible to crashing. whereas Java crashes more, and uses more resources, but can do more impressive things, with things like Redstone.

To Put It Simply

The simplest way to explain the differences is that the Java edition is more customizable, at the cost of having a limited number of people to play with.  The Bedrock edition is more controlled, but with the advantage of being able to play people on consoles and mobile devices more easily.


Which Version is Better?

There is no definitive answer to that question. It will just be a matter of opinion, personal experience, and priorities. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, Minecraft is a popular and influential game that comes in two versions – Java and Bedrock. While the two versions are essentially the same game, there are some key differences between them that can greatly impact your experience with the game. These differences include how multiplayer works, the availability of user-generated content, and the ability to use mods. Java players can only play with other Java players and Bedrock players can only play with other Bedrock players. Additionally, the Java edition can run shaders and advanced texture packs, whereas the Bedrock edition cannot. Ultimately, the choice between the two versions will depend on your personal preferences and the devices you have available.

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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Minecraft mods on PC number into the thousands, especially if you’re playing the Minecraft Java Edition. The vast majority of the mods available to download from places like CurseForge – a modification repository that’s used for a number of popular games, including Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and Kerbal Space Program – are, for the most part, fairly innocent.

What are Mods

Mods that are available through Minecraft Bedrock Edition, which is probably the version of Minecraft that your kids are playing on console, mobile, and PC, are vetted by the Mojang team at Microsoft to ensure that they are both high quality and family-friendly.

Not all mods are made equal, mind you, and CurseForge ensures that all of those mods are available to download… for good and ill. One of these not-so-great mods is the Jenny mod that’s available through CurseForge on PC and via APK (Android Application Package) for Android OS devices. In theory, you can also purchase a version of this mod through in-game currency.

The Minecraft Jenny Mod

The Minecraft Jenny mod is a NSFW (not safe for work) unofficial Minecraft mod that introduces an in-game “girlfriend” for Minecraft players that simulates adult interactions. Yes, those kinds of adult interactions. It’s becoming an increasingly popular mod that runs in “Creative” mode. Now, Jenny can be your “bestie,” but that’s not why parents need to be paying closer attention to children downloading this particular mod, of course.

Minecraft Bedrock Edition doesn’t allow unofficial mod installation, so the best way to ensure that kids aren’t going to download and install Jenny is to make sure that Bedrock Edition is the version of Minecraft that they’re using. Java Edition has some excellent mods, including the Redstone mods on CurseForge, but it does require extra intervention. There are no parental controls available on CurseForge, so use discretion.

Jenny might be available for bestie status, but she certainly wasn’t coded just for those purposes. Be cautious.

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

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Minecraft is primarily either available via Bedrock (a safer, more secure version of the game available on all major gaming platforms) or Java (more customizable with more mods and modes available). There is a new (old, really) version of Minecraft that kids are starting to use more and more: Eaglercraft. 

What is Eaglecraft?

Eaglercraft is an instance of Minecraft 1.5.2 that players can access on any modern web browser. It supports both single-player and multiplayer gameplay. By putting Minecraft in a web browser, as opposed to a standalone application like with Java or Bedrock, effectively changes how the game will be moderated in work or school settings. 

We’ve all experienced some kind of content blocking as we’ve worked and studied in different environments. Chromebooks and computer labs are locked down to within an inch of their digital existences so that students focus on the tasks in front of them. Schools have instituted these rules partly to protect themselves from liability (in case someone accesses something deeply inappropriate) and partly to ensure data protection and privacy. 

Why Kids Use Eaglecraft and Issues Which May Arise

Kids are using Eaglercraft to get around the content blocking. On the one hand: good for the kids. We love the ingenuity to find ways to always be playing Minecraft. On the other hand: playing Minecraft, even in a browser, on one’s Chromebook or school computer is almost always going to be a direct violation of the Code of Conduct that gets signed at the beginning of a student’s time at a given school. 

It’s important to keep the school’s IT Code of Conduct in mind when talking to your kid about some of the ethical challenges around using Eaglercraft on a school-assigned system. If a school finds out that a system has been used for non-school purposes in an egregious manner, much as playing a version of Minecraft to subvert content moderation, they will likely remove the system and potentially seek suspension (or expulsion) depending on the severity of the infraction. 

Eaglercraft is ingenuitive, but maybe not the right choice for a school PC.


