Boy Tries To Sell Xbox To Buy His Sister a Present, Community Steps up To Help

Boy tries to sell xbox to buy sister birthday present
(Facebook/elkhart online garage sale)

They may fight seemingly non-stop, they may poke fun at each other or play elaborate pranks, but there’s nothing quite as pure as the bond between siblings. Recently, a 13-year-old from Elkhart, Indiana took to Facebook to sell his Xbox. When someone from the Facebook group started asking questions, Ashton Wagoner explained that something (or someone) in his life was more important than his beloved gaming system – his sister.

When Ashton Wagoner logged onto Facebook in mid-September, he posted his Xbox to a community garage sale page for a fair price. The post read, “Works perfectly fine comes with three games all the cords and one wired controller lowest is $130.”

Impressive entrepreneurial spirit for someone who, until this year, needed parental permission to watch the 4th Harry Potter movie. A 13-year-old boy giving up his Xbox of his own free will is unusual, at best. A curious member of the Facebook group realized just how strange it was for a kid to get rid of his gaming system (in the middle of a pandemic, no less), and decided to get some more information.

A Facebook user named Steve commented in response to Ashton’s post, “Hey kid… what you need the money for? I see you’re selling a bike too… What’s up?”

In the best imaginable response, the big-hearted big brother explained, “It’s my baby sis 1 bday sat so I’m trying to get her a present and trying to get a new bike.”

Yes. A 13-year-old boy tried to sell his Xbox, AND HIS OWN BIKE, to surprise his baby sister with a bike of her own. In under a week, Ashton’s post has been shared over 19,000 times. People from all over the world started pitching in to help Ashton make his sister’s first birthday a memorable one. According to Ashton’s dad, the generous teen collected over $4,500.

Ashton Wagoner and I shopping for his baby sister..

Posted by Angee Joyner on Friday, September 18, 2020

Ashton’s lucky little sister isn’t just getting a bike – he also bought her a kid’s electric car, a Mickey Mouse costume, and more. Oh, and he got to keep his Xbox.

Mario Kart Event Recap: The Dad Gaming League, Sponsored By Planters

(The Dad Gaming League)

Hey gamers. We did it. AGAIN. We’ve completed the second event for The Dad Gaming League, which we couldn’t have done without our sponsor, Planters.

We had 200+ people sign up for the Mario Kart event, which is outstanding!

Thank you to all the racers who showed up to the track, and shout out to our streaming hosts, Joel and Bayesic.

On September 18, we ran private tournaments for three categories. Battle Mode (6 battles), 150cc (12 races at high speed), and 200cc (12 races at ludicrous speed), streamed on The Dad Gaming’s Twitch channel.

We invited the top 12 of both the 150cc and 200cc categories back for the Grand Finals and the results were decisive, to say the least! Your 2020 The Dad Gaming League champion Mario Kart-er is: Mc (Brad McCaffrey).

We gave away prizes for the top three racers in ALL categories. As always, in the spirit of casual dad gaming, we also gave away a handful of random prizes, prizes to the first and last place racer in the first race with Joel (in both 150cc and 200cc), and possibly even some other surprise winners!

Prize winners are getting an epic loot box, with an official The Dad Gaming esports jersey and delicious Planters snacks. (First and second place in the Grand Finals also get $100!)

Congratulations to the champ, Mc, and all of the prize winners!

This was so much fun, everyone brought their A game and we saw some fantastic racers out there on the track.

Our next event is Super Smash Bros on October 9. Sign up now at thedadgaming.com. Then we have Rocket League (November, go here for a great Rocket League primer!), Apex Legends (December), and more!

If you have suggestions or ideas on how we can continue making these events better, we’d love to hear them. Email [email protected]. The Dad Gaming community is the best.

