While there are all sorts of new products, characters, shows, gear, technology and more that have changed since my own childhood, I always enjoy seeing familiar items appear in the 21st century (geez, I'm feeling old).
Cabbage Patch Kids? Making a comeback. Slap bracelets? Still around. And classic Hasbro games such as The Game of Life? Reinvented and given a major makeover in the form of The Game of Life zAPPed Edition.
Whether played around the kitchen table, on the computer, or on a smart phone – there are many ways to enjoy games. Hasbro's introduction of zAPPed Gaming combines the fun of traditional face-to-face game play with the increased functionality of digital gaming for a brand new, innovative experience.
Interested to see how The Game of Life zAPPed is able to bring the family-favorite game to life, the girls and I couldn't wait to lay out all of the pieces and start playing. Even though this game is designed for ages 8 and up, I knew that Big Sister E and Little Sister B would get a kick out of playing a slightly altered version so that they could be a part of the action.
Preparation was minimal, as I downloaded the game's accompanying app (free in the App Store), cued it up on the iPad and we were set to go.
Right away we liked the ability to customize our players, as this was more than just placing the pink or blue peg into your car (although you got to do that as well). Instead, we selected our gender, added in our name, and then chose between various hair styles and colors and different articles of clothing and accessories.
Once our characters were in their cars and ready to roll, the iPad was placed in the center of the board and we got started. As with the classic version of The Game of Life, the object is still to use the spinner to move your car around the board, go to school, collect money, get a job, start a family and more.
In the zAPPed Edition, however, the technology of the app and the game pieces really do bring the game to life and create a much more interactive experience. Even the spinner has gone virtual!
The combination of the board game and the app really makes for an entertaining and sometimes surprisingly good time. Instead of just choosing to head towards College or Career, cute images on the screen appear so that you can choose between options such as being a teacher (Big Sister E's choice), a video game designer (Little Sister B), an explorer (me), or many more.
A short while into the game, we found similar fun options when it was time to get married. After selecting your spouse, it's time to pick whether you want to get hitched in a traditional ceremony, in a fairy tale, in Vegas, on safari and more!
Further down the line we were able to add to our families with children and Big Sister E and Little Sister B got an immense kick out of being able to choose if they were having a boy or a girl (or what combination of twins).
Although this was a much less realistic aspect of the game (since we all know that you don't get to choose the gender of your baby), I didn't feel as though the humorous and crazy options that we had seen thus far had truly been all that plausible either. I mean, I suppose in real life I could have gotten married under water, but what is the actual likelihood of that?
Besides, my girls were thrilled to be able to choose their baby and then pick the corresponding peg to add to their car. Who can resist those miniature one-legged pink and blue people going for a ride? The girls giggled with excitement each time they got to pick one out of the bag and add it to their family.
As well as the usual spaces along the game, this version of The Game of Life includes a variety of fun zAPPed spaces along the game board. After landing on one of those, players simply press the corresponding button on the iPad and watch it unlock special features such as mini games, comical animations or a funny clip from America's Funniest Videos.
The girls loved the video clips ("What space do I land on for more TV?" Little Sister B kept asking) and we enjoyed working together on games such as memory or a version of the shell game with a payday bonus hidden underneath one cup.
The Game of Life zAPPed Edition isn't over until all of the players have reached retirement and, after inputting the amount of money that you've collected over the course of the game, it tallies up bonuses you've received (virtual Life tokens) and children that you've had and declares a winner.
Although the passing of the paper money back and forth to each other and the banker is a classic part of this game, I wouldn't mind seeing an edition that allows the app to take care of that aspect as well. Maybe make that an option to turn on or off for a future update?
In the end it didn't matter, as we all congratulated each other as our characters stood on the virtual podium... and then Big Sister E and Little Sister B went back to admiring their cars and the families riding inside.
The game ended with each of our families sitting on the couch surrounded by family photos (from graduation, our selected wedding day, having children, etc) and the girls were both immediately ready to play another round. They haven't been so entranced by a game in quite a while!
For a new and entertaining way to head through life, The Game of Life zAPPed Edition is a great twist on the original game. I appreciate always being able to set up (and clean up) quickly and easily and the way that the addition of the iPad's technology really complements the classic of the board game. The two together really make for a fun, engaging and enjoyable experience that is easily customized and different every time!
The Game of Life zAPPed Edition is currently available on Amazon.com and ToysRUs.com for $24.99 and in store at Toys 'R Us, while the corresponding app is compatible with the iPad 1 and 2.
Find out more about this and all of Hasbro's great games on their website, while keeping up with all things Family Game Night on Facebook and Twitter.
(Other than The Game of Life zAPPed Edition that I was sent from Hasbro, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this review in any way. This review is solely my opinion of this innovative and fun game.)