Emoji Trends Show Strong Growth Patterns

Are Emojis the #1 Communication Tool for Everyone?

It’s hard to imagine a world without emojis. These little icons are fast gaining traction as the preferred communication tool across all demographics. PCs, smartphones, and tablets would be better served by replacing alphanumeric keys on their keyboards with emoticons and emojis. The widespread popularity of emojis is evident in the number of retailers, restaurants and online platforms that are now incorporating emojis onto their platforms. Several notable cultural changes have taken place in recent years, including emoji-style order systems by pizza giant Domino’s, or the emoji-style logo that IHOP adopted.

The emoji culture is alive and well, as evidenced by the recent slew of emoji animation being adopted in Hollywood. Consider the latest Adam Sandler movie Pixels which was bordering on the emoji theme, as aliens attempted to attack Earth with video games invasions. Emoji purists will argue that the biggest Hollywood blockbuster is ‘The Emoji Movie’ which debuted in 2017.

This comedy-adventure has a run time of 1 hour 26 minutes, and it details the story of an Emoji named Gene who wants to be a normal emoji without having multiple expressions. While critics have slammed The Emoji Movie as one of the worst-ever Hollywood movies, kids certainly found it entertaining enough, and it is driving the cultural zeitgeist of emojidom.  These emojis allow for greater levels of engagement and far more effective messaging than simple words or number systems.

Whether you like them or loathe them, emojis are here to stay. These little images perfectly capture sentiment and transmit feelings and opinions at the click of a button. Many online review companies now provide emojis over numerical rating systems to gain an accurate reading on a company’s products or services. Digital advertisements are typically rated with emojis, and they have proven to be a highly useful form of transmitting emotionally-based feedback for people.
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New Video Games and Apps for Kids- and the kid in all of us

Got gamers? Us too. These are a few of the titles that have our kids (OK, and maybe us as well) occupied during rainy days and cold nights.

Lightseekers from TOMY is an app that you can play with by using just the app, or by connecting toys or trading cards with it.  Using “Connected Play” , a “proprietary technology platform that integrates video games and smart action figures” with Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence with trading cards and figures and more into the app experience. Use the figure as a controller to the game, which is a fun and pretty unique experience. I’ve not done that before, and it was pretty neat.
No portal needed in which to put the toys, you just need the app and your tablet and that is that. They interact with each other and the app via bluetooth. The interactive trading cards brings features into play and into (virtual) reality as you use them as well.  The game gets better as you use it, based on feedback, reviews, gameplay, and more.  Starter packs available for about $40 at stores like Toys R Us.

For the fans of the Nintendo 3DS, there is Metroid Samus Returns. Bounty hunter Samus Aran is back to finally rid the planet of the menace that is known as Metroid. A “part two” (if you will) of the 1991 Game Boy classic game, Samus Returns has new moves, upgraded weaponry, and of course foes that just won’t quit. It’s a great game for fans as well as those who have never played before.  The game is $40 and for the 3DS family only.  There are amiibo for the game as well, Samus Aran as well as Metroid. The 2 pack is about $30.

The LEGO NINJAGO Movie has been widely anticipated, fans have been eagerly awaiting it’s arrival. As eagerly awaited has been the The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game, which is based on the brick flick.  Fans will have tons of fun battling enemies as they take on the persona of their favorite Ninjago heroes- like Kai, Cole, Zane, or Master Wu – as they fight to defend their homes from Lord Garmadon and the evil Shark Army.  Available for about $40 and for many gaming platforms.

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New Games and Gaming Devices You Will Love

Looking for some fun games to play with the kids? We have some suggestions.

Mario Kart is one of those games which turn a room full of strangers into a room full of new buddies- or at least rowdy racers.  With equal parts skill, luck, and know how, Mario Kart has consistently been a gem of this gaming’s generation.  The latest in the franchise, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, dare I say may be the brightest gem so far.  With almost all characters unlocked to begin with, this game is built for multiplayer.  As the new Switch will show you, it is easy to grab a controller and play.  Each player takes the mini controller for their racer and plays.

With tons of characters to choose from, everyone can pick their favorite without arguments.  Characters of different wights and sizes act differently and effect your controls, as do the type of vehicle and even the tires selected.  The game also includes support for amiibo’s and amiibo cards, which unlock more content in game, allowing for even more customization. Mario Kart Deluxe 8 is available no for $59.99 from retail locations of via download fro the eShop.

 

We have two indie titles-  one for the 3DS and one for the Playstation 4. Fun, inexpensive, and most gamers will enjoy them and be able to play (no master skill sets required).

