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Gabe / on Sun, Jun 22 2014 at 6:12 pm

People send me stuff.

Sometimes people send me boxes full of cool shit. I don’t always end up talking about the stuff I get, but if it’s especially cool it will usually end up in the comic or a news post.  A while back Razer sent me one of their incredible Blade Pro laptops. I’m playing Wildstar on this thing every day and I love it. They sent a second package a little later full of peripherals. I’m not generally a PC gamer so I was using a $5 mouse which has now been replaced with the Razer Naga. I did have a decent set of headphones but the Kraken 7.1’s they sent blow them out of the water.

The Naga is exactly what I need for Wildstar now that I’m tanking. I never got the hang of using the number pad. Yes I was the worst sort of MMO monster… I was a “clicker”. I was able to get away with it as a healer in WoW. In Wildstar I’m playing a tank though and combined with the frantic nature of the game, clicking was just too slow. The Naga has a little tiny number pad right there on the side of the mouse so I can do all my pointing and dodging while nailing my spells super quick. We’re also all on Teamspeak so the headphones the sent are a real treat. I’m not the audiophile that Tycho is so comfort is probably the most important thing to me. If I’m going to have them on for two or three hours while I raid I want them to feel good. I’ve tried multiple styles before but these Krakens are by far the most comfortable. Like I said I get all kinds of stuff all the time and usually you’ll never hear about. This Razer stuff is especially nice though. It might be that folks who play more PC games than I do have known how awesome Razer is for a while. I’ve never explored their stuff before though so I’m just crazy impressed.

The other thing I got a couple weeks ago was Osmo. It’s funny, I got a mail from them asking if I’d be interested in trying it out (for future reference I am always interested in free stuff) and I said sure even though I had never heard of it. I watched the video and it looked cool. A couple days later my wife sent me a mail with a link to the Osmo video saying we should order one for the boys. I laughed and told her one was already on the way.

It showed up a few days later and I set it all up for my boys to test out. Osmo is basically an add on for your iPad that lets you play games that incorporate physical objects. So it comes with a base station that holds your iPad and a little doodad that slips over the camera.  It’s just a little mirror that redirects the camera view down to the table in front of your device. We got three games for it and all them were huge hits with both my boys.

Tangram

In this game the iPad will display a shape built from a set of tangrams. It’s up to the kids to recreate the shape with the physical tangrams so that it matches the picture. As soon as a piece is placed in the right spot there is a musical cue and a visual indication that you’re on the right track. My four year old really loved this game but even the nine year old got into it. There is a more difficult type of puzzle that has all the colors and shapes blacked out so you have to figure out for yourself which blocks go where.

Words

This is a Hangman style game. The iPad will show you a picture and you need to try and spell what it is. The pictures will often include lots of elements though so determining what they want you to spell involves looking at the number of letter spaces you have and some trial and error. You choose a physical letter tile and place it in front of the iPad. If it’s correct it will pop up in the word and if it’s wrong it will show up at the top of the screen. You need to spell the word correctly before you reach a certain number of wrong letters. This one was a bit much for the four year old but we played it so that I was telling him what letter to find and he was learning his letters more than learning spelling. This was great for my older son though and the two of us a great time with the multiplayer mode.

Newton

This was my nine year old’s favorite. You place a blank piece of paper in front of the ipad. On the screen little tiny balls start falling from the top of the screen. There are multiple “goals” on the screen and you have to draw shapes on the paper in order to direct the balls into the goals. So what you draw on the paper shows up on the screen and the balls interact with it. So draw a sloping line and they will roll down it. as the puzzles get harder you end up having to draw some really wild contraptions in order to direct all the balls where they need to go. This one was really cool.

You can pre-order Osmo right now and the website says they will start shipping “late summer”. If you have kids I highly recommend this one. The games are fun, your kids will love them, and they will be learning while they do it. You can’t get much better than that!

-Gabe out


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