Posts tagged #kids

Thoughts of a Two-Year-Old on Bit Trip Presents... Runner 2

In the first of a new series of posts, Ryan Thompson shares his two-year-old's thoughts on video games. Today, he takes a look at Bit Trip Presents... Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien.

I occasionally (often) play stretches of video games with my kids around. My daughter’s interests influence what games will be played. She is old enough now to express her interests and opinions in ways that only toddlers can. This series of posts will use her thoughts to summarize our gameplay experiences.

First game of the summer is Bit.Trip Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien. We played it side by side enough that Daughter will repeat the announcements of the game’s title at random moments throughout the day. Runner2 received plenty of positive praise and mostly favorable reviews, but what did a two year-old think of the colorful, precise and full of character auto-runner?

“Bit.Trip Runner runs FAST! JUST LIKE THIS,” Daughter says as she runs up and down the hallway. As the floor buckles from her heavy footfalls, she adds, “Jumps UP and DOWN and ROUND and ROUND!” This is her description of the basic gameplay of Runner2, combined with a phrase from a current favorite book, Pony Brushes His Teeth. There’s a bit more to the game then jumping, but I’m glad Daughter isn’t trying to slide, kick, jump-kick or block pixel projectiles while she zooms up and down the hallway.

Daughter’s favorite part of the game is the variety of characters. Kids can be fickle, and every level saw a change in costume or character. Runner2 features 8 characters: male, female and retro versions of the main hero, a pickle, reverse merman, anthropomorphized oil can, an elder of the Video species, and Daughter’s favorite (or least, depending on the minute), a hamburger-headed humanoid. She really liked “Hamburger,” actual name Whetfart Cheeseborger, enough that she requested a hamburger dinner. I happily obliged, and she proceeded to take her mini-burger apart in the way Cheeseborger comes apart after a missed jump or hit obstacle, claiming “it’s just like hamburger girl in Bit Trip Runner!” If only she actually ate her dinner with such enthusiasm.

Dad and Daughter Highlights of Runner2

  • “There are RAINBOWS!”
  • “She (Commandgirl Video) has a pretty dress!”
  • “Ooh, pretty!”
  • “I want to be the hamburger”
  • “I DON’T want to be the hamburger”

Runner2 was purchased as part of the Humble Nintendo Indie Bundle. This is the first of the games available in the bundle we’ve completed, and it’s also the first game my daughter has requested to play with no encouragement from a parent.

About the Author

Ryan isn’t a game journalist, but he enjoys writing about his hobby.

He hopes you’ll chat and play some games with him @zoso1701 on Twitter, Miiverse and Steam.

Hear him on the Magic Hour Show Podcast from!

Posted on July 17, 2015 and filed under Reviews.

The Extra Life Experience

The Extra Life marathon is over, but it's not too late to give! To get your donations in please visit:

This past Saturday, gamers of all stripes from all over the world set themselves to a task. To play for 24 hours (25 with daylight savings time) to raise money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. It was my first time participating in the Extra Life event, and my kids and I decided to make it a family affair. We chose Sick Kids Foundation here in Toronto, a hospital that provides care for thousands of kids each year. I should know, I was one of them!

We started at 8AM and live streamed the whole thing to my twitch channel. It was an interesting day, because we had to take a break right at 9:30 in order for the kids to attend their dance class. I continued to game a little bit by playing on my 3DS!

After that momentary break, we got right back to it. I really had no lack of choice of games to play, as I've amassed quite a bit of a backlog recently, so it was a great chance to move ahead a bit in my games.

Rayman was a multiplayer affair, with the kids tagging along as we played a little Football first, and then did a few of the beginning levels together. With Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, I travelled to Dragon Roost Island, and figured out a few things on how to get to the top of the darned mountain and see said dragon.

Then things got interesting, because the kids wanted to play Boom Blox on the Wii, while I wanted to stream The Wonderful 101. Well, with the Wii U's Off TV play (shameless plug) we were able to do both! I felt that The Wonderful 101's mirrored mode was an interesting design choice, as those of you who watched the stream will have noticed. The game puts the display of what otherwise would have been on the Gamepad into a small picture in picture window at the bottom right corner of the screen. It wasn't until about an hour that I figured out how to make that screen go away when not needed, so it wouldn't block the subtitles. I had fun playing it, and I was required to use the Right Stick to make my drawings, which took some getting used to. I definitely would appreciate another go at the game using the normal control scheme and dual screens. What fun, though! It's fast paced, frenetic action, the way only Platinum knows how to do. If you have a Wii U you need to get this game.

