Gaming Wish List: What to Get and What Not to Get

Do you have a teen or tween gamer? Are you already starting to panic when you think that Christmas is less than 100 days away and you haven’t figured out what to get him or her? Or are you a mom gamer, like me, who is putting together your own wish list of items to level up your gaming mojo? Here are a few products I and my teenage gamer do and do NOT recommend, and deals that will save you SO MUCH MONEY!

Gaming Wish List For PC Gamers:

The Razer DeathAdder mouse is sleek and super-super-sensitive. On Amazon, it’s on sale for $49.94, which is 20% off it’s normal price and a good deal no matter which way you look at it! My son loves his Razer.

Razer gaming mouse, with the three-headed neon-green snake Razer logo.

 

With mouse pads, you want one that has a wide surface area, and is flat and smooth, for optimal gameplay. We like the Corsair MM200 because it is all of those things, AND it’s only $9.63 on Amazon, which is 43% off it’s normal price. It’s not fancy, but it’s durable.

 

 

For gaming monitors, you want wide-screen, high refresh rate, and excellent color. Usually, in our opinion, that means Acer, and for our wish list purposes, you want the Acer 34″ Predator Gaming X34  Curved UltraWide QHD Monitor. It’s curved, people. It’s $899 on Amazon, which is $100 off the original price of $999. It’s a lot, but hopefully, when you use the computer—either for your gaming purposes or to balance the checkbook—you’ll appreciate the fact that you can see more. I don’t know about you, but since I use two large screens and one small one at work, I find it hard to limit myself to the small screen of my laptop!

Acer Predator 34-inch curved monitor

 

Gaming Wish List for Console Gamers (PS4):

Say you or your teen/tween plays Overwatch on your PS4. What products make for the best experience? Can you game on console without any special equipment? Sure…easily, in fact. But a few minor adjustments can make a big difference in how much you enjoy your game time. A good controller, for instance, is vital when you’re in the thick of any game and don’t want to stop to wipe your sweaty hands. We recommend something like this, with a few modifications:

It’s $46.50, which is almost $20 off its normal price. I wouldn’t normally recommend a gold anything, but once you put these on, the color doesn’t matter:

 

I wouldn’t have thought the silicon controller cover would be necessary, but it’s a huge help when I’m in  furiously gaming and my hands are sweaty! They’re not on sale, but they’re only $9.99, which is a good price. I don’t use the joystick covers, but my son loves them.

Believe it or not, that’s all I’d recommend. You could spend a lot of money on fancy gaming chairs, but they take up a lot of space and are expensive. You could also spend oodles on good headsets, but they’re usefulness is debatable, I think. What I would advise instead is this:

This pillow serves two purposes:

  1. It warns people that you’re in your “gaming mode.”
  2. It provides comfort and support to the neck while gaming.

Maybe I’m one of the few that likes to be comfortable while I’m gaming.  And this pillow’s less than $10 on Amazon. I want that so bad, I’m tempted to get it right now.

Xbox One

If you do racing games at all, a good steering wheel and gas pedal system makes them so much easier and immersive. But we can’t recommend one! Consider this: we recommend NOT getting one. We got the Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel last Christmas, but it broke within two days of its first use. We’ve bought a handful of them since last Christmas, and none of them have worked with all games and with anywhere the kind of sensitivity needed.

 

The torso of a robot holding a white kitten, under the words "The Talos Principle"

Video Game Deal/Review: Talos Principle – Puzzling Yet Relaxing

Sometimes us Mom Gamers want to be able to game and relax at the same time, after a day, say, of chauffeuring, making dinner, helping with homework, etc. Most video games are not meant to relax–but Talos Principle by UI Entertainment does, while also being fun. It’s a puzzle game full of progressively-harder mazes that the player has to overcome to win. And it’s only $29.99 on Amazon!

What Is Talos Principle About?

From GameFaqs.com:

As if awakening from a deep sleep, you find yourself in a strange, contradictory world of ancient ruins and advanced technology. Tasked by your creator with solving a series of increasingly complex puzzles, you must decide whether to have faith, or…ask the difficult questions: Who are you? What is your purpose and what are you going to do about it?

Who Would Like Talos Principle, And Why?

