- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror plotter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
- Libyan prime minister ousted by parliament
- Men’s Wearhouse to buy Jos A Bank for $1.8B
- Boston bomb squad destroys unattended pressure cooker: report
Video Game Bytes: Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force and Skate It
Here’s an abbreviated look at some multimedia titles for the entire family.
Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force (for DS, Disney Interactive Studios, $29.99) — Disney’s massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORP) expands to Nintendo’s hand-held platform to give youngsters a chilly and multitasking adventure.
Tweens become part of a feathery secret agent team and must hunt down rogue robots, help townsfolk and find G the Force’s gadget guru.
Besides the standard variety of activities afforded a role-playing game, including interacting with characters, solving puzzles, clicking on objects and collecting stuff, the player enjoys minigames, compiles an arsenal of secret gadgets and amasses coins to customize his avatar.
The action stays nearly true to the virtual Club Penguin universe with plenty of help from Tribble-like companions, the Puffles (blow into the DS to activate a whistle to call them) and a near duplication of the Arctic environments.
An upgrade from the Web world is moving in a first-person perspective rather than directing an actual penguin, accomplished with the DS stylus as a guide.
Fans will appreciate the easy-going, cartoony action that easily expands online and through multiplayer modes.
First, a card included in the package offers extras to use with an avatar created at the Club Penguin Web site (www.clubpenguin.com) — 1,500 coins and a communicator, not too shabby — where players find more games and social interactivity.
Wireless, multicard play includes minigame versus contests and a way for agents to work together on a mission. Additionally, Disney’s impressive D Gamer option offers an easy way to download coins to the Web site and access a community area. A paid membership is required to spend the coins.
Skate It (for Wii, Electronic Arts, $49.99) — Another perfect match for Nintendo’s console and the Wii Fit balance board puts younger players on a skateboard as they rip extreme stunts.
First of all, yes, it’s cool and as fun as it sounds. Place the Wii board sideways and stand on it while simulating maneuvering a skateboard through the apocalyptic landscape of San Vanelona transformed into a massive skate park.
The player builds his avatar and equipment, down to licensed trucks and wheels on his board, skates with pros, and rides through challenges to get sponsored by real companies and tour the world. Loud music rocks the screens and a cameraman covers a skater’s action (a replay feature is included).
With the balance board, the player can shift his weight over six areas of the device and perform most of the core skateboard stunts, including ollies, nollies and kick flips. The Wiimote can be used for more intensive tricks.
My only beef is these dudes are not wearing helmets, setting off my parental concern alarm. However, the game goes out of its way to point out when a skater is injured, covering his areas of distress, all bundled under the famed “Hall of Meat” moments.
This overall gnarly experience is also a bonus for any balance-challenged family member who never has tried to stand on a real skateboard.
For big brother, who certainly will enjoy Skate It, Skate 2 (Electronic Arts, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, $59.99) also has hit store shelves. The sequel, geared to teens, looks as spectacular as last year’s hit, enhanced by a doubling of the possible tricks, a custom graphics creator and movable in-game objects.
That’s all great, except sitting in a chair and holding a controller is nowhere near as slick as standing on that balance board. I’m still with Skate It.
About the Author
A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, Joseph Szadkowski has written about popular culture for The Washington Times for the past 17 years. He covers video games, comic books, new media and technology.
- ZADZOOKS: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze review
- ZADZOOKS: The Last of Us: Left Behind review
- ZADZOOKS: The Lego Movie Videogame review
- Zadzooks: Justice League: War review (Blu-ray)
- ZADZOOKS: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII review
Latest Blog Entries
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- House Democrats trying to force unemployment insurance vote
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- FCC targets black conservative in TV station fight
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- PRUDEN: Missing airliner, stolen passports fuel wild speculation
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- Obamacare enrollment hits 4.2 million, but slowing
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again