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With the new PSVR (PlayStation VR) headset on the way to players all over the world, virtual reality is on the forefront of parents’ minds. The world of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) is fascinating and, in all fairness, kind of confusing. Some of these experiences aren’t just relegated to video games, either. Let’s dive into some definitions and recommendations.

Virtual Reality

Definitions

Virtual reality (VR) is an immersive experience that is accessed through a headset that covers a player’s eyes and controllers that act as haptic (to simulate the sense of touch) feedback and interactivity in the experience itself. Headsets provide a field of view (FOV), on average, between 96 and 108 degrees so it doesn’t quite mirror a human’s full FOV, but it gets close. As a result of modern VR hardware, VR allows a player to fully immerse themselves in anything from a video game to chat to movies.

Augmented reality (AR) superimposes a digital world onto the physical world, which allows players to see virtual objects in their physical environment. AR is typically accessed through a smartphone or tablet, which uses a camera to display the real world and overlay virtual objects on top of it. The best example of AR in video games would be Pokemon Go, the world’s most successful AR video game.

Augmented Reality

Mixed reality (MR) is a combination of VR and AR technology, which allows players to interact with virtual objects in a way that is tethered to the physical world. MR requires special headsets (HoloLens, Magic Leap, and nReal are best known) and many of these headsets have not been updated in at least four years. It’s supposed to create experiences that feel seamless between virtual objects and the real world in a way that AR or VR couldn’t manage alone. 

Safety 

One of the most important things to remember about virtual reality headsets is that they are not recommended for children under 13, namely due to their growing eyes and the eye strain that VR requires for everyone that uses the headsets. Though there isn’t peer-reviewed research to explore the sensory effect on children in VR, everything in virtual reality is much more vivid than they are on a flat screen. Violence in VR is particularly jarring, as are startling changes in environment or proximity. 

Mixed Reality

For children over 13, it’s important to enforce rigid time limits to minimize long-term eye strain. We recommend three hours maximum time in VR with breaks every thirty minutes to give eyes a break. 

Additionally, all VR requires enough room (8×10 rectangle of space is recommended) to move safely. The Meta Quest & Quest II require a “guardian” space to alert players when they are about to move into space that is no longer defined as “safe” within the operating system. Controllers should always be strapped and tethered to one’s wrists (like the Nintendo WiiMotes) and hands to make sure that controllers don’t get tossed across the room by accident. 
Check out EFG Essentials list for the Meta Quest. We also recommend the very adorable What the Bat?, a VR spiritual successor to What the Golf? from Triband.


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The Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017 and has gone on to become one of the best-selling consoles of all time. Part of that success is thanks to the quality of its library of games. The rest of that success stems from Nintendo releasing multiple iterations of the console.

This is nothing new. Nintendo has done this with their handheld systems ever since the wild success of the Game Boy Color in 1998. (Other console manufacturers have done it as well. The PlayStation 2 had several different versions over its life cycle.) This is great for Nintendo’s bottom line. But it is super confusing for parents who want to buy a Nintendo for their kids. 

Fear not though because we’ve got the solution! Below is a handy guide to the three different versions of the Nintendo Switch console and our thoughts on each one!

What is the Nintendo Switch?

The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid video game console that can serve as both a handheld device (like the Nintendo 3DS) and as a home console (like the Nintendo WiiU).

The console itself is a tablet that features detachable controllers that Nintendo called “Joy-Cons.” Most versions of the console come with a special dock. You can use the Switch dock to charge the tablet OR use it to display your game on the TV.

This was completely unheard of when Nintendo announced and, while there have been some competitors on the market since then, it has remained a market leader.

Why is the Switch so Popular?

Nintendo handhelds are almost always popular. Families have more than thirty years of experience buying Game Boys and the like. for their kids. The Switch may not be a traditional handheld, but it does fit that bill. I can’t help but think that momentum plays at least a small part in that.

There can be no doubt though that the Nintendo Switch has a fantastic library of great games helping it along as well. The Switch’s launch year included The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (which is one of the best games ever made) and Super Mario Odyssey. They are both on our EFG Essentials list five years later.

The Three Current Switch Models

Nintendo has released a new Switch model every other year since 2017 so we’ll probably need to update this article in 2023. Until then… here are the details on the three existing models.

The Original Nintendo Switch

MRSP: $299.99

Release Date: March 3, 2017 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. 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

Release Date: September 20, 2019 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 interesting because it doesn’t “Switch.” This is a handheld-only version of the console. It eschews the dock and TV gameplay for longer battery life, a lower price, and a smaller form factor.