Squad up. Join The Dad Gaming FB group and Discord. Follow The Dad Gaming on Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Mario Kart Results

Battles:

12. 1genxer

11. TootLaRoo

10. M.A.T.

9. Solace

8. TJ

7. Matthew

6. Bayesic

5. MickyWinz

4. ElRey

3. SharkBait

2. Kaokoo333

1. Mc

 

150cc:

12. MickyWinz

11. Snock73

10. Kristie517

9. TootsLaRoo

8. Hunna

7. Josh

6. CampBean

5. SharkBait

4. GmrDad

3. Bayesic

2. MrTeets

1. Mc

 

200cc:

12. TootsLaRoo

11. Hunna

10. ElRey

9. Trey

8. thedadJOEL

7. Rhino

6. Kristie517

5. GmrDad

4. Bayesic

3. SharkBait

2. Mc

1. MickyWinz

 

Grand Finals – 150cc:

12. Ruben

11. CampBean

10. Snock73

9. GmrDad

8. MrTeets

7. TootsLaRoo

6. SharkBait

5. Hunna

4. Kristie517

3. MickyWinz

2. Bayesic

1. Mc

 

Grand Finals – 200cc:

12. Ryan’s Dad

11. GmrDad

10. ElRey

9. thedadJOEL

8. Hunna

7. TootsLaRoo

6. Kristie517

5. Rhino

4. MickyWinz

3. SharkBait

2. Bayesic

1. Mc

This post was sponsored by:
Planters

Netflix Teases Their ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’ Animated Series

Resident Evil Teaser
(Netflix)

Recently, Netflix announced that they were entering the Resident Evil business.

We shared the news that the streaming platform was developing a new Resident Evil TV show that would feature an original story set within the Resident Evil world, an eight-episode series that will take place over two timelines.

But before we see frame one of that, we’re getting an entirely new Resident Evil movie, but not with Mill Jovovich. Unless she lends her voice. Because this new Resident Evil movie is an anime one, and you can see a trailer.

There’s not much to it, and there is precious little info about it, but the movie, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, features Resident Evil 2 protagonists Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy.

“[Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness] is scheduled for a global launch in 2021 exclusively on Netflix. Three years after 2017’s CG film Resident Evil: Vendetta, technology has further evolved, creating the groundwork for a new series in unprecedented full 3DCG animation,” Netflix said about the original series in a new statement. “Since the first game was released in 1996 on Sony PlayStation, the Resident Evil series is nearing its 25th anniversary. With the series continuing to evolve even now, a new title carves itself into the series’ history. This series is entitled RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness.”

The movie is set to hit Netflix in 2021. Check out the trailer:

Super Mario Bros. Celebrates 35th Anniversary With Revamped Game & Watch Handheld

Nintendo Game & Watch
(YouTube/Nintendo)

Super Mario is having one heck of a 35th-anniversary celebration, and since Nintendo says the celebration will continue until March of 2021, things are just heating up. So far, brands like Hasbro and Puma have joined the party, bringing us Mario-themed board games and some bright as heck Super Mario sneakers. Finally, Nintendo has stepped up with an anniversary offering of their own – they’ve decided to release an updated (but still completely retro-looking) version of the OG, the Game & Watch handheld.

The Game & Watch series was a line of handheld devices sold by Nintendo from 1980-1991, aptly named for the device’s two functions – playing games and telling time. Each device featured a single game and a small digital clock display in the corner of the screen. During a Nintendo Direct Showcase, Nintendo announced that the Game & Watch was making a comeback in honor of Super Mario’s 35th.

Unlike the original, the upgraded Game & Watch has a color display, and more than 12 pixels. For the ultimate hit of nostalgia, Super Mario Bros will come pre-loaded on the handheld system, along with Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, and the classic Game & Watch Ball (though this version will feature Mario instead of the handheld system’s mascot, Mr. Game & Watch).

In the 40 years since the gaming system was originally released, Nintendo also made some improvements on the “watch” portion of the Game & Watch by adding a Mario-themed clock and a fully-functional alarm (which, to be fair, was present in some of the handheld device’s later versions). The 2020 Game & Watch has the same classic look and gameplay as the original – ah, the simplicity of the “+” control pad.

In another fun Mario-themed twist, the handheld also has a screensaver with a variety of animations – 35 of them, to be exact, one for each year we have known and loved the Super Mario Bros franchise.

Keep your eyes open and your Google alerts refreshed, the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Game & Watch goes on sale on November 13th for $49.99.

