Video Game & Entertainment News

Parents need to know that “MLB The Show 18” is a baseball simulation that’s the latest installment in the popular sports franchise. Players will have options for multiple control settings, as well as options to tweak player settings to fit personal game preferences. There’s no objectionable content, although there’s heavy product promotion throughout. Unlike previous years, players can’t upgrade player stats directly by paying for enhancements; instead, purchased baseball packs with either earned in-game tokens or real money frequently include new baseball players and stadium cards. Players can also be exposed to inappropriate content in online games, because these matches are unmoderated.

Parents need to know that Danger Mouse: The Danger Games (TDG) is a free-to-play racing game based on the popular 2015 reboot of the 1980s “Danger Mouse” cartoon series. Though it’s a multiplayer game, it contains no chat, friending, or other social aspects, and players choose from randomly-generated, G-rated user names. Optional purchases are truly optional, thanks to a generous freemium game model. While there’s some violence, it’s cartoonish in nature, and is no worse than characters getting bonked on the head. The app’s easy-to-ready privacy policy details the kinds of information collected and shared. To read the privacy policy in its entirety, visit the developer’s official website.

Everyone who’s tried it agrees: Virtual reality is mind-blowing. Once you strap on that headset, you truly believe you’re strolling on a Parisian street, careening on a roller coaster, or immersed in the human body exploring the inner workings of the esophagus. But for all its coolness — and its potential uses, from education to medicine — not a lot is known about how VR affects kids. Common Sense Media’s new report, Virtual Reality 101: What You Need to Know About Kids and VR, co-authored by the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, offers a first-of-its-kind overview of the expanding uses for the technology and its potential effects on kids. Now that VR devices from inexpensive viewers to game consoles to full-scale gaming arcades are finally here — with lots more coming soon — it’s a good idea to start thinking about how to manage VR when it comes knocking at your door.

Parents need to know that Far Cry 5 is a violent first-person shooter for the PS4, Xbox One and Windows. Using guns, explosives, a bow & arrow, and other weapons, players have to kill a ton of human enemies, as well as some animals, and it often results in bloodshed. There’s also scenes in which characters are tortured, mutilated, and commit suicide. Players use drugs and alcohol, which impairs their vision, while using homeopathic medicines will improve their skills. The dialog includes numerous references to sex, alcohol, and drugs, as well as some extreme curse words. While in-game money is used to buy new weapons and supplies, players can also use real money to buy special guns and outfits, as well as future downloadable content (DLC).

Parents need to know that The Sims Mobile is a free-to-play life simulation game that lets players create and control virtual “dolls.” Players can friend each other and chat with virtual and real friends. Sims characters do things real world people do, including fighting, dating, sitting on the toilet, showering, getting married, and having babies. Sexual content, nudity, and other adult themes are implied rather than shown. While it’s free-to-play, the game implies that it’s easier to pay for progress or additional items for sessions. The app’s privacy policy details the kinds of information collected and shared. To read the privacy policy in full, visit EA’s official website.

Parents need to know that “Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom” is a cartoon-like fantasy role-playing game with real-time combat. Players control humanoid characters that fight groups of fantasy creatures, such as dragons, skeletons, and gooey blobs, using swords, magic, and guns. There’s no blood or gore in combat — characters simply fall to the ground and disappear in a flash of light — but a couple of non-interactive cut scenes show a small amount of blood when key characters are seriously injured. The main protagonists, including young King Evan and his chief advisor Roland, are classic good guys whose primary goal is to forge an alliance of kingdoms to bring peace to the entire world. Missions include plenty of positive messages, from showing the downside of gambling to promoting freedom to love. Simple menus and straightforward combat means players of all skill levels shouldn’t have too much trouble progressing the story.

Parents need to know that “Kirby Star Allies” is a side-scrolling platformer with frequent but mild cartoon combat. Colorful characters hit each other with weapons, fists, and magic. Defeated enemies simply disappear. Much of the game is focused on the concepts of friendship and teamwork, with Kirby able to turn almost any enemy into a friendly ally by gifting them a big pink heart. As a team, Kirby and up to three friends — other players or computer controlled characters — can work together to bypass obstacles by doing things like forming a bridge or flying around on a star. Parents should note that this game supports amiibo figurines, which are sold separately and used to unlock puzzle pieces and helpful items.

