Gaming over the holidays: An exercise in probability

Over the past few weeks I’ve invested most of my gaming time into two distinctly different games: Final Fantasy Fables – Chocobo Tales by Square Enix and Rebellion’s LucasArts published Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron. Besides being games with unnecessarily long titles, they both incorporated some good educational lessons.

Chocobo Tales features a unique mix of minigames and card battling with a RPG story that ties them together. Any game where the bad guy is an evil book (well at least an evil spirit trapped inside a book) is a must play for librarians. The game itself is not revolutionary and really is a mixed bag with a focus on winning minigames to gain cards in order to battle against the evil book. Reviewers docked it points for not being enough of one or the other.

I agree that it struggled to hold together during some of the minigames, but there was enough variety to enjoy almost all the games. The mix of 3D and a “pop-up book” like cel shaded graphics had enough charm to keep me playing. While the game is intended for a younger audience it was an enjoyable play.

This was my first experience with a card battling video game. Playing online against others in America and Japan was a good learning experience. Although there is some randomness to the battles, I was doing probability calculations constantly.

Both of my boys continue playing through the minigames, and now my oldest has played some of the card battles as well. He’s started to learn the “rock-paper-scissors” elements of the card battles. The logic skills he is building are a good start to the type of “if / then” associations he’ll do later in school and life.

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