Puma Celebrates Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary With Leveled-up Nintendo Sneakers

Nintendo Super Mario Puma Shoes
(Puma.com)

35 has been quite the year for our favorite star-powered Italian plumber. Mario has become so deeply ingrained in the world of video games that even non-gamers can’t help but love the goomba-hopping hero. Nintendo is celebrating Super Mario’s 35th anniversary with a slew of events from September of 2020 to March of 2021, making sure this coin-grabbing hero is properly appreciated after decades of hard work. There will be in-game events, new merch, and exciting Super Mario news released throughout. Even Hasbro joined the party, releasing Mario-themed Jenga and Monopoly games, proving that Mario is a force to be reckoned with in the real world, not just on screens.

The latest brand to jump on the Mario Kart is none other than the shoe giant, Puma. For a while, there were whispers of a collaboration between Nintendo and Puma, but these iconic shoes were only recently confirmed. Nintendo took to Twitter in early September to show off these colorful kicks, captioning the photo, “Ready to Super Jump for #SuperMario35? The RS-Dreamer #SuperMario 64 from @PUMAHoops is available for purchase starting tomorrow!”

You could run, jump, collect coins, and crush goombas all day in these bad boys. The RS-Dreamer Super Mario 64™ Basketball Shoes boast lightweight cushioning, full-coverage grip, and a snug fit. Oh yeah, and they look cool as hell.

The Puma website states, “When it comes to dreaming, Nintendo takes first place. Name a bigger legend than the red-hat-rocking, bad-guy-stopping Mario™ – you can’t. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Nintendo to bring you the RS-Dreamer Super Mario 64™. They’re court ready with PUMA Hoops tech like ProFoam and high-abrasion rubber, and feature Super Mario 64™ design straight out of the iconic game. Put up video-game numbers while paying tribute to one of the biggest dreamers in the world. Never sleeping. Always dreaming. The game is never over.”

The RS-Dreamer Super Mario 64™ Basketball Shoes are available in both adult ($125) and Junior sizes ($100) directly from Puma’s website. No word on how long these brightly-colored pumps will be available, so if celebratory shoes are your thing, collect your very own pair today (if you have enough coins, that is).

So, Your Kid Wants To Be A Flareon? Here Are Eevee Evolutions You Need To Know

Eevee evolutions
Olivia Harris /Getty (Getty/Olivia Harris)

If you’re still playing Pokemon GO, you’re not alone. As a matter of fact, four years into its run Pokemon GO is still one of the most popular gaming apps. It encourages some obsessive behaviors, sure. But, it’s also a shit ton of fun and is just the encouragement our kids (read: “we”) need to get off our butts and get moving. It accidentally encouraged exercising, which was pretty great. And now, during this time of prolonged social distancing, it has become a welcome excuse to go out into the world while still giving yourself space. There’s nothing better right now than going to the park and seeing people… but also not having to actually, you know, talk to them.

And if you or your kids are obsessively playing Pokemon GO, there’s a good chance you’re also obsessively trying to evolve an Eevee. Thanks to the game, Eevee has become one of the most popular and played Pokemon… mostly due to the fact that there are just so many variations, known as “evolutions.” Do you know all the evolutionary options, their nicknames, and how to get them? Clearly not, since you’re here. So, let’s get started.

Eevee Evolutions And Nicknames

Espeon: Sakura
Flareon: Pyro
Glaceon: Rea
Jolteon: Sparky
Leafeon: Linnea
Umbreon: Tamao
Vaporeon: Rainer

How to Evolve Your Eevee

According to literally everyone, the easiest ways to guarantee you get the Eevee you want is to follow a two-step process.
1 Rename your Eevee by the desired nickname.
2. Collect 25 candies
3. Evolve your Eevee

There are other ways, though…

For the Original Evolutions: Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon Evolutions

There’s only one option here and that’s to keep catching Eevies, renaming them, earning 25 candies and evolving your Eevees into Flareon, Jolteon and Vaporeon.

For Espeon and Umbreon

Espeon and Umbreon were the next generation of Eevee evolutions. You can stick to the nicknaming tricks or make your Eevee your “buddy.” Everywhere you go, Eevee will follow you, like the world’s cutest and craziest looking puppy. After you walk about six and a half miles, you can evolve your Eevee. How do you determine if you’ll Eevee into Espeon or Umbreon? It depends on the time of day. If the Pokemon GO screen displays its nighttime interface, your Eevee will evolve into Umbreon. During the day? Eevee evolves into Espeon. Choose which one you want and evolve accordingly.

