Timeout New York Kids

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The ode: Mania, how I love thee...

I am not a video game junkie. Not even close. My husband reviews these things for various publications, like this one and this one, and as a result, boxes of these things line virtually all the hallways and closets of our home. Sometimes, it feels like we live in an unusually small Best Buy. But every now and then, a game comes along that turns my head. A game that is, truly, and I apologize for sounding like a press release, one for the whole family. One frighteningly addictive and yet relentlessly charming. Sorta like Tetris for those of us who went to college in the early '90s. I speak of Kororinpa's Marble Mania ($40, Hudson Soft), which you play on the Nintendo Wii. The game is simple: Using the Wii remote, you rotate your hand to manipulate a marble through a variety of mazes (set yourself up with snacks once you reach the candy land boards; they're surprisingly appetizing-looking). They start easy and get progressively harder (and if that's news to you, you're even a bigger Luddite in the world of video-gaming than me). And you can pick which marble you want to try on each maze (the Panda ball is easiest, the one with the screaming dude in it is tough—and a little disconcerting). What's amazing about the game is that it simultaneously challenges my preschool-aged daughter, Wii neophyte me, and my husband, who practically has carpal tunnel from his gaming habit. That's rare, and frankly, cool.

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