Then it was Disney Infinity time, where I mostly handed the time over to the kids. They played through parts of the Incredibles missions, while I explored some of the Pirates of the Caribbean levels. Then I left to catch a short break while they played the Monsters University area and showed off the toolbox to some of our friends who had arrived.After that it was Pikmin 3, where we did a little Bingo Battle mode. This pits two players against each other in a race to collect fruit in the same arena, to see who can be first to get four in a row on your bingo card. That was a lot of fun, and after that I tried some of the new missions available. There are fruit collecting missions, and there are creature battle missions. Neither one was I very good at, sadly! I need more practice managing everything, right now I'm definitely a beginner level Pikmin player. They should have Pikmin tournaments, like they have Starcraft tournaments. Seriously, Pikmin 4 should be made into a Starcraft type online tournament game, it would be awesome.

After that it was time to try out Wii Fit U for the first time. This game was just released on Friday, so it was brand new and there was lots to explore. Having only experienced the first Wii Fit and not gone in for the Plus version, there was much to explore in Wii Fit U. Nintendo have really added a lot of new modes, including and entirely new Dance mode, and have included refinements and enhancements to your old favourites. I tried a trampoline jumping game, luge, squash, and kung fu, all of which were fun, but were not part of the core strength or yoga parts of the game. I'm looking forward to getting more out of this game, and Nintendo have made it more community and online oriented this time, with the ability to join a gym with other players.

Then it was time to unwrap a new game that I had been saving: Pandora's Tower for the Wii. This is an action/puzzle RPG, with an interesting story premise. There is a girl who has a curse mark that is slowly turning her into a monster. Your task as the hero is to go into various towers of a castle and defeat monsters and bosses to get some of there flesh, in order that the girl might eat it and temporarily gain some respite from the curse. Yep, pretty messed up. I managed to get to but not finish the second tower in my 2 hour sitting, and I liked what I saw.

At around 11PM I started Monster Hunter, and any of you who know me will know that this is my favourite game. I've put about 380+ hours into the WiiU version, and over 300 into the Wii version, so what's 3 more hours, right? I was joined online by a few buddies and we did a bunch of quests, ending off with a glorious 4 monster arena battle ending with Savage Deviljho. G-Rank is tough, and I did cart several times, but I didn't fail any quests. That's probably a testament to my teammates skill rather than anything I contributed, but we had fun. The nice thing about playing with super high skill players in Monster Hunter is that by this time, everything is sort of just for fun at this point. At least the people I play with are. Shout outs to Kaze, Daimao, and Sheppie for helping me stay awake!

It was a bit surreal to look at the clock and see 1:45 AM, and then look at the clock a little later and see 1:05AM. That's what being awake for the time change is like. You get to experience 1AM all over again.
At 2:00AM (the real, post time change 2:00AM) I switched to Need for Speed Most Wanted. I had bought this a while back on sale, but hadn't cracked it open yet. It looked gorgeous, I really appreciated the wet roads and the reflections, they looked nice. I couldn't get into the driving feel of it, I'm not sure if it's the game of the controller, but every car just felt sloppy. It was as if small inputs wouldn't move the car, and then long inputs were too big. Maybe I've just gotten out of the habit of driving with a controller, since I got my wheel for the PC. In any case, I did have fun trying to outrun the police all the time, but I didn't really do too well on the races, not knowing the map too well hindered me there.

After a few hours of that it was home stretch for me, so I put Injustice Gods Among Us in the machine, got out my fight stick, and played through the story mode from the beginning till about chapter 7. It's a fun game, I have no issues with it whatsoever. Love it.

And then it was 5 AM. I have to admit that when the kids came downstairs to relieve me and take the last leg, I felt as though the cavalry had arrived. They had readily agreed to wake up early and play video games so that I could sleep a few hours before we had to go out, so I gladly handed the reins over and went to sleep.
It's hard to describe the exhaustion, it's not physically taxing, playing video games, but it does take some mental focus. By that time I was done done. I had reached my limit. I think that if I didn't have a full Sunday of activities, if I could have just crashed after the 24 hours, that I would have made it to the end, but practically it was not possible for me to do it. I'm so proud and glad that my kids could get involved and also really help me out. Kudos to you, bookworm and scribbledot. You're the best.