How to nab Leafeon and Glaceon Eevee Evolutions

Welcome to Generation 4 of Pokemon GO! For these evolutions, you’ll need to put a little more skin into the game…literally and figuratively. The best way to get a Leafeon or Glaceon is to head to the store and spend 200 coins on either the Mossy Lure (for Leafeon) or the Glacial Lure (Glaceon). Once you apply the lure, it will work just as the name suggestions and lure that specific evolution of Eevee so you can catch them. Once you’ve caught the Eevee with your specific lure, you can evolve them and they’ll take on that evolution.

Up Next: Sylveon

Pokemon GO has promised the next evolution of Eevee, Sylveon will be available in 2020. So far, fans are still waiting (somewhat) patiently.

Want More Help

We are, by no means, suggesting you cheat. If, however, you were into that kind of thing, though, this video offers some tips. *wink, wink*

 

The Dad Gaming Bootcamp: Super Smash Bros and The Art of Not Rage Quitting

(The Dad Gaming League)

(Expert advice from TDG Super Smash Bros Champ Ivan Bunag,  TDG Admin Rueben Qualls and Super Smash Bros Rage Quitter, Jared Warner)

There’s something different about Smash Bros from other fighting games. Most notable is that instead of damaging health and decreasing a life bar, you inflict damage that makes it easier to knock your opponent off the board. That makes for much more of a nail-biting finish to each round because you never know exactly when someone’s going to get sent flying into space. Also, as it happens, it causes losing a round to fill me with a deep and unprecedented fury as though a black hole has ripped a tear in the universe deep in my stomach.

Something about the combination of the bright light that engulfs you as you fall to your doom and the fact that I know freakin’ Jigglypuff is sitting there looking smug as my R.O.B -AN ADVANCED ROBOT WHO SHOULD NOT BE DEFEATED BY A MARSHMALLOW-  gets jettisoned into the ether…I just…ooooooooooooo it gets me worked up. So to help all the dads out there who are new to Smash, we put together this handy rage-avoidance guide to prepare you for our Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tournament!

First off, here’s how the event will go down. Sign up here. Then, on October 9, we’ll all pop a fresh pack of Planters Pop & Pour, and settle in for an elimination bracket. If we have enough signups, we’ll hold two of these. The top 16 – or 32 – will then be invited back for a Double Elimination Grand Final Showdown to secure ULTIMATE BRAGGING RIGHTS.  In order to play in this tournament, you will need Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a Switch console, Nintendo Online, and the determination of Bowser taking his opponent on a flying slam off-stage.  What you do NOT need is to be any good at the game. Just take it from me.

Sign up here, and now let’s learn to overcome our demons…

What is SSBU?

Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game at its core. As we talked about before, though, unlike arcade classics such as  “Boulevard Warriors” and “Fatal Konflict” the idea is to inflict a higher percentage of damage to your opponent, making it easier to throw them off the board and send me into a rage spiral. It’s kinda like a sumo wrestling match, but with Pikachu and Donkey Kong. 

Lingo

  • Stock – your “lives” in a match. Your starting stock can be altered in the game settings.
  • Blast Zone – The outside edges of each stage – your goal is to knock opponents into this, and you lose a stock when you touch it. Trust me, you’ll know. 
  • Normals or Tilts– the basic A-button attach. There are 4 variations based on also pressing on the direction pad. 
  • Specials – the Special  B-button attach. Again, 4 directional variations. These are character-specific moves, so experiment with these to find your “Mains” 
  • Smashes – 3 extra powerful attacks performed by pressing A, but with a hard/fast directional input.
  • Double Jump – all characters can perform a double jump while airborne, and some can even perform multiple jumps (Kirby and Jigglypuff have 5, the smushy jerks). You can use these to pull yourself back from the Blast Zones.
  • Rolling – This is a quick dash-move that makes you invincible for a brief second. It’s good for getting out of a tight fix. Press the directional button while holding the shield button at the same time. 
  • Recovery – The strategy I just described – trying to get back on the board from the Blast Zone so you don’t lose a stock. 
  • Edge Guard – attempting to prevent your opponent from recovering back to the stage. Usually standing on the edge yourself shooting or attacking them so they can’t quite land.
  • Knockback – the force and distance you travel when hit by an attack
  • Percent or Damage – how much damage you have taken on your current stock. As your percentage increases, so does your knockback, making it easier to send you flying into the Blast Zone. 

