Sometimes, sitting down to play with your kids can also include playing video games together with them, especially if it’s a lazy rainy weekend afternoon!
Here at Owls Well, we don’t see video games as a way for kids to isolate themselves but as a way for families and siblings to bond with each other over a shared experience.
In this Video Game Family Time series, I’ll be talking about some video games that we like to play together as a family and some rules that we have to keep everyone playing together nicely.
This time, I’ll be talking about one of the first games we played together, Resogun.
This is a side-scrolling video game, that is, the action is viewed from a side angle and onscreen characters move left-to-right and back again to achieve their objectives. Players control little spaceships and have to shoot invading alien ships whilst rescuing humans trapped in glass cages. The game is pretty fast paced, so it’s a good one to play if you want to keep the game time really short and yet satisfying (like 15-20 minutes).
We like this game for playing in pairs (the multiplayer function only goes up to two players), and the fact that in-game resources like special weapons, extra lives and bonuses, are shared between both players. This means that the game encourages cooperative play (not competitive play), and J and Little E have to work together to defeat the game, collect bonuses and upgrades, and protect each other when carrying a people to safety.
The game is also very simple to learn as it has a straightforward control system and really smooth graphics that are sensitive and responsive to the player. The challenge in the game lies in being able to react quickly and use special weapons more strategically as the levels progress in difficulty. This means that our 5 year old Little E can still play with our 8 year old J, and both of them are engaged in the game.
The little ships and people are very cute, and the alien spaceships are not visually frightening or ugly. The game does involve shooting down evil alien spaceships, with a great deal of cartoon violence (the ships explode into colourful pixels).
Another aspect of the game that I like is that you can build and customise your own ships. J and Little E get a kick out of designing their own spaceships and seeing them rendered in 3D!
Here’s an example of a ship that Little E designed for Valentine’s Day this year.
J also drew and coloured his own spaceship, the “Rainbow Tornado”.
Then, The Barn Owl and I helped them turn their drawings into playable ships that they could use in the game!
Each of them had to choose what sort of characteristics their ships would have based on how they like to play the game. Little E’s ship was made faster but with less firepower so that she could concentrate on saving more people and collecting bonuses (you can see the “Love Butterfly” carrying a little green man who is dangling from the belly of the ship in the picture below), whilst J’s ship is less agile but has stronger shields and firepower, as well as a bigger boost engine.
When we are playing together in Resogun, there are certain rules that we insist the children have to observe:
- We remember to be patient – we don’t get cross with each other if the game doesn’t go the way that we want, and we are kind with our words
- We listen to each other – we discuss and work together to form a common game strategy
- We take turns to be the team leader
- When Mummy and Daddy say that game time is over, everyone puts their controllers down immediately with no fuss or bargaining.
Do you think family video game time is a good way for families to spend time together? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!