As of this writing, the Extra Life weekend marathon raised over $3.6 million dollars for Children's Hospitals, and I'm so happy that I was able to be a part of it. Thanks to all who donated, and watched the stream. You were a part of this too.

I will try to do it again next year, and I'll definitely start promoting it a lot sooner next time. To find out how you can participate, go to for information. Here's hoping 2014 is even bigger and better!

Posted on November 4, 2013 and filed under Article.

Come join me for Extra Life on Saturday!

I've been remiss. I've forgotten to talk about Extra Life here on the blog until now! Whoops! Well, it's time to fix that.

This year will be the first time I'm taking part in Extra Life, a 24 hour game marathon to raise money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. I will be raising money for Sick Kids Foundation here in Toronto.

I'm streaming the entire thing at so please drop by anytime during the event and see what I'm up to. My schedule is as follows:

Nov.2 Schedule [all times ET]

8:00 Rayman Legends

10:00 Zelda Wind Waker HD

12:00 Wonderful 101

14:00 Disney Infinity

16:00 Wii Retrospective

18:00 Pikmin 3

20:00 Fight!

22:00 Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Nov.3 Schedule [crazy time]

NFS Most Wanted

Mark of the Ninja

Dark Souls


5:00 Kids choice

8:00 Finish!

It's going to be a little crazy as I get into the wee hours, but hopefully I'll make it for the whole thing. The fun thing about being a Dad is that my kids are now old enough to play with me, and they'll be helping me out through the whole day. They've promised that they'll wake up early on Sunday to relieve me for the last few hours, so that should be interesting!

To donate, go to and help me reach my goal of $500!


Posted on October 31, 2013 and filed under gamerparent tv.

Girl Scouts of the USA and Dell partner to introduce game development to girls


From PR Newswire:

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has received a two-year, $600,000grant for its Journey and Connect Through Technology program from the Dell Powering the Possible Youth Learning Initiative and is now releasing Be the Video Game Developer, an interactive experience that puts girls in the driver's seat of video game development.

Through Be the Video Game Developer, girls consider what they would like to see in video games and make selections accordingly—choosing avatars, storylines, and other video game features. They learn ideation, critical thinking, and teamwork skills to help them feel like creators in the game design process. Girl Scouts and Dell believe that Be the Video Game Developerwill encourage girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math by exposing them to the exciting world of video game development. The program builds on Dell's commitment to personalized learning for all students to help them to realize their academic goals.

I plan on having my girls check this out, it's free for everyone, and you don't have to be a Girl Scout to use the website.
Posted on September 19, 2013 and filed under News.

Can gaming make you a better parent? Well duh

Monica J. Vila writes in the huffington post today:

Although some parents are still reluctant to embrace video games as an approved family activity, it's easy to see how kids might benefit. There are dozens of video games that are geared towards learning but even the most basic games teach us to think logically and quickly process large amounts of data. Rather than passively absorbing content from, say, a TV show, a video game requires a player's constant input to tell the story.

Most video games are designed to allow players to succeed and be rewarded for that success. Different skill levels and a risk and reward culture mean that most video gamers are not afraid to fail and will take a few chances to achieve their goals. Better yet, video games offer instant feedback on our decisions, helping us learn our strengths and weaknesses.

If you're a parent and you're not playing games with your kids, a) what are you doing here? (just kidding, welcome!) and b) why not? There's no time like the present to spend some quality gaming time with your kids.

via huffingtonpost

Posted on September 12, 2013 and filed under Article.

New Nintendo Wii U Commercials target families

kotaku says these commercials are awful. I think they're perfectly tuned. What do you think?

Listen, I'm all for advertising to core gamers, but I think all the core gamers have already bought their Wii U's. That amounted to what, ~2 million sales? Now Nintendo is going for the rest of their Wii market. You know, the other 90+ miliion people. The parents, the families. The traditional market for Nintendo.

These ads are perfect and to the point: games for kids, games for parents, games for kids and parents together, this is why you need to upgrade. I feel like that's a key word right there. Parents don't need to be sold on specs, or features. They need to know that there are games, and that it's an upgrade from the Wii that they probably already have. That's it. Parents know what an upgrade is. It helps fight the "Wii U as a peripheral" misconception.

For the target market of these ads, parents, it's perfect.


Posted on April 22, 2013 and filed under News.

I'll make a gamer out of you yet, my pretties!