HOW TO NOT LOSE YOUR COOL

Because Smash is an otherwise straight-forward fighting game, the strategies here are pretty simple to learn but difficult to master.

Learn the “Neutral”  – AKA: Footsies
Have you ever watched any boxing or MMA fights and noticed that those guys don’t throw haymakers and power hits all the time? They only go for it when they are confident it will land. Spamming the slow but powerful hits is a good way to get KO’d quickly. Use quick “safe” moves to test their opponent; momentum can shift quickly in a Smash Bros. match, so sometimes reverting back to the neutral game may be the best choice.

Know Your Character
SSBU currently fields a roster of 74 characters that all handle differently and have different abilities. Knowing one inside and out is difficult enough, trying to generalize that can just dilute your abilities. This is why fight gamers like to have a “Main” – the character they rely on and know how to live in. Definitely play the field at first and be willing to try new things, but when it’s time for a tournament, you’ll want to play with a character you know like the back of your hand. 

Limit Your Rolls
While rolling is an essential tool for bobbing and weaving around a fight, doing it too much gets predictable, allowing your opponent to lay the smackdown on you. They also have diminishing returns, and gradually make you more vulnerable. It’s good to float like a butterfly, but you gotta learn the stinging/bee part, too.

Use Your Shield
Oh how I wish I knew about this the first twenty times I played Smash back in college. Many newer players keep their foot on the attack pedal, forgetting that the shield button even exists. Playing defense doesn’t have to mean losing ground. You need to look for openings, not just button-mash. The game is fast paced, but I promise you’ll do better if you stand your ground and get acclimated to that speed, rather than trying to just hail mary your way through. 

Don’t Burn Your Double Jump
Oh no! You got knocked off the stage! Don’t panic, you have a lot of resources you can use to help you recover, the best of which is your double jump! However, and this is a big instinct to learn to beat – if you use it too soon, but ar being edge guarded, or are just too far away, you’ll still fall into a KO.

Recover Low
If you are recovering – as in trying to get back on the board, not…like, recovering emotionally – it’s usually safer to drop below the stage and approach it from below. It’s harder and riskier for most opponents to edge guard against someone below the stage as opposed to above. 

Pop & Pour
Smash Bros is a fast-paced game, and the tide can change swiftly. Many an overconfident player has found themselves blasting out unexpectedly after reaching for a snack or a drink. Planters Pop & Pour are designed to give you a quick, one-handed snack fix so you don’t lose focus on what’s important. 

Don’t Spam Your Smashes
SSBU has a mechanic that reduces the effectiveness of subsequent uses of attacks. Sometimes it will be better to utilize the weaker attacks that are better at combo-ing, then following up with a quality smash more likely to send them into a blast zone.

Mix It Up and Adapt
Simply put, try to be as unpredictable as you can. If you start showing patterns, your opponent will likely pick up on those and hit you at your most vulnerable moments.

Practice, Practice, Practice!
There’s a training mode in the game, which is a great way to find your Main and get used to the moves and rhythm of the game. 

Watch The Pros
Join The Dad Gaming Smash Bros group and find resources to learn from the best! There are a ton of character-specific and tutorial videos online, and just watching people who are good at the game can help you play better! 

Okay, that’s enough to get you going. I can’t promise you’ll win every round without a lot of practice, but if I’d known these tips when I got started, I’d probably have much better blood pressure. Hop into some rounds with The Dad Gaming to get warmed up, stock up on some Pop & Pours, and then we’ll see you on October 9th!