You have to solve the puzzles to discover the story; it’s not laid out for you at the beginning. The graphics are satisfactory, but not cinematic or fancy by any stretch, and it did freeze on me occasionally. There are a good variety of environments, as dictated somewhat by the storyline. The music is wonderful, peaceful, with a “new age” kind of feel. The story is told through subtle clues revealed by the creator’s voice and various computer logs.  The puzzles that make up the storyline include elements that start off simply enough. For instance, at the beginning, the player uses “jammers” that look like industrial tripod-mounted cameras to stop wandering bomb balls, freeze turret guns, or open force field gateways. As the player progresses, it encounters not only jammers but also laser connectors, laser-disrupting boxes, and other contraptions. Even though I found several levels that seemed impassable. I kept trying until I figured out the right path, timing, and configuration of devices. Then, I felt like a genius.

Gamers who like brain teasers will like Talos Principle, as will “non-gamers” who’re just looking for something to do to keep their mind active while letting their body wind down. My teenager would be bored by this game, if he had time to play it after school, homework, friends, Fortnite, Overwatch, and Forza. There is no swearing, sex, or even violence that I’m aware of, unless you count your robot avatar being blown up if it makes a wrong choice in a puzzle.

What’s The Deal?

Talos Principle for PS4 is $29.99 on Amazon (used for $15.99).  It’s only available on PS4.

Lego Superman melting an iron chest with his laser vision, while Lego Batman and Lego Robin look on.

Lego Batman for the PS3: Game Review and Deal

I mentioned before that I’m all about the Lego video games, so today I’d like to tell you about Lego Batman for the PS3. Of all the platforms and consoles that we have (PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, Nintendo 64, Atari), I’ve enjoyed it for the sheer number of games available for it, the quality of those games, and its ease of use. I know it has its drawbacks, as any console does, but it’s worked well for me. There are 19 Lego games available for the PS3, and 3 Lego Batman games total. The first Lego Batman game came out on the PS2, and while I enjoyed it, it wasn’t as sophisticated as this version. Both Lego Batman 2 and 3 are available on the PS3 for good prices, and their gameplay is similar enough that I think my critique of 2 applies to 3 as well. They’re both super fun games that you can get for less than $15!

What Is Lego Batman 2 About?

From GameFAQS:

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is an Action-Adventure game set within the Batman universe, and filled with LEGO versions of heroes and villains from the Batman comic series, working together/against those from the Justice League comic series.

It’s set in Gotham City and surrounding areas, and brings in not just Batman but 50 other characters from the DC universe. Some of those characters you get as you play through Story Mode, which is the first phase of game play in which you follow the story line of the game from beginning to end in 15 levels. The rest you get in Free Play Mode, the second phase in which you go through the story line again with freedom to switch between characters and explore more. Each character has different suits, abilities, and weapons, like wall-walking and freeze ray, so the more characters you acquire, the more you can do in the game.

Lego Batman and Lego Robin in the Batcave

Who Would Like Lego Batman 2, And Why?

Parent and kid duos: The game can be one- or two-player, so this would be a good game for a parent and kid to play through. The game’s rated E10+ for cartoon violence, but kids as young as 8ish will understand how to play the game. It has a split-screen that stays very close to each character, so if your kid decides to go off and explore, not caring about following the storyline or finding any collectibles, you as the parent will only have half a screen to play with, which might make you feel like you have blinders on. The split screen also slows down the frame rate some, but not enough to detract from the gameplay.

Lego Superman melting an iron chest with his laser vision, while Lego Batman and Lego Robin look on.

Fans of Batman: It’s fun to explore Gotham City as one of the Batman characters, and it’s a relatively good-sized hub from which all of the levels “branch off.”

Fans of RPGs: If you love going around completing quests and finding things, like me, you will love this game.

Fans of Lego video games in general…keeping in mind that you have to go through the entire world to find all the red bricks instead of them looking for them in the levels. This means that there aren’t as many fun puzzles and hidden rooms etc. as in other Lego games, so it’s not as “big,” but still plenty big enough to provide hours upon hours of enjoyment. It’s gameplay that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Also, the graphics weren’t as elaborate as some other Lego games, like Lego Lord of the Rings, but they were sufficient.

What’s The Deal?

You can get Lego Batman 2 for the PS3 for $14.99! New, not used! That’s such a good deal! It’s $19.99 on GameStop’s site, although you can get a pre-owned copy for $11.99.