Last month, at our annual New Years Day brunch at a friend's house, I noticed an interesting occurrence. My oldest daughter was sitting on the couch, happily playing Skylanders with the younger kids of our host. She had never played it before, but she was getting the hang of it, more or less.

This is a marked difference from even just a few years eariler, where she either would have a) not been interested, or b) found it too difficult to control and given up. I blame myself. You see, we don't have a PS3 or an Xbox 360, we have a Wii. And so she's grown up with motion control as the norm, and traditional controllers aren't really what she's used to. I'm sure she'll pick it up eventually, not too worried about that.

In a parallel development, she received the first Professor Layton game for Christmas, finished it in about a week, and then got the second Professor Layton a month later for her birthday. She's hooked, as she loves the puzzles, and the cut scenes / storyline. It's right up her 10 year old brain's alley.

It's all part of my plan to make her into a gamer, and I think it's working.

Before Christmas, the DS had been pretty much sitting in a drawer, neglected and forlorn. The kids having exhausted their interest in Pet Shop and Cooking Mama games, had moved on to playing on our i-Devices. This could not stand, I said to myself. That's not real gaming, I protested.

So I hatched a plan. First, I bought Professor Layton. Ostensibly it was for my wife, who also loves that kind of puzzle game, but I knew that my daughter would be interested. She was. Second, I got the NEXT Professor Layton game ready to give to her for her birthday. Third, I ordered a copy of the first issue of Nintendo Force, and left it around for her to read.

In the space of 8 weeks, she's gone from wanting an iPad Mini as a reward for chore points (I give stars instead of cash, redeemable for prizes... each star is worth about $0.25) to wanting a 3DS. A 3DS! Good choice, my offspring, good choice.

When I asked her why she made the change, she said, "I don't know, some of the games look interesting. Well, I want to play the latest Professor Layton, and that game with Layton X Ace Attorney... with all the finger pointing! Oh, and Animal Crossing."

If you end your reason with the words, "Oh, and Animal Crossing" I think you automatically win. QED.

Posted on February 17, 2013 and filed under Article.

Miiverse users under 12 blocked from Friend Requests

Nintendo has made clear their policy regarding its younger users and the Miiverse, in a recent update to the Miiverse code of conduct rules: "For the protection of younger users, direct friend requests are not possible in Miiverse for users aged 12 and under. At the same time, younger users can make friends on Wii U outside Miiverse by entering each other's Network IDs in the friend list on the HOME Menu."

So it's basically back to the way we used to do it on the Wii, you'll need to both directly add the Nintendo Network ID of the other person you wish to friend into your friends list, rather than making a friend request from Miiverse itself.

Nintendo also provided some guidelines for kids to follow when adding friends, recommending that they only add people that they know in real life, like friends from school or the neighbourhood. They also cautioned children not to attempt to share their Nintendo Network ID's over Miiverse.

Via: gamerevolution

Posted on February 7, 2013 and filed under News.

Wii U Parental Controls Game Rating settings extend to WaraWara Plaza

Notice anything different about these two screenshots?

One shows my WaraWara Plaza, and the other shows my daughter's, with Parental Controls Game Rating set to only allow up to T (Teen) rated games.

That's right, the games are different. ZombiU, Assassin's Creed III, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Batman Arkham City, which all have been fixtures on my WaraWara Plaza since day one, are gone. Instead we have Trine 2, Nano Assault Neo, Madden 13, and Disney Epic Mickey 2.

For each user account on the Wii U, Nintendo gives you the ability to manage Parental Controls, limiting the ESRB rating of games they can play, access to the browser, Friend List, Online Play, Miiverse, eShop, and so on. It also gives parents the ability to lock out Data Management and changes to Internet Settings.

Parental Controls stop short of providing a daily time limit or blackout periods for gaming, but it's a pretty comprehensive system, and kudos to Nintendo for thinking this out clearly. It's nice to see that the ESRB rating limits automatically extend to the WaraWara Plaza as well.* Some of those Miiverse drawings that people draw can be pretty scary. Right? I mean, not to me. But if I was 7 years old, maybe.

Except for Bowser. He's ok.

Nintendo helping parents do a good job of giving little ones a safe environment, away from Zombies and other scary things that keep them up at night. Because honestly, if the kids are staying up, that means less gaming time for us parents.

*You can change which games show up on your own WaraWara Plaza by going into the Miiverse User Menu Settings and changing the "What kind of games do you want to see on WaraWara Plaza" setting.