This article and The Dad Gaming League are sponsored by Planters. Enjoy delicious snacks without gunking up your controller with Planters Pop and Pour

This post was sponsored by:
Planters

“RockyNoHands” Becomes First Quadriplegic Signed by Pro Esports Organization

Rockynohands first quadriplegic in professional esports
(YouTube/Shot Callers Esports)

Before age 19, Rocky Stoutenburgh was just your average teen. He played sports in high school, and after graduation, he began working full-time. In 2006, while wrestling and messing around with his friends, Rocky was dropped on his head. Shocked and confused, the 19-year-old realized he was unable to move. Rocky was rushed to the hospital, and through the whirlwind of doctors and scans, the truth began to sink in. Rocky had a broken C3 vertebrae in his neck, and though at first, he maintained hope that life could return to normal, Rocky soon faced the reality that he would never walk again.

Rocky pushed through months of physical therapy, but the paralysis remained. He had to figure out a way to move forward somehow, completely restructuring the way he envisioned his life to align with his new reality. Unsure of what else to do, Rocky began to watch his brother Andrew play video games, reminding him of the games he played as a kid. Andrew didn’t want his brother on the sidelines though, he wanted Rocky to play. Andrew did some digging and found a modified controller called a quad stick, allowing Rocky to play using his mouth.

Following his accident, Rocky was severely depressed. Throughout his life, he had been extremely active – playing sports and going out whenever he had the opportunity. The things that filled his time and gave him joy before the accident were no longer options. But Rocky began to pour his energy into video games, competing and building up skills in an activity where his quadriplegia didn’t limit him.

Rocky began to stream, going by the username RockyNoHands, and immediately the Twitch community was captivated – not only because of his admittedly unique playing style, but because he was good. Really freaking good.

“I started streaming. I got really popular, started playing games like Club G and Fortnite that are very competitive and I started getting good at them and I got a couple Guiness World Records,” Rocky told FOX2.

Over the summer, Rocky entered a competition called “So You Think You Can Stream?” which aimed to discover little-known but highly talented streamers. Stoutenburgh, now 33, had gained popularity on Twitch and other social media platforms, but knew the other streamers were likely talented as well. Rocky amazed the judges, and ended up winning the competition.

Rocky not only won a cash prize and the knowledge that he more than held his own among his non-disabled peers, but the competition also landed him a contract with Luminosity Gaming. Now, he is the world’s first quadriplegic to be signed by a professional Esports organization. Can we get a W in the chat?

According to Forbes, Adrian Montgomery, chief executive of Enthusiast Gaming marveled, “Irrespective of anything else, he’s a high-quality gamer. He’s just flat-out good. Plus, he’s got this inspirational story. I think he is a trailblazer, and I think he is going to inspire other people to become gamers.”

Hacker Turns LEGO Super Mario Into Super Mario Controller

Hacker turns LEGO Super Mario into controller
(Twitter/r1ckp)

There are so many different ways to play video games. Some people prefer PC games, while others flock to the newest gaming consoles. You can use your keyboard, a wheel fit for Rainbow Road, or even your entire body. There’s really no wrong way to play video games, as long as you’re having a good time. A hacker from Hamburg decided to put that to the test, building one of the most unique gaming controllers in existence. VR may let you put yourself in the game, but Rick’s controller let him bring Super Mario out.

Self-proclaimed hardware hacker Rick recently took to Twitter to show the world his incredible creation, a LEGO Mario that he had programmed to act as a controller while playing Super Mario. Leaning LEGO Mario forward makes on-screen Mario move forward. Bouncing LEGO Mario on the LEGO pad makes him jump, and tapping him on the LEGO pipe makes him slide down the on-screen pipe (all of these components came with the LEGO Super Mario set).

“I heard about the Lego Mario set in a podcast and did not find any technical info or teardown on the web. I had a spare amazon giftcard, so I ordered one to reverse engineer it and see what’s in it,” Rick told The Dad. “My wife suggested to play Mario with it and I loved the idea.”

In just four hours, Rick managed to figure out how to intercept LEGO Super Mario’s Bluetooth signals and program them to communicate with the on-screen Super Mario. Rick is far from an amateur when it comes to programming and engineering, if that wasn’t clear. He tinkered around with electronics as a teen, studied electrical engineering at his university, and has worked in the fields of software development and electronic development for 15 years.

The Super Mario project was far from the first fascinating piece of technology Rick has created. “I build a lot of devices that intersect between art and electronics,” he explained.

He’s made a Robo-lamp that tracks objects, reminiscent of the inexplicably adorable Pixar lamp. A reverse-geocache box and pocket-sized device that measures the moisture of face masks are also among this talented hacker’s creations.