Parents need to know that “The Council” is an episodic, downloadable narrative-focused adventure for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. A tale of intrigue and manipulation set during the meeting of a secret society in 1793, this is a game of cunning and careful planning. Although social skills are rewarded and encouraged, it’s in the context of manipulating others for your own gain. The flipside of that is the game also rewards you for making sure others truly earn your trust and that you always protect yourself. There are references to and sometimes depictions of torture, poisoning, and gun violence to influence others — the violence isn’t graphic but is a consistent element of the plot. The game’s camera also seems to go out of its way to show one female character’s cleavage. Women are referred to as “sluts,” there are also references to rape, and one scene includes elements of seduction and implied sex after the camera fades to black. “S--t” and “hell” are said frequently. Finally, there are also references to consuming absinthe and holistic crystals for supernatural purposes.

Planets Puzzle — Game for kids is a unique puzzle game that requires placing character pieces on a rotating planet by matching habitats (easily color-coded). A few levels are timed, which may be stressful for some kids, especially since the puzzle itself is rotating. Advanced levels require sliding/flipping parts of the planet, but the app guides kids through new types of puzzles. Kids must complete a level before unlocking a new level. The app includes 10 levels for free; players can unlock the last 20 levels with an in-app purchase of $2.99. Read the app’s privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

Parents need to know that “Into the Breach” is a downloadable tactics- and turn-based strategy game for Windows. With a pronounced difficulty and deceptive amount of strategy required despite its simple graphics, this game has no graphical violence — your crew and enemies will simply blip off the screen when destroyed. The focus here is on patient, careful, and logical thinking as you plot your moves against the potential moves of your enemy. There’s no objectionable content included.

Parents need to know that “Octogeddon” is a downloadable arcade game for Windows that lets gamers control a mutant octopus out to destroy the world. By rotating his body, using his tentacles to destroy enemies, and upgrading his tentacles with silly add-ons, players start in the ocean, begin to take over the United States on land, and the rest of the world after that. There’s cartoon violence as the point is to destroy enemies before they kill you, but it’s not realistic or graphic. Otherwise, there’s no inappropriate content in the game.

Action game apps are exciting for kids who love to avoid obstacles and accomplish goals. They can also be great ways to unwind and relieve stress. But often, characters in action games use firearms. If you want an app that isn’t fueled by gunpowder and ammunition, look no further. The 10 titles below are all fun and action-packed, but they won’t force your kid to shoot anything or anyone.

Parents need to know that “Shadow of the Colossus” is a remastered version of an adventure game originally released in 2005. The game focuses on a young warrior trying to defeat 16 gigantic monsters with a bow and arrow and a sword. Finding and correctly targeting the weak points of the monsters sprays black blood from its wounds. A character also winds up getting impaled by a sword and shot through the leg with an arrow. Players may find themselves frustrated by the controls, which can be a bit stiff, especially compared to other modern adventure games. Otherwise, there’s no inappropriate content to be found in the game.

Parents need to know that Cash Show is a free-to-play trivia game where players can win real cash. Players share in a prize pool with all other winners, and winnings are transferred to an online PayPal account. Players must use phone numbers to register and are encouraged to earn bonus codes by connecting their Cash Show accounts to Facebook and by inviting friends to download the app. Players must be 17 or older to receive cash winnings and must provide their identity, address, and birth date to do so. Read the app’s privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

Parents need to know that MathTango makes addition and subtraction practice for first- through third-grade kids into a game. Kids complete math puzzle games and missions to build their island filled with cute monsters. There are more than 200 math puzzle games that cover basic skills, such as adding single digit numbers, adding doubles, 10s, and more. The games are short and simple (but challenging) and the monsters are cute. As kids progress through the game, the math problems become more difficult. Higher levels of the game (and the freeplay mode) require an in-app purchase. Read the app’s privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

“Welcome Home” says a man in an orange Enforcer shirt to those entering Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio. It’s the first day…