Posted on November 24, 2012 and filed under News.

Dad changes Link's gender in Zelda for daughter's sake

Mike Hoye, I salute you.

The father of three and half year old Maya painstakingly edited the data files of Nintendo's Wind Walker so that every reference to Link would be changed from male, to female.

Hoye had been playing the game with Maya in attendance, and been reading the story to her as they went along, changing Link's gender on the fly as he read aloud. However, he decided to take things a little further, and took a hex editor to the original files to alter the text in the GameCube game itself. Mike blogs:

It’s annoying and awkward, to put it mildly, having to do gender-translation on the fly when Maya asks me to read what it says on the screen. You can pick your character’s name, of course – I always stick with Link, being a traditionalist – but all of the dialog insists that Link is a boy, and there’s apparently nothing to be done about it.

Well, there wasn’t anything to be done about it, certainly not anything easy, but as you might imagine I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers.

Ever since having kids (both girls) I've become much more sensitive to the prominence of female role models in TV, and female protagonists in gaming. They are few, and add to that the difficulty of finding Asian female heroic protagonists, my hat goes off to Hoye for going the extra mile for his young daughter.

Posted on November 8, 2012 and filed under News.

Have you ever grinded through your kids games for them? That's love...

Kotaku headline reads: "Mother Grinds Through Online Game So Her Daughter Doesn’t Have To".

This happened in China, where a daughter's restricted screen time lead to many tantrums. And so, like any loving parent would do, her mother did the only thing she could. She plays the game, Mole Manor, and grinds through to level up her daughter's character.

Yeah right.

The headline should read, "Mother secretly loves Mole Manor and purposely restricted her daughter's screen time so she could play"

Have you ever played your kids games for them? I have. Mostly when the game is on my iPhone, which the kids don't always have access to, I am 'requested' to check Snoopy Fair or Pocket Frogs during the day.

At least we're not doing their homework for them, right?

Posted on November 8, 2012 and filed under News.

Doctors using biofeedback enabled video game to help kids curb anger - RAGE Control [study]

Doctors at Boston Children's Hospital have been studying the uses of biofeedback and video games to help kids control their anger. Dr. Jason Kahn, Ph.D., and Dr. Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, M.D., developed “RAGE Control,” a video game with a biofeedback component that helps children practice emotional control skills.

Patients are connected to a heart rate monitor while playing a Space Invaders type shmup, with a twist. If your heart rate exceeds your resting heart rate baseline by more than 7 beats per minute, you will fire "blanks", shots that are smaller and do no damage to the alien ships. To inhibit the impulse to constantly shoot, the researchers also incoporated "friendly" ships; if fired upon the player will lose points.

Children have a heart rate monitor attached to their finger, and their heart rate is displayed on the screen. With the goal being to score as many points as possible, subjects playing the game need to keep their heart rate down if they want to fire. This teaches kids to remain calm under stress, a critical skill in keeping anger in check in everyday situations.

“The connections between the brain’s executive control centers and emotional centers are weak in people with severe anger problems,” said Gonzalez-Heydrich, chief of Psychopharmacology at Boston Children’s and senior investigator on the study. “However, to succeed at RAGE Control, players have to learn to use these centers at the same time to score points.”

The study compared kids who received standard anger management treatments (including cognitive-behavioural therapy, relaxation techniques and social skill training) plus 15 minute sessions of RAGE Control, with those who received only the standard treatments. After 5 days, kids who had the RAGE Control experience reported decreased intensity of anger, less angry feelings over time, and decreased expression of anger. They were significantly better at keeping their heart rate down, and also showed a demonstratable decrease in anger scores on a standardized anger test (STAXI-CA).

“Kids reported feeling better control of their emotions when encountering day-to-day frustrations on the unit,” said Peter Ducharme, M.S.W., study leader. “While this was a pilot study, and we weren’t able to follow the kids after they were discharged, we think the game will help them control their emotions in other environments.”

The team is now conducting a study with RAGE Control that adds a co-op component to the game. Kids team up with a parent and play together, if either of their heart rate goes up, neither of them can fire. This requires the players to help each other to stay calm.

In addition, Dr. Kahn is spearheading a team effort to develop toys to enhance emotional regulation skills in children too young for RAGE Control. These toys include racing cars that stop if a child gets too excited and, for even younger children, a cooperative game where children try to help each other stack blocks (if heart rate goes up, the table becomes wobbly and the blocks topple).