Lego Lex Luthor trying to shoot Superman with a fancy laser gun. Wonder Woman gazing at Lex Luthor's tower, at night in front of a full moon.

a picture of the cases of five video games: Lego The Incredibles (PS4), Rocket League (Xbox), WRC (PS4), and Robinson: The Journey (PS4). Not pictured, but reviewed in post: Lego Lord of the Rings video game

Game Review and Two Game Deals: Lego Lord of the Rings for PS3

So, this was my haul from Gamestop today, and I’m so excited! I got a great deal on some of them, and one of them is a new Lego game. I am ALL about the Lego games. I’ve got some great game deals to share with you, one of which is on the Lego Lord of the Rings video game!

Gamestop Deal

Gamestop has a buy-two-get-one-free-deal going on, so I got the top three games for $67.98. The top one alone, Robinson: The Journey is $84.99 on Amazon. Altogether, on Amazon, just those three are $125. My kids have loved the skate games, and I like that they’re T-rated. I’ll put up a review of Robinson and WRC in a couple of weeks.

The Rocket League is cars playing soccer. It’s E and just a fun, relatively easy game to play.

And Lego Incredibles! I’m so excited for this one! I own and have played through all of the Lego video games, and this one just came out, so I’m excited to play it and add it to my list of completed Lego Games.

Lego Lord of the Rings Review and Deal

Speaking of which, I also found a great deal on another Lego game that I’ve played and thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend Lego Lord of the Rings  for PS3 for serious- and non-serious gamers alike. It’s only $13.20 on Amazon right now, and it’s easy but engaging. You can play through just the story mode, basically acting out the the Lord of the Rings movie with your avatar, or you can play it all the way through the Free Play mode, which is the same as Story mode but with more freedom to wander around and find hidden collectibles.

Happy gaming! I would love to know if any of you have played any of these games, and what you thought?

Video Game Review: Horizon Zero Dawn for PS4: Rich Gameplay, Minimal “Teen” Content

Do you hear that? It’s the Hallelujah Chorus being sung by thousands of moms who play video games and/or have kids that play video games, upon realizing that a new feature of HeadOverTales.com will be reviews of video games from both a gamer’s perspective and a mother’s perspective.

via GIPHY

No longer will those mothers have to piece together information about games their teens are playing or that they themselves want to play from inarticulate, profanity-using, indiscriminate gamers on YouTube, reviews on Amazon, and ratings on CommonSenseMedia.Org. Those are all great resources, but hopefully, the reviews and deal discoveries I provide will provide a more comprehensive picture. Video games played well and appropriately can be really fun.

What’s The Game?

Courtesy of Amazon

The first game I’ll be reviewing will be Horizon Zero Dawn by Guerrilla Games. It’s an RPG (role-playing game) set on a far-future Earth where most of humanity has been wiped out by a race of machines that vaguely resemble the animals we have now, but that are bigger, much more powerful, feed on organic material, and self-replicate exponentially faster than humans. What humanity does survives lives in relatively primitive tribes, with no clue about what happened before. The main character, Aloy, starts out as a little girl raised only by a man she knows as Rost, in isolation for no known reason. He trains her to fight and be tough, and when she gets older, ends up being asked by the very tribe who exiled her to seek answers to the question of why half their tribe was killed. What she finds during that quest, and who finds her, is bigger and more mysterious than she could have ever imagined, even reaching back centuries.

 

The storyline is rich, easy to follow, and factors in the personal choices of the player in terms of how Aloy responds to certain situations. She is usually offered three options; I’ll call them the tough one, the passive one, and the nice one, for lack of better terms. The graphics are amazing, showing what places like Denver, CO, Lake Powell, southern Utah, and Alaska would look like in this kind of future. Aloy mostly fights machines, but sometimes has to clear bandit camps and save fellow seekers from bandits who would kill them and leave them for dead, so there is some bloodshed. There are also a few swear swords (mostly the D-word) in the narrative. There’s no nudity. There are plenty of hours of entertainment and thought to be had, whether one just wants to play through the game’s story, which takes a gamer to about 70% of the way through the game, or find all the collectibles and complete all the side quests, which takes a gamer to the full 100%. I’m almost to 100%. There are the usual health and skill points to be acquired, as well as currency to be earned and spent, so I recommend this game for kids 10 and up. Any younger than that, they’re likely to get frustrated and give up.

 

Courtesy of Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s The Deal?

When we bought our copy of Horizon Zero Dawn last year on Amazon, it was $60. The Frozen Wilds expansion pack (which I also highly recommend) was an additional $20. You can get the digital code for the whole thing (only for PS4) on Amazon now for $37.98, which is less than half of what we got it for . Totally worth it. And if you buy from this link, I get a small commission as an Amazon affiliate that enables me to keep writing these reviews and finding deals for you guys!