Playing Is Learning with Family-Friendly Games for All-in-Ones

Gaming has transformed from something only computer geeks do into a favorite pastime for all ages and even a high stakes sport for the truly competitive types.

What was once standard for gamers years ago — playing on  huge, bulky monitors connected to an immovable tower computer underneath their computer desk — has spread to other devices, particularly mobile devices like I talked about recently: changing how pro gamers play on the go. This mix of mobility and gaming is allowing for “in between” gaming, where people can play in the car using their laptops, tablets and smartphone, but this mix is also hitting home.

Today, Portable All-in-One (AIO) PCs are changing how we game in and around the home, and I’m not just talking about the pros. These devices are bringing new, fun and even educational experiences for the whole family.

All-in-One PCs an example of the best desktop and mobile PC technologies coming together in one device. Large screens with computer technology built into them have made their design desirable for their stylish looks, space saving footprint and full PC functionality. Many even come with touchscreens. In the past few years, we’ve seen these All-in-Ones go portable, featuring a handle for carrying around the home. Some even have a bicycle-like kickstand that allows them to be used as a desktop PC or lay flat on a table, looking like a tablet on steroids.

Imagine a group of friends or the whole family playing a favorite board or trivia game, each tapping the screen to play their turn.

Take, for example, the HP Envy Rove 20, which I recently tested. It’s everything — PC, laptop, and tablet — rolled into one. It’s thin and has a built-in battery so you can unplug and go. You can also use it on just about any flat surface, from the floor to your lap. I like it for tabletop gaming.

I know, I know. You probably want to put in the latest first person shooter. But it’s great for groups, too. Turn it on for family game night and play a game of Taptiles or digital Monopoly on it together for hours.

Some games are optimized for Intel-based AIO PCs, like Pettson’s Inventions by Swedish gaming company Filimundus. It’s a game about building crazy inventions for crazy reasons. In one game, I had to find all the necessary pieces and cogs to make a contraption that would rock someone to sleep. It ended up looking like something from a science fair project, but it got the job done.

Filimundus specializes in entertaining and educational apps for kids ages 2-8. CEO Linus Feldt told me what it means to them to have the game tailored to AIOs.

“We at Filimundus were excited to adapt our successful mobile game, Pettson’s Inventions, to the All-In-One concept,” said Feldt. “It gave us the possibility to create a player vs. player mode, which gave the game a totally new, exciting dimension. We believe the devices will have a natural place in people’s home where kids and parents can play together, instead of the individual playing session we see today.”

If you have a group of kids to entertain, check out Prankster Planet Banana Blast Off! from Sesame Workshop. Kids solve a truly galactic problem by working together. It does a nice job of mixing fun with learning.

There are math equations and fun exercises about odd and even numbers. When I played it with my daughter and her friends, we treated it like a game show and pretended we were buzzing in with the answers.

Those banana blasters come in handy when the clock is ticking!

Sesame Learning Project Director Jodi Nussbaum told me more about the multi-player app.

“We are thrilled to extend the adventure of The Electric Company in this distinctive new app that changes depending on the players,” said Nussbaum. “Banana Blast Off! gets at a deeper level of interactive game play and helps build and reinforce math skills with fun ways to solve challenging problems to triumph over Manny and bring the numbers back to Earth.”

Another game is Quiz’Touch, a free game by Get ready for an intense stare down over some interactive trivia. I love trivia games. Quiz’Touch lets you guess the answer by touching the screen or even making sounds (i.e. my brother trying to sound like a kangaroo to answer a question).

AIOs aren’t just changing the gaming experience, they’re changing how our kids learn and test their knowledge. They’re creating new, fun experiences for families and groups of friends.

Learning will only get more fun for kids and kids at heart, especially once they dive into the engaging games and experiences found inside new Portable All-in-One PCs.

Images courtesy of Filimundus and Sesame Workshop.

Daylon Furlough is the author of the Day 8 New Human war book series. He is known in the gaming industry as The Velvet Voice, aka Deacon. He received the Microsoft Xbox MVP for 8 consecutive years and has a love for all things tech, nerd, geek and gaming. He hosts a variety of entertainment events in Dallas, including movie premieres, mobile phone launches, game launches and more. You can visit his website at UNSCRIPTED XBOX.

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