It is lighter, less expensive, and perfect for younger kids who are looking for a replacement for a 3DS. It plays almost all the same games with less of an investment. 

Nintendo Switch OLED Edition

MRSP: $349.99

Release Date: October 8, 2021 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 was released in 2021.

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. 

I’m not sure what market niche Nintendo was hoping to move into with this model, but this is NOT a “pro” version of the Switch that some fans have been asking for.

That isn’t necessarily a problem. But, it is something to keep in mind while making purchasing decisions.

What Are Joy-Cons Again?

Joy-Cons are what Nintendo calls the proprietary controllers that attach to the side of the Nintendo Switch tablet. They come in a wide variety of colors and you can even mix/match them.

It’s worth noting for parents that they are relatively small and expensive so you’ll want to have a plan for keeping track of them when you buy a Switch.

Our Official Switch Recommendations

The Switch is approaching the end of its life cycle. Industry insiders have been talking about the arrival of a Switch successor for years. We don’t have it yet (we don’t even have an announcement yet), so we can’t recommend waiting for a new system just yet.

All three models have value right now, but the real decision is between the OLED version and the Switch Lite.

If you are buying a new Switch, then the OLED model has better battery life and a slightly larger screen that is MUCH brighter.

Parents buying a Switch for younger gamers should consider the Switch Lite. It is less costly than other models and is smaller and lighter for smaller hands.

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 gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games: Respawn, Spawn Rate and Spawn Timer

Pokémon Center

Respawn refers to the act of reviving or returning to the area or field of play in a video game as a player, or the return of a threat or resource. The word Respawn was originally coined for multiplayer experiences, but now has generalized to all of gaming. (verb)

  • If all your Pokémon get knocked out, you respawn at a Pokémon Center.
  • In Legend of Zelda, if you leave a dungeon and reenter the monsters will Respawn.

Spawn Rate is the time it takes for a threat or resource to renew or return to the field of play. It may have a percentage /rate at which an object drops. Distribution of what might “spawn” treasure/creatures

  • The odds at which a Pokemon will “spawn” while you are in the grass.
Pokémon Spawn in the Grass

Spawn Timer counts drown is the time for the player to return to play.

  • How long you need to spend in the grass for a Pokémon to “spawn”

Example of Games:

  • Overwatch
  • World of Warcraft
  • Pokemon
  • Legend of Zelda

Respawn Elements in Game

  • Mineral Nodes (It is a point within the game for gathering resources that can be found within many games, such as WOW, Skyrim, Stardew Valley)
  • Monsters

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

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

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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If you’re looking for some new games to keep your teens entertained, look no further! Here is a list of Meta Quest games that We are comfortable recommending to everyone. There is something on this list for anybody. Each one is recommended by a teen who knows what’s hot right now. So put down the phones and tablets and get your (VR) family game on!

Note: You can read our report about VR safety for kids.

Beat Saber

Buy Beat Saber here

Beat saber is a VR rhythm game where you’re trying to cut boxes out of the air, and it’s amazing. Imagine dual-wielding lightsabers while red and blue boxes are rapidly ramming toward you. Your goal? Cut the boxes in half. Now imagine that but with epic music in the background. Doesn’t that sound fun? If it does, Beat Saber is the game for you. If it isn’t, your bananas.

Super Hot VR

Buy Super Hot VR here

If you have ever watched the Matrix and wanted to do that cool bullet time thing, SUPERHOT is the perfect game. Time only moves when you move, and only moves at the speed you move, making it an amazing puzzle shooter, where it makes you feel like an action movie star bobbing and weaving between an onslaught of bullets

Moss

Buy Moss here

Moss is a third-person action game where you guide a mouse through a wildlife adventure. With beautiful graphics, fast-paced combat, and Zelda-style puzzles, It’s one of the best VR games for new players, as it takes a familiar genre, and puts it into a new perspective.

Job Simulator

Buy Job Simulator here

Job Simulator is a physics-based VR game that is a basic simulation of how jobs work. There are four jobs to choose from, office worker, gourmet chef, auto mechanic, and convenience store clerk. It uses floating CRT monitors to simulate people and interact with them, and it allows you to just mess with everything if you want.

Cooking Simulator

Buy Cooking Simulator here

Cooking simulator VR takes the chaos of working in a kitchen but makes it harder by giving you wacky Octodad-style physics. A super funny, fast-paced, and chaotic physics game. It’s a must-have for those who like bringing their headset to parties, and like social games.