This is the third Box Boy game in the line, Bye Bye Box Boy , is a game where players use the power of boxes to solve various puzzles as Qbby.  This game is an enjoyable puzzle game which is simple to get into, but difficult to put down.  My 9 year old has loved every Box Boy game and this is no different, but now with a few additions like 4 new powers, baby boxes to rescue, and new environmental issues to contend with (like water, wind, and scales) there is more to do.  He enjoys the Box Boy series- it’s tough but not too tough for him to figure out after thinking about it and trying a few things, or in some cases, with some help from Dad.  Bye By Box Boy is available now on the eShop on the Nintendo 3DS and retails for $4.99.
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Bye Bye Box Boy and Aaero #VideoGames

Check out these two indie titles-  one for the 3DS, Bye Bye box Boy and one for the Playstation 4, Aaero. Fun, inexpensive, and good for most gamers.

box boy

This is the third Box Boy game in the line, Bye Bye Box Boy , is a game where players use the power of boxes to solve various puzzles as Qbby.  This game is an enjoyable puzzle game which is simple to get into, but difficult to put down.  My 9 year old has loved every Box Boy game and this is no different, but now with a few additions like 4 new powers, baby boxes to rescue, and new environmental issues to contend with (like water, wind, and scales) there is more to do.  He enjoys the Box Boy series- it’s tough but not too tough for him to figure out after thinking about it and trying a few things, or in some cases, with some help from Dad.  Bye By Box Boy is available now on the eShop on the Nintendo 3DS and retails for $4.99.
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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch

mario kart 8

Mario Kart is one of those games which turn a room full of strangers into a room full of new buddies- or at least rowdy racers.  With equal parts skill, luck, and know how, Mario Kart has consistently been a gem of this gaming’s generation.  The latest in the franchise, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, dare I say may be the brightest gem so far.  With almost all characters unlocked to begin with, this game is built for multiplayer.  As the Switch will show you, it is easy to grab a controller and play.  Each player takes the mini controller for their racer and plays.

The game runs at 1080p, and the graphics are spot on- levels pop with textures and colors, with characters smoothly running along the tracks.  Every track from the Wii U version of the game is included, including DLC, which makes a glorious return. Plus, the Inklings appear as all-new guest characters, along with returning favorites, such as King Boo, Dry Bones, and Bowser Jr.  My personal favorite is green Shy guy, because he reminds me of Christmas., followed very closely by Dry Bones.  My son favors likes Link or Yoshi.
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Nintendo Selects – the perfect basket stuffer

This Easter, instead of filling the kiddo’s Easter baskets with candy and small plastic trinkets, why not fill it with something they will enjoy for hours and that they really want.  Check out the games from the Nintendo Select line, which include some of the most fun 3DS games at a great price.  Some of the titles include Kirby Triple Deluxe, Mario and Luigi Dream Team, Animal Crossing New Leaf, Luigi’s Mansion, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, and Yoshi’s New Island.  These games and many more can now be purchased for $19.99.  These are the same fun games which are well loved by all at a wallet-friendly price.

Kirby Triple Deluxe is all about the cute pink hero who must defeat King Dedede by traveling through many worlds.  Kirby’s chief move is the ability to suck up enemies and borrow their powers, until spitting them out and grabbing new ones.  What we really like about Kirby Triple Deluxe is the amount of content in it.  There are a total of 3 additional games included.  The first is Dedede’s Drum Dash, which is a rhythm based time trial game. Next is Dedede Tour, which lets you time attack through levels from the main story as Kind Dedede instead of Kirby, and last but not least the Arena, which is a continuous battle mode with bosses from the main story.  This game is a great way to get to know Kirby and all is about personality and powers.
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New Lego Dimension Sets – Perfect For Easter Baskets

Disclosure- I received the below in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and honest. For more, see “I Disclose”.

LEGO Dimensions brings the whole family together to build and play through memorable entertainment franchises, including popular characters and iconic locations from The LEGO Batman Movie, Sonic the Hedgehog, Gremlins, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Adventure Time and many, many more. On May 9, players will also be able to pick up new expansion packs featuring Sloth from The Goonies, Hermione from Harry Potter and Chase McCain from LEGO CITY Undercover.

The LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack is available now for $89.99 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U and $79.99 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Select retailers may discount the packs lower as Easter approaches.

Lego Dimensions is the cool new way to bring your Lego’s to life using a portal and special Lego sets, where each level lets you play with any characters you own.  The newest Story Pack is Lego Batman the movie.  This set includes Bat Girl and Robin as well as the Bat Wing.  This story pack lets you play through the entire Lego Batman movie storyline. You can also play with/ use any characters from Lego Dimensions, like Gandoff from Lord of the Rings or Mr T from The A Team.
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Follow – new app for travel and roadtrips

Have you ever been tasked with going someplace new, or had to follow behind another car to go someplace? (Meaning you had to follow another person driving?)  This can be a stressful situation for both parties.  Red lights, other drivers, pedestrians, re-fueling.  All this can lead to losing the other person getting lost, and in general can be cumbersome and down right unnerving.  Luckily, there is a new app called Follow, where it is easy to set up each person as the leader or follower and have others follow or lead you to your destination.

With both map based GPS locations and an audible notice when the trip changes, it is easy to follow or lead your trips.  This is great for short trips and long road trips as well.  Instead of being right on the leader car’s bumper, it is now possible to follow a safe distance away (even if other cars get in between you as you drive) while still getting to your final destination on time.  The app is breeze to use and after registering, makes for some fun trips with friends.  This is perfect for a group of friends in high school just learning how to drive in an area, a real estate agent trying to bring clients to more then one house, some friends going on a trip, or even out of town relatives who you are trying to show around a bit.  No matter what the reason, this app is very helpful.  Best part is it is is free to download.  If you want to have more then one follower, there is a 0.99 upgrade fee.  Follow allows you the ability to assign yourself or another as a leader and invite users to be followers.  It also gives you instant alerts when leader changes course.  It offers  hands-free navigation with verbal directions, and even easily turn off follow tracking for user safety.
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