Hi! I know, I know, it's been a looonnngggg time. How is everyone?
I think we can all agree there's been a lot going on these past few months for everybody, but couple that with some health issues, work issues and just general everyday life with two kids busy-ness and unfortunately this here little blog fell by the wayside. I'm not proud of it, but it's what's happened so let's acknowledge that and move on.
So I am back typing at you about GAMES! I didn't know whether I'd ever see the day again to be honest. But as life slowly starts to lean towards some semblance of normality - or at least as normal as my life ever gets - I've found myself with some time to not only play games, but write about them too! And more importantly, actually wanting to write about them. I've been itching to let my fingers lose on the keys for a while now and after a particularly crazy week (that anyone I have text this week can attest to) I decided enough was enough. It was time for me to do something for me.
And it just so happens that what I want to be doing right now, for me, is telling you lovely lot about a game I've had the pleasure of sharing with my family this past week.
Let's Sing Queen.
We are a family of Queen fans, and rock in general (though my daughter has been known to break my heart