Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Exploring Free Kid Friendly Online Games.

It's Summer. We live in Southern California, and it is hot. The kids are in the house, and they are bored. What to do? We only have two WoW accounts running right now, as my eldest daughter is out with her grandfather on an RV trip and can't play. So that leaves 4 children, begging to use the computer, the Playstation 3, and the Wii. Since they are all connected to the same monitor, My husband rounded up the three laptops he had kicking around that needed some work and made two working units. One of them has WiFi, the other doesn't. So, two kids can be playing online games. Here are there games of choice, starting from the youngest.

Wizard 101 is a great game, very easy to jump into, and free for a portion of it. You can gain access to other areas of the game with a one time gate fee or by paying for a subscription. They have family subscriptions, too, so if you have a few kids like I do, this can be some really inexpensive fun! It is really nice that the sidewalks are a safe zone, so if a kid didn't finish a chore and had to get up, they don't come back to a corpse run. Mini games are a fun part of the play, allowing you to gain mana and health as well as gold. If you aren't a big fan of mini games, you can chase down floating blue and red clouds and run into them for a recharge. Battles are very easy, and easy to find groups for. You play cards to attack or heal, which take their mana cost away from your bar. Your opponent casts, then the next in your party plays their card, then back to the mob, in that order until the job is finished. There are neat mini pets to collect, and you can recolor any armor drops you get. I hear they even have player housing. What fun!

Adventure Quest Worlds is the follow up game to Adventure Quest, which in itself was a fun game that did things with flash that no one else had done before. In their new, browser based flash mmo, you can join friends in killing monsters and doing quests, or just chatting. Other titles by these extraordinary developers are Dragonfable and Mechquest. The games are all free to play, but I would hope that you would want to pay the fee they offer to unlock special weapons, just because the game is so cool! Marissa had bought her lifetime membership to Adventure Quest, and I read that they are going to enable you to "transfer" special characters from any of their older three titles to their new mmo soon. From the about page, "The best part is, in an upcoming release, you will be able to import data from your existing AQ/DF/MQ characters and accounts, making all of your old hard work and effort really mean something." I know Marissa will want to do that, and I foresee a membership request for her birthday present in November.

Battlefield Heroes has been another favorite in this house, and not just amongst the under 16 set. Many nights hubby will be playing against one of the kids in a battlefield. Yay for griefing the kids! This is a free to play game that gets its funding from the sale of Battlefunds, which you can use to buy outfits, emotes, and other things to enhance your gameplay. I would advise that, if this game becomes as addicting to your family as it has to mine, that you turn off the music. It's repetitive and annoying. It is a first person shooter with leveling involved.

Of course, there is Free Realms. They have all tried it and like different parts of it. The cooking mini games are right up Sammy's alley, where the brawler quests really keep Noah involved, and Alex likes the pet training. It is free, up to a point. If you want to be a tank or a healer, you'll have to pony up, because members only can play the medic and warrior classes. But, pure damage classes are a dime a dozen, really, and you can learn two types free, the ninja and the brawler. If you want to be a wizard or an archer, you have to be a member. You can gather ore and gems for free, but if you want to do things with them, you have to be a member. So, for a casual player, the free options are really all you need. One day you might feel like playing the cooking and gathering mini games, another day you might feel like driving in the demolition derby. You only need one character, they just switch roles and outfits according to your whim.

I have a lot of girls, and most of them are the girly type. They seem to enjoy i-Dressup.com. There are lots of mini games on the site that allow you to earn iCoins to buy clothes and accessories for your own character to wear or decorate their house with. You can even use iCoins to buy your membership.

Under the category of sites that are ok if you are watching, I give you these suggestions. They like Y3, a flash game site. If you let your kids visit this one, please check what they intend to play. I found my daughter playing a dirty hobo game. I won't go into details on it, but it was awful (and offensive). Another site they frequent is AddictingGames. Again, this one should only be played with parental supervision, as it has some questionable titles, but there are many paper doll type games on both sites, as well as cutesy flash games.

I have to go. Hubby is making me sign up for Battlefield Heroes. But I want to play a girl!!!!

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