by Wayne Parker
So many gaming systems seem to pull gamers away from other rather than into social interaction. The GameWave and the associated ZapIt games go the other direction–with six people able to play every game, family interaction increases and relationships are built rather than strained.
A System Dads Can Love
I have to admit–I am not a gamer. Maybe I just dont take the time to sit down and master the controller or the games with our familys GameCube, or maybe I am just not wired like my children seem to be. Don’t get me wrongI have always loved games, I just can’t seem to get the electronic versions. And I have always been wary of some of the electronic games that seem to me to teach or at least support values that are not consistent with those of our family.
So for dads like me that love the games I grew up with but wish I had some basic video gaming skill, the GameWave is the penultimate gaming system. And add to the GameWave the ZapIt game series that is made for the GameWave, you have the perfect system with games that the whole family can enjoy.
Getting Started with GameWave
The foundation of the Game Wave system is the console. It has a sleek silver case that looks good on our entertainment center. It also has the advantage of playing standard DVD movies as well, so it can replace your DVD player. The distinguishing feature of the GameWave console is the ability to have six players involved in a game with color coded wireless handsets. (The basic GameWave unit comes with four controllers; buying two additional controllers will cost you about $30).
When we opened up the package, the GameWave came with every easy and understandable instructions for connecting to the television. It connects with either an S-Video cable or the standard three-jack red-yellow-white video connectors. Connect to the TV, put batteries in the controllers and plug in the console to an electrical outlet, and you are ready to go.
The GameWave Games
The ZapIt games that provide the game software are very cool. Their graphics and sound are superbcertainly not up to the Wii standard, but better than many I have seen on GameCubes. The games are easy to learneach one has an interactive video tutorial to help you get familiar with the game and the rules. The first game we tried was Lock5, which is an electronic version of Yahtzee, one of my favorite games growing up. It was fun to introduce my kids and their friends to this version of the game. We also enjoyed Rewind2005, which is a trivia game based on news, events and popular culture of 2005. But unlike Trivial Pursuit, this game is rich in graphics, multimedia presentations and stereo sound.
The game Letter Zap is similar again to a board game, Boggle, but with updated words, clues and excellent graphics. And then there is the trivia series known as 4 Degreesthe Arc of Trivia. With two standard editions and a Bible trivia edition, this game once again includes lots of multimedia video clips, photos and sounds and will test even the most serious trivia buff in your family.
ZapIt has recently added two new games to the list and has announced the development of two others, including a Sudoku game.
Strengths and Weaknesses
But with all of the stellar graphics and sounds, my favorite part of the GameWave is the ability to have up to six people playing the game at the same time. So many gamers I know connect to the game console, put on headphones and check out of the real world for a time. With the GameWave, the social withdrawal goes away quickly and is replaced with a little real-world competition and high levels of social interaction, including high fives and chest bumps at the end of some of the games.
The only weakness in the system that we found is a victim of its strengths. The multiple controllers for playing games are great, but if you want to watch a DVD, or when you first set up a game to play, make sure and collect all the controllers except one. Each controller has equal call on the system, so if all the controllers are in the hands of your kids, it may be tough to pick the right scene on the DVD. Designating one of the controllers as a master controller that trumps the others ought to be a feature that GameWave includes in its next generation.
For a great family interactive experience that will attract gamers and non-gamers alike, the GameWave has it all. It has become a welcome addition to our family’s quality time tool box.