“I really like to inspire other people to build stuff” Rick explains, “especially if it‘s just for fun or because you can.”

Healthcare Worker and NFL Mom Gets Honored on Madden Cover

Miles Boykin Mom on Madden
(Twitter/MBoykin814)

Over the summer, Baltimore Ravens receiver Miles Boykin tweeted that his mom finally discovered he had used her credit card to pay for his Xbox live membership and that she had been paying it for the NFL player since he was in SIXTH GRADE! But, with some help from Xbox and EA Sports, he made up for it by helping his mom, a healthcare hero, become the first female to grace the cover of Madden.

Madden reigns supreme when it comes to sports video gaming (personally, I’m an NBA 2k and FIFA guy, but you can’t deny the Madden popularity over the years), even if the fabled Madden curse has become but a footnote in history thanks to Patrick Mahomes. And NFL players today, like Boykin, grew up playing Madden.

Still, it’s always funny when a professional athlete with a multi-million dollar contract has his mom paying for his Xbox live membership. He tried to intervene and take over the payments, but she said she might as well just keep picking up the tab.

Boykin appealed to Xbox for help. And they came through, in a big way.

Boykin’s mom, Felicia, is a healthcare worker, so Xbox and EA decided to help Miles show his appreciation for her. She not only received an Xbox Game Pass (so she’ll finally stop getting charged for Miles’ subscription), she also got a copy of Madden with herself on the cover, which will also go to some of her healthcare hero colleagues (along with new Xbox consoles).

Miles also takes the chance to tell his mom how much she’s meant to him and his development.

“You’ve always been there. You helped me become the man I am today and I will forever be grateful to you. I would give you the world if I could and you would still deserve better,” he said. “You not only supported my passion for football but also my second love of gaming.”

She also received a custom Xbox One controller, a pair of new Nike Air Zoom Pulses, and a pair of custom cleats for Miles to wear with her image painted on them.

It’s a great way for Miles to repay a parent, and I will now consider this the threshold for all kids going forward when it comes to recurring subscription fees.

Virtual Camp for Gamers Aims To Improve Physical and Mental Health

Virtual Camp for Gamers
(Facebook/Hybrid ATX)

Gaming. One of the most historically popular methods of leisure. Its benefits are countless: learn problem-solving and social skills, improve focus, memory, and hand-eye coordination. Don’t forget how beneficial they are to relationships. Video games are great! But they do sometimes have negative side effects, be they controller-smashing fits of rage, or addiction, which can lead to lapses in a proper diet, exercise, and exposure to sunlight.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Now there’s a virtual day camp called Hybrid ATX, where kids can learn healthy habits to amass alongside their gaming ones. Video games foster discipline, and that discipline can easily be used to pick up valuable life skills, according to camp founder Sam Gonzalez.

“We are going to lead by example,” said the 28-year-old Navy veteran in a recent interview. “To show that just because you play video games doesn’t mean you’re rotting your brain and you’re gonna die fat and lonely.”

Along with a team of counselors, kids aged 11-15 can play video games while learning about proper nutrition, the importance of emotional intelligence, and ways to nurture their physical well-being under quarantine. Sam often leads a group in some jumping jacks, a perfect way to kill time during those pesky load screens.

Hybrid ATX, whose slogan is “Building Better Gamers,” also offers kids lessons on the history and evolution of video games, and teaches them about the industry’s wide array of career opportunities. It’s an inclusive, uplifting environment, dedicated to showing kids that gaming can be a tool for positive change and growth and not just a means for saying abhorrent things to strangers on Xbox Live.

“There’s a lot of online toxicity, raging and really unhealthy behavior that happens,” Sam continued. “So we are looking at how to teach them 1) not to contribute to that, and 2) remove them from that when they see it.”

Now if can just offer a course on showing adult Animal Crossing enthusiasts how to channel their focus into real, actual housework, we’ll be golden.

You can check out the Hybrid ATX website right here, where you can find info about a free orientation week for students.

