Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Greatest Achievements this Year

Today was the last day of school and my husband and son had this brief but revealing conversation.

Son: This was my best year of school ever.
Husband: Why?
Son: Because I finished Mario and Luigi Partners in Time.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cover shots - Moshi Fandom

This is the first issue of Moshi Fandom. With permission from the editor, I am reproducing two excerpts, the acknowledgements/introduction and the Monster Central Monster of the Week feature.

Acknowledgements and Introduction

Hey everyone! Luna Luvli here! I'd just like to thank everyone for reading the first ever edition of Moshi Fandom. I'd also like to thank a few others. Firstly, my co-workers at M.F., you rock! Nextly, my little brother, aka MrMoshiMan2002, thanks for always believing in me. Third of all, to all the other Moshi Monsters fans in Ms. L's 4/5 class at ST. F school and to sk8tergirl and chy, my online pals. Thanks for just being with me through all this. Lastly, Ms. L for encouraging me to do this. Thank you! Anway, I hop you enjoy this issue and the issues to come. Thanks again!
Luna Luvli

Monster Central
The Monster of the Week is Poppet!

Poppets are one of the shyest monsters in Monstro City. The average poppet is pink with blue eyes and blue boots. They tend to be mostly played by girls and are the second most popular monsters in the game. Poppets are sweet, cuddly, and cute most of the time but will often cry if neglected. On Sludge Street, you can buy clothes for them at Poppet's Closet. Poppets can fit into almost any monster's clothes if they are re sized. The only monsters whose clothes Poppets can't wear are Luvlies and Diavlos. Poppets are also very loyal and trusting. Three very famous Poppets are the Pussycat Poppets, the biggest monsters in Monstro City.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Interview with a fanzine editor

My daughter has created a Moshi Monsters fanzine called Moshi Fandom. I interviewed her for this blog post. Her name in the magazine is Luna Luvli, so I refer to her by it in the interview. Thanks to my girl for consenting to this chat.

Interviewer: What inspired you to create Moshi Fandom magazine?

Luna Luvli: What really inspired me to do it was Moshi Monsters has an official magazine. I wanted to be like that but from the perspective of the player rather than the company.

I: Tell me about some of the features in your magazine.

LL: Each magazine has a games section, like for crosswords and things like that, as well as a section on the Moshi Monsters star parodies. We also have a little section on the creators of the magazine and what we are like online. We also sometimes have little ads for online things to encourage non-players to enjoy the game.

I: Who is on your production team? What do they do?

LL: Our production team includes (this is just their user names) Nelly, Madelyn, Lexi, Jessica, and Strawberry, as well as Diamond (played by my brother). They mostly help me with the ideas for the magazine, what we're going to put in it. They also help with the colouring in most of the magazine.

I: How do you distribute/share the magazine? Who likes to read it?

LL: I show the magazine to my classmates by bringing it to school every day every time I make a new issue. I mostly show it to the people in my class that have accounts but I also show it to people who just like my drawings.

I: What's been the reaction to your magazine by your teacher and other adults?

LL: I've only showed it to my teacher. No other adults have really seen it. Ms. L said she really liked it because we are all working together to create this. Dad's friend also said he liked it because I was getting better at my drawing for it.

I: How many issues do you plan to create? What's the future of this and/or your other magazines?

LL: I'm not actually sure how many issues I'm going to make. I'm just going with how many topics I can cover without boring people. I haven't actually thought about the future but I'll get back to you on that.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Moshi Monster Mania - Lady Goo Goo

The latest craze in our house is Moshi Monsters. You'll hear more about this MMO in separate blog posts, but for the time being (and in the interest in giving equal screen time to both son and daughter), enjoy my daughter's rendition of the Moshi Monster Lady Gaga parody, Lady Goo Goo.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who's Calling the Shots?

I know that this blog is focused on my family's use of games of all sorts, but my work life sometimes bleeds into my home life. I'm a teacher-librarian, and I encourage (and "allow") lots of game playing in my school library. Not everyone feels the same way I do. Some folks get downright nervous at some of the things I do permit. The primary division students that I see for media class were running a sticker store out of the library today and selling hand-made stickers they created. One of the teachers was very concerned because certain kids had made stickers to sell based on a video game and they had drawn guns as part of their sticker menagerie. I explained that this was part of our focus on knowing our audience, and that since we were selling to older students that liked these video games, it was legitimate to include these images on their stickers.

Her reaction and my lack of reaction made me wonder why I do not feel as threatened as some of my colleagues by references to weapons or fighting. I realized that a lot of my attitude was shaped by a particular book I read a number of years ago when I was in teacher's college.

The book was called "Who's Calling The Shots" and it's a worthwhile read for parents and teachers. I can't remember the name of the author, but the philosophical position of the book was that forbidding or banning references to violence does not help children or make them into peaceful citizens. Kids need to battle, in socially acceptable ways for children, so they can explore ideas and feelings. The author didn't advocate for a completely laissez-faire attitude to all violence (we aren't talking about turning a blind eye to bullying or schoolyard fights) but in finding a balance.

Reading this book shaped the way I parent my own children - for instance, we have group Nerf sword battles in which we pretend to stab and slice our way to victory - and it's fun. We own colourful water guns and chase each other. This is a far cry from a particular teacher at my school that does not allow her students to say the word gun in her class. They have to spell it if they need to make reference to the object. I think that's a bit extreme. However, I don't see that sort of position mellowing or changing in certain educators (or parents, for that matter). It makes me feel bad for the kids who really enjoy this type of play and have it labelled as shameful or inappropriate. I hope this blog may help folks at least consider some alternatives.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No sociopaths in this house!

My husband walked upstairs to find my son crying on the couch. He was watching "The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon" movie on DVD with his sister and he was upset because Mew dies at the end of the film.

"Well, he doesn't exactly die. He kinda goes up and turns into mist, but it's like he died" explained my daughter.

We comforted him as best we could. It's not like this is the first time he's watched this movie ("but he forgot that Mew dies at the end" elaborated our girl). So, if anyone is concerned about video games desensitizing their children to violence, take solace in the fact that my son wept for the passing of a fictional video game character in a movie he's seen before. Poor little guy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hear the enthusiasm! (Mario & Luigi, Partners in Time)

My son recently got a new game that's actually quite old: "Mario and Luigi Partners in Time" for Nintendo DS. He watched videos about the game on YouTube and convinced his father that it would be a good purchase. Because it's no longer widely circulated, my husband had to hunt online to find a store that carried it, and one of the EB Games stores in our city happened to have a copy. That night, just before I tucked my son in to bed, he asked, "Can I tell you a little bit about my game?" I agreed, but I decided to tape him describing his new game. Good thing I did! Here's the clip:

He talked, non-stop, for 11 minutes! He only ended because I was worried that the podcasting might not save. Another really neat thing was how, once I put the headphones and microphone on him, he recited this little checklist he learned from school (paraphrased) - "deep breaths, stand straight, be loud and clear" - he told me that's how the students in his class prepare for public speaking!