I got the kid an Xbox for her birthday. I've been resisting a video game system fo a long time, as it's such a time suck, and we already spend a lot of time goofing off on the iPad. But the kid had been making a beeline to the Xbox exhibition model every time we go to Best Buy. After watching her playing a Puss in Boots game, where she was actually "dancing" and "dueling" and "walking" on a tightrope, I thought it might not be such a bad idea. I like the idea of the active playing you can do with the Kinect system.
I have always liked games, since I first got my computer, but I was mostly drawn to the intricate puzzle worlds of Myst or strategy games with ancient civilization themes. Watching (and joining) her play Lego Harry Potter makes me realize how slow my reaction skills are compared to hers. As familiar I am with the Potter characters and stories, I just don't see some of the little Lego objects and their obvious translation into action or gameplay as quickly as she does.
She is not only getting to act out, via the Lego universe, scenes with characters related to movies that she hasn't even seen yet (and books she hasn't read) like Voldemort's horrible snake Nagini, but she is pretty quick at solving problems — like which power/spell to use in her wand. It will be interesting to see how these sorts of games translate into some of her problem-solving in the future, although I notice she has a typical 8 year-old's frustration with getting stuck on a level — well, the frustration is typical for any age, really.
Besides the Harry Potter game, we picked up a few others — the Puss in Boots, of course, which is a lot of fun (Antonio Banderas voices his most famous character), and one based on the television show LOST for me, although I really haven't had any time to play it yet. So far the Kinect system seems to feature more shoot-em-up and adult- or adventure-themed games, so it's good that the kid likes the few that are more geared to her age. There are some workout and sports-themed ones, too made for the Kinect system, so we'll see if these video games can get me up and moving and off my laptop for a spell.