New Research Shows Video Games Can Help Kids Level Up In Real-Life Skills

Study Shows Video Games Improve Real-Life Skills
(Getty/10'000 Hours)

Video games are a well-loved pastime of kids and adults alike. Especially during COVID times, a little escapism is what we all need right about now. Screen time is harder than ever to limit, given that everything from school to entertainment is found, well, on a screen. Most of our kids’ recreational activities are on hold indefinitely, so letting them spend a bit more time than usual playing video games is par for the course. We know that playing video games with our daughters can improve their sense of happiness and wellbeing, and games like Fortnite can help improve kids’ problem-solving skills. Recently, there’s been some more good news on the video game front thanks to a study from the UK’s National Literacy Trust.

Video games are far from a mindless hobby. Chances are, you have at least one kid who has at one point spent up to 70% of their day telling you about Minecraft or Roblox – these games are both engaging and fascinating, driving kids to want to learn more about the simulated worlds they love so dearly. According to the study, 4 out of 5 kids reported reading materials related to video games at least once a month. Whether it’s a blog post, fan fiction, in-game communication, or books, there is no shortage of reading in the world of games. In fact, 1 in 3 survey-takers credited video games for making them better readers. Whether or not they were correct about their improved reading ability, it’s clear that video games at the very least improved their confidence in their reading skills.

In addition to encouraging kids to read, video games were also shown to help kids become better and more creative writers. 3 in 5 kids who played regular video games reported writing something related to video games at least once a month. The fact that so many of these pieces of writing (fan fiction, video game scripts, even game reviews) required kids to think creatively not only helped them refine their writing, but helped them expand their imagination.

Between November and December of 2019, 4,626 kids ages 11 to 16 from across the UK participated in the study. While the researchers didn’t evaluate reading ability, they did focus on interest. A challenging part of literacy for kids is getting them excited about reading, but this aspect of reading and writing is essential – improvement only comes with repeated practice. The UK study highlighted video games as an important entry point to literacy for kids, allowing them to practice reading and writing skills happily and willingly.

Another aspect of the study explored video games as a vehicle to teach kids empathy. What better way is there to practice putting yourself in someone else’s shoes than actually doing it? By embodying various characters through video games, kids are forced to think as if they had the motivations and struggles of a completely different person. Kids noticed that these skills transferred to real-world situations, with 2 out of 3 kids reporting that video games helped them imagine being someone else.

With more and more studies exploring the merits of video games, it’s becoming increasingly clear that they are far from the mindless time-wasters they were previously thought to be. Video games have the potential to provide benefits that extend far beyond a screen, from increased confidence in literacy to the ability to better empathize with others. Especially during quarantine, video games can also provide a much-needed boost to kids’ mental well-being by allowing them to immerse themselves in a story. So go ahead, give your kids a little extra screen time without the guilt (**this conclusion was definitely not written by your kid, we promise).

Happy gaming!

P.S. Join our gaming league for dads once your kids are finally in bed.

Computer Programmer Makes Doom Playable on a Pregnancy Test

doom pregnancy test
(Twitter/Foone)

Until 2020, pregnancy tests have had one primary function. A life-changing function, sure, but there have probably been many people who buy a pregnancy test and think, is this all there is? Shouldn’t this be able to do more? And now it can, as one computer programmer was able to play Doom on a pregnancy test.

It is no secret that our appreciation of gaming is vast here. We’ve seen the science that says playing video games with your kids is good for their health and beneficial to their development. We even have a gaming league just for dads. So when one computer programmer was able to take the “Will it run Doom?” challenge to the epic next level, we have to tip our collective The Dad cap.

Foone Turing was the programmer who was able to take the “Will it Doom?” challenge and just completely blow it out of the water. For those unfamiliar with the long history of the “Will it run Doom?” challenge, it basically boils down to people trying to play the legendary video game on appliances, gadgets, and anything that would surprise you. Think calculators, fridges, ATMs, etc.

And now, pregnancy tests.

Foon is a programmer who works with decades-old hardware, so if anyone was gonna pull off something like this, it was them. He started by posting a video of the classic game on Twitter but then was able to up the ante and actually play Doom on the pregnancy test using a wireless keyboard.

As he explains on Twitter, he did have to make a couple of essential changes, namely the CPU and screen, but it’s still amazing he could get the game to run in a pregnancy test shell on a 128-by-32 pixel display.

I will never look at a pregnancy test the same again.