It was only last month that we got up close and personal with Hasbro’s new line of zAPPed line of board games. Now that we have had some time to spend with this latest crop of iPad centered board games, we are more than ever addicted to family game night. Hasbro is looking to bring their board games into the 21st century by teaming them up with the iPad. The first title to be “zAPPed” is “The Game of Life.” I remember playing this game as a kid with its cool spinner and actual 3D plastic buildings and hills all over the board. Well, it has now been zapped into the 21st century.
When you open the box, what you see is pretty standard, four plastic cars, 52 People Pegs, a big stack of play money and the game board itself. You must supply the iPad. So before you can start playing, you’ll need to download the free app. Once you have it installed, we are almost ready to play. The final step is to apply four small, round rubber bits to the game board, why this wasn’t done at the factory I can’t say. But it is easy enough; they printed small circles so that you know where to place them. They will help keep the iPad stationary during play. One small complaint here is that when the iPad is in place, it interferes with placement of your cars at the starting line. Yes, it’s a little thing, but it could have been thought out a little bit better.
The app is rather well designed and has an easy to follow game setup menu. I was concerned that incorporating the iPad into the game would be tedious, but it actually enhanced the game a lot. Each player inputs their name and then is able to personalize their Peg Person (hair color, hair style, etc.) much like you would on the Wii. Then periodically your character receives additional items giving it even more personality. It’s also very cute to hear the little sounds the Peg People make. If you roll a low number it lets out a little groan of disappointment, if it was a high number, a little excited shout. If you stop playing for a few minutes, your Peg Person gets bored and starts muttering to itself as if it’s been forgotten. Throughout the game there are numerous animations featuring the Peg People.
Now there can be no true replacement for the plastic spinner from the old game, but the spinner on the iPad does a good approximation. Give it a good flick and you’ll hear the familiar “clickity-click” as it spins round and round. When it stops, you move car the designated number of spaces and if you land on one of the special “App” spaces you then touch the corresponding icon on the right side of the screen. Several of these will bring up one of the major features of the “zAPPed Edition,” that is, video clips from “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” These are a nice addition, since you can’t help but laugh and have great time watching these videos. There are over 100 videos, so you should be able to play a few times without getting too many repeats.
Lawsuits with other players is one way that you will earn (or lose) money in the game. Among the videos are a selection showing property damage and people falling down or getting hit in the head. After watching the video and having a big laugh you will learn that one of the players has just been sued for his negligence in whatever just happened in the video. Another way that the game has been adapted for the 21 century audience is that when you get married, you have your choice of a boy or a girl. No one is left out in this Game of Life.
Another thing that I really liked was that they still included actual paper (play) money. There’s something still exciting about holding hundreds of thousands of dollars in your hands.
The game can be played with two to four players. They recommend that rather one person sitting each of the four sides, you have 2 on either side. This will make viewing the iPad easier. There is a little icon on the top of the screen for easily flipping the screen. No need to physically turn or move the iPad.
All in all, the game is fun to play and the iPad definitely adds a fun dimension to it. It’s sure to liven up your game night. If you want, you can download the app for free from App Store to check it out. Once you do, you’ll want to go an order the whole game. It’s available right now for $17.99 at the Hasbro Toy Shop.
The Good: The Game of life gets a 21st century upgrade that utilizes your iPad in a fun new way. You won’t be bored with this board game.
The Bad: The placement of the iPad could become awkward after long hours of play. Some folks may not be fans of America’s Funniest Home Videos.