The last thing I was expecting The Lego Batman Movie to do was to show my daughter how even the Caped Crusader needs people to care about and what it means to have the people you care torn away from you. Over the weekend, another parent invited my daughter and me to join him and his kids at an afternoon showing of The Lego Batman Movie. When I sidled up to my kid on the couch in the morning, she was mainlining cartoons. Her response to me when I asked her about seeing The Lego Batman Movie was an immediate “no.” No thinking it over, just “no,” which is atypical for her. A little prodding had her spilling her guts: “I don’t like bad guys.” It’s a refrain I’ve heard a lot from her, one where she goes on to say that she doesn’t like the way that they “don’t follow the good laws, hurt people, and take things that don’t belong to them.” Advertisement To her, “bad guys” are an indistinct, fungible resource for superheroes to beat up on. Whenever we talk about superheroes, she READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
The Toy Story movies have been very good. But it’s Pixar’s five short films in the series—many of which have never been seen by the main trilogy’s adult fans—where some of the real magic lies. Advertisement This piece originally appeared 1/7/16. If you’re a grown-up who hasn’t seen Small Fry or Partysaurus, that’s OK. Unlike the feature films, which are marketed at anyone with a pulse and a wallet, Toy Story’s shorts (especially the older ones) have generally been handled by Disney in much the same way as it used to treat the direct-to-VHS sequels to movies like Lion King: aimed at kids and slid out the door, content to act as fanservice dessert to the theatrical main meals. Advertisement This is a damn shame! Because it’s when Toy Story is forced to strip back and focus solely on its simple hook—hey, what do toys do when you’re not around?—that it really shines. Consider: every single Toy Story tale is, at its heart, an exploration of an aspect of our use and ownership of toys. The arcs that every character goes through in READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
“What does NE stand for?” my five-year-old son asked as we watched last night’s Super Bowl LI. I told him it stood for the New England Patriots. “No! Change it!” he shouted, lunging for the Xbox One controller. “It should be Atlanta versus Atlanta!” Oh right, Madden 17. Advertisement Minutes into Super Bowl LI it was clear that Seamus was not happy with the game. While Archer happily played his iPad in the direction of the television, his brother was fidgety and anxious. They look just as confused as I was. At first I figured he was just excited to see his team play. This is the first year that Seamus has been really aware of the Super Bowl—normally we get a sitter and go over to my parents’ place to watch the game or just skip it entirely. But we live in Atlanta, and the Falcons making it to the Super Bowl is an enormous deal here. Seamus’ school held a spirit day, to which he insisted he wear all black and red (we managed all but the shoes). Saturday night, before putting the boys to bed, I asked if they were excited to watch the Super Bowl tomorrow….
A long time ago, I’d hoped that a children’s cartoon character would be my kid’s entryway into the world of science fiction. But, nope, as much as I wanted it to happen, it was DC Comics’ Legion of Superheroes that helped my kid understand what “the future” means. Advertisement Ten years ago, I was an editor at Time Out NY Kids Magazine, in charge of music and film coverage. This was long before I had a kid and just as shows like Yo Gabba Gabba! were hitting the sweet spots of parents desperate to hold onto any sense of coolness. I endured a lot of twee, treacly kids-pop from acts trying to hit the big time, but I also got to witness this amazing kid-music scene in New York City, too, with monthly jam sessions filled with talented grown-ups and grade-school heavy metal and pre-teen shoegaze bands getting to perform in front audiences for the first time. One of the first acts I fell in love with was centered around Gustafer Yellowgold, an oddly cute solar alien who came from the sun and made a bunch of animal friends despite READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
The debut trailer for the Nintendo Switch was packed with good-looking 20-somethings playing in fashionable apartments and rooftop parties. As a 40-something father, it didn’t feel like a product aimed my way. Nintendo’s Super Bowl ad fixes that feeling. Advertisement While many people remarked on the millennial festival that is the Nintendo Switch preview trailer, it’s something that’s been nagging me since the console’s October reveal. Though the company is often cast as the more family-friendly of the three major game console makers, the Switch preview trailer featured no children, no parents. After years of Wii and Wii U advertisements featuring a parade of gamers from toddlers to white-haired grandparents, the lack of age variety was quite noticeable. I know the games Nintendo teases in the preview trailer are games I want to play. It’s not like the company was suddenly chopping away at both ends of its demographic, but in a way it felt like that. The Switch was not a console the company wanted an aging gamer to imagine playing with his or her children. And so Nintendo’s Super Bowl ad, a first for the company, has READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
By most people’s reckoning—and ways a reckoning in this business can be determined—the Wii U has been a failure. Whether you look at its sales, the number of “classic” Nintendo titles it was home to or even just general brand awareness, it’s been a bust. But what do we know? We’re just stupid adults. Advertisement As the Switch’s release draws nearer and the curtain comes down on the Wii U’s short and troubled time in the market, I’ve been thinking of ways to send the machine off in a story like this. But I’ve been having trouble finding anything positive to say. My experience with the Wii U has been, after all, almost non-existent. I played a couple of games for review and played a few more for fun, and really enjoyed those brief times, but for the most part the console has sat under my second TV gathering dust. I hated its squishy touchsceeen, the poor build quality of the controller and, most of all, the inexcusably long load times, especially on the menus. Advertisement That wasn’t going to make for a particularly READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!