Vacation Simulator

Buy Vacation Simulator here

Vacation Simulator is a physics-based VR game simulating vacations at the beach, in the forest, and in the mountains. Like Job Simulator it uses floating CRT monitors and has a loose plot, attempting to gain memories that are used to unlock other areas in the game to explore.

Echo VR

Buy Echo VR here

Echo VR is like basketball, but you’re using a frisbee, oh, and you’re in zero gravity. It’s an amazing 3v3 sports game, that is helpful for helping someone get their VR legs. It is also an awesome multiplayer experience. Definitely, a must-have for Quest users, as it’s one of the more popular games to play with a party.

I expect you to die

Buy I Expect You To Die here

I Expect You To Die is a super spy thriller. where your goal is to take on a supervillain that is trying to release an airborne disease into the world. This is one of the best interactive puzzle games released for VR. It can be played while seated, making it perfect for those who don’t have a defined VR space where they can stand up.

Gorilla Tag

Buy Gorilla Tag here

Gorilla Tag is a multiplayer platformer where you play as a gorilla while jumping and chasing players around a playground and playing tag. To move, you have to push yourself off the ground with your arms. Once you get good at that, you have to learn how to launch yourself up walls. This is a fantastic game to get used to vr games, as long as you can deal with the annoying kids on voice chat.

Wands Alliances

Buy Wands Alliances here

Wands Alliances is a hero shooter, but instead of using guns as one would expect, you use magic wands. Dual-wielding wands, you have to protect your teammates, and capture an objective. Wands give you that feeling of a shooter, while not having to worry about guns, definitely a must-have for people who are super into competitive gaming.


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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If you’re looking for some new games to keep your teens entertained, look no further! Here are 5 Meta Quest games that are sure to please. Each one is recommended by a teen who knows what’s hot right now. So put down the phones and tablets, and get your (VR) family game on!

Note: You can read our report about VR safety for kids.

Beat Saber

Buy Beat Saber here

Imagine, dual-wielding light sabers, while red and blue boxes are rapidly ramming toward you, your goal, cut the boxes in half. Now imagine that but with epic music in the background. The main premise cutting boxes to the rhythm of the music. with many styles of music from pop to county to rock there is a style for everyone. There is also a campaign that gives special win condition s for different levels in different difficulties. Doesn’t that sound fun? If it does, Beat Saber is the game for you. If it isn’t, your insane. Beat saber is a VR rhythm game where you’re trying to cut boxes out of the air, and its amazing.

Super Hot VR

Buy Super Hot VR here

If you have ever watched the Matrix and wanted to do that cool bullet time thing, SUPERHOT is the perfect game. Time only moves when you move, and only moves at the speed you move, making it an amazing puzzle shooter, where it makes you feel like an action movie star bobbing and weaving between an onslaught of bullets. Superhot forces you to pay attention to not moving at all when you assess a situation. it also has you make do with what is around you to defend yourself and attack the enemy. fighting with everything from wine bottles and ashtrays, to ninja stars, to guns.

Moss

Buy Moss here

Moss is a third-person action game where you guide a mouse through a wildlife adventure. With beautiful graphics, fast-paced combat, and Zelda style puzzles, Its one of the best VR games for new players, as it takes a familiar genre, and puts it into a new perspective.

Job Simulator

Buy Job Simulator here

Job Simulator is a physics-based VR game that is a basic simulation of how jobs work. There are 4 jobs to choose from, office worker, gourmet chef, auto mechanic, and convenience store clerk. It uses floating CRT monitors to simulate people and interact with them, and it allows you to just mess with everything if you want. everything has physics and throwing things at the robots will cause them to respond. the tasks you are given range from giving a presentation to your coworkers to being on TV with Cookbot Ramsey. It is a fun game you you can play for countless hours, changing different things every time, or going into infinite overtime, which is and endless mode wit countless other things to do.

Cooking Simulator

Buy Cooking Simulator here

Cooking simulator VR takes the chaos of working in a kitchen, but makes it harder by giving you wacky octodad-style physics. A super funny, fast-paced, and chaotic physics game. It’s a must-have for those who like bringing their headset to parties, and like social games. In the story mode it is your job to take orders and turn a 1 star restaurant into a 5 star restaurant, with 1 catch, you are by yourself, and are taking multiple orders at a time and there is a time constraint. or you can play in free play and make whatever you like, refining your skills to that of a professional cook.


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

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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!

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