Here kid. Use MY favorite toys!

So lately I’ve been wondering what topic to breach as the frenzied and frenetic father.  I brainstormed a few ideas and landed on things such as the limp noodle toddler, becoming your own parents, and sharing your old toys with your kids.

It’s the last one that really held on for this post.  So here goes:

I’m a nerd.  I like toys and puzzles.  Comics and video games.  I have stuff when from when I was younger tucked away to be shared with my own children.  I’m not talking special edition mint packaging SEALED action figures from the 70s and 80s.  I mean toys that I LOVED to play with.  Things that stood the battle tests, didn’t break down and were still found in my parents basement years later.

Now is the time to dust them off and start introducing them to my children.   My oldest is just 2 years old and my youngest is 8 months.  These two boys will be educated in the way of classic toys.  If they let me.

With the advent of smartphones it seems that just about everything has to be digitized, electronic, and motion activated.  Will my Lincoln Logs, Construx, Hot Wheels/Matchbox Cars, and Duplos hold up against the competition?  Well if you ask me, and others my age, you’ll probably get a resounding yes.  What I want to know is will it work with my sons?

My oldest son is some sort of dexterous prodigy and well frankly I think he can handle the likes of many of the great building set toys.  It may be a few more years but I know I scored an Erector set of my dad’s when I was little and it led me to a devotion to Legos that I still have today.

I want critical thinkers and problem solvers.  Millenials are being called the “Do it for me” generation and I just can’t imagine my sons having to be tagged in that category.  Let’s get out the physical paper books, and out come the Duplos and building blocks.  Away with the battery operated stuff.

It’s time to play.

depth of field photography of p l a y wooden letter decors on top of beige wooden surface
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LOTR or Potter? Do we need to compare?

So I spent middle school, high school and college reading and rereading the various pieces of the Lord of the Rings saga.  I began with The Hobbit around 1995 and was quickly introduced to Harry Potter a few years later.  Upon it’s arrival I quickly shunned it.  Refusing to read the children’s book that included magic, wizards, enchanted items and dragons.

photo of white purple and blue smoke
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It was ultimately ironic.  I wanted nothing to do with that kids book.  Didn’t want to hear it.  Didn’t want to know anything about it.  Strangely both stories did contain many of the same elements.

My stubbornness continued into adulthood and some time passed. Until I married a Potterhead in 2015.  I tried to be steadfast and I continued my stance of superiority.  Lord of the Rings was a well polished story and stood as the model for all fantasy writing to come.  Why dabble in this silly story with equally silly looking movies?

Who could come close to the classic characters, vivid environments and quotable moments of Tolkien’s greatest works?

After some recent changes I would have to say J.K. Rowling was up to the challenge and did well.  She certainly didn’t set out to go head to head against the classic.  She had a story to tell and she told it.

I certainly don’t want to take this too far, because I’m admittedly only 4 books into the Potter saga, but it has many of the great moments required for a fantasy masterpiece.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

After honing the characters through the first books, Rowling makes the story flow with such an ease that reading it is not a burden but a luxury.

The story’s actual similarities are few and far between and my misconception that these two sagas were divided simply by “Big Kid” and “Little Kid” lines were and are absurd.

The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings

I obviously have some reading to do.  Please comment to provide me with some much needed suggestions in the world of fantasy writing.  Please don’t be stuck in the YA world of story telling.  What strikes a chord like these stories but isn’t bogged down by unneeded exposition that we find, admittedly, in the LOTR books?

Mobile Item Hoarder Games

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Recently I posted about my desire to accumulate and hoard things, and that’s especially true in gaming.  Power up, items, weapons, and game currency are all attractive commodities in my gaming world.  The list below contains no affiliate links.  The list is based upon only opinion (mine).

Below are my top mobile games for addicts of item hoarding:


1. Pokemon Duel

(The Pokemon Company; iOS and Android) (free with in-app purchases)

Gotta Catch ’em All!!  In this case you aren’t going for actual Pokemon but instead collecting figurines in which you use to play a strategic board game.  Each Pokemon of course has it’s own powers and abilities.  Some of which are unlocked by using in game currencies such Gems and Coins as well as three types of cubes (Green, Blue and Gold). There are also special ability plates to collect and use during battle as well.  Plenty of depth to this one and many ways to play without paying a cent.

fire emblem

2. Fire Emblem Heroes

(Nintendo/Intelligent Systems; iOS and Android) (free with in-app purchases)

The name says it all.  Collect dozen of heroes from the various Fire Emblem games.  Level them up, give them skills, merge their powers, give them weapons, unlock potential and … whew more!  Equip skills, forge and equip seals.  The list goes on.  Get summoning orbs and other power ups free daily with log in.

Great strategy game beyond just the collectibles.  A great mobile take on the classic series!


3. Fallout Shelter

(Bethesda; iOS, Android, Windows, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) (free with in-app purchases)

A two dimensional simulation that puts you in charge of a infamous fallout shelter.  All within the Fallout gaming world.  Collect and recruit survivors while keeping your resources (energy, water, and food) adequate.  All while keeping the inhabitants happy.  Then begin sending survivors on missions in the wasteland.  Bring back clothing, weapons, pets and more.

Amazing time killer.  Lots to do and manage.  Super variety when it comes to collecting.


4. Dragalia Lost

(Nintendo/Cygames; iOS and Android) (free with in-app purchases)

I’m just starting out with this one and wow it’s a lot to swallow.  Dozens upon dozens of things to collect and manage.

Played on your phone vertical and one handed you take your team through short dungeon like levels hacking and slashing enemies in your path.  Collect power up and currency along the way to massive boss battles.  Start by collecting team members, then continue by managing their weapons, wyrmprints (special attribute boosters) and dragon transformations.   Power up your mana circles, craft and collect weapons and lastly manage your very own castle complex.  In the castle you can build structures that collect in game currencies for you.

This game is DEEP!  So much to collect and so much to learn.  Totally worth the learning curve. Haven’t spent a penny and have had hours of meaningful time invested.


5. Marvel: Contest of Champions

(Kabam; iOS and Android) (free with in-app purchases)

I like this because I love me some super heroes.  I’m partial to Marvel ones so this one struck a cord.  It’s a bit older than the other games on this list but it has depth.  Yes you collect super heroes but you have numerous opportunities to power them up.

This one is unique because the actual game is a head to head smash up fighting game.  It’s in the vein of 2D classics like Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct.

Collect your favorite hero or villain, power them up and then pit them against others in this unique mobile beat-em-up.

This is certainly up for debate and based solely on what I’m playing right now.  Suggestions regarding my list?  I would love to hear your thoughts!