The potential of biofeedback is tremendous, and incorporating it into games for kids with behavioural issues is a smart move. Many kids would be more willing to play a game than sit through traditional therapy. In fact if this could be incorporated into games for the general public it might help all of us stay a little calmer.

Nintendo had their Vitality Sensor a while back, but it never got released. Maybe it's time for something like it to come back?

Posted on October 31, 2012 and filed under Article.

The iPad mini becomes my 9 year old's object of desire

So recently I made the mistake of watching the October Apple event at the dinner table. After the iPad mini was shown off my 9 year old turns to me and says: "I want one, can I have one for Christmas?"

Oh boy... what have I done?

I ended up putting it on our awards for good behaviour and chores, using our star system that I keep track of using Awards.

The "price"? 1500 stars. Working backwards it means each star is worth about 25¢. Not too far off, actually. I'm hoping that she doesn't make it for Christmas, and that it's more like next summer, by which point I can maybe get her to wait until revision 2 comes out...

Posted on October 29, 2012 and filed under Article.

Throwing Games: Letting your kids win, sometimes

A few months back I was listening to the Gamers with Jobs podcast and the episode was from the PAX East panel. After the main panel discussion concluded there was a period for audience questions, and one gentleman came up to the mic and asked about whether we as parents should 'throw' games for our kids, ie. let them win. He has a six year old son, who is very competitive, and speaking about fighting games specifically (Marvel vs. Capcom), he said that sometimes his son gets things right, and he can win, but most of the time his son loses to him. His son cries when he loses, and the dad was wondering if it was ok to take it easy on our kids or not? From his own experience he recalled his days in the arcade, getting beaten in Mortal Kombat and walking away thinking "that sucked". He wanted his son to recognize that sometimes you're going to lose, but on the other hand he wants his son to still have fun. "I feel like I'm cheating him if I let him win all the time," he concluded.

I don't know why this question still resonates with me the way it does, but I wanted to put some thoughts down about it. If you listen to the podcast, Julian Murdoch answers the question in the affirmative: "I just give my kids a good game. I don't destroy them just because I can. The real question is, do I throw games for your kids? The answer is, f*ck yeah, of course I throw games for my kids."

There are two quotes which came to my mind, the first is from "Daughters" by John Mayer. "Boys you can break / you'll find out how much they can take / Boys will be strong / and boys soldier on..." The second is from Ephesians 6:4 in the Bible: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

Now how does this apply to video games? From my experience, I don't have boys. I have two daughters, and what I feel about them is perhaps different from parents with boys. Maybe boys are tougher, maybe they can handle more. But I've experienced my share of my kid bursting into tears because they didn't win against me in some Mario Party minigame, and conversely, having a child also say, "don't take it easy on me this time, ok daddy?"

If you're so competitive that you simply beat your kids at games all the time, then of course your kids are going to be frustrated. It's no fun to lose all the time and never win. But on the flip side, both losing and winning are part of playing the game, and as kids grow up, as parents we do have to help them learn how to handle losing, as well as handle winning, I think.

Posted on September 3, 2012 and filed under Article.

Video Games (ie Wii Sports and DDR) May Benefit Kids with Cerebral Palsy [study]


In a new article on Disability Scoop, a study claims that "Video Games may Benefit Kids with Cerebral Palsy".

To be clear, the study tested with four specific games, Wii Sports Bowling, Tennis and Boxing, and Dance Dance Revolution.

They found that the games encouraged repetitive movements, while providing positive feedback in a fun environment, according to the study published online this week in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Significantly, the researchers said children with cerebral palsy who typically utilized one, dominant side of their body were engaging their full body when playing the games, suggesting that the activity could be a low-impact way of achieving therapeutic goals.

“While our results did not show that (active video) game play can be regarded as a replacement for more vigorous physical activity or muscle strengthening, we found that some games may provide targeted therapy focused on specific joints or movements,” said Elaine Biddiss of the University of Toronto who led the study.

(Yay U of T, my alma mater)

It's interesting that while the headline says "Video Games" the actual games in question are uniquely active games that exist within a very narrow category of video games, and aren't your traditional PC or console games.

Additional reading:

Tablet Games Trump Traditional Therapy in Treating Autism and Cerebral Palsy (Kotaku)

Playing on a Tablet as Therapy (WSJ subscription required)

Posted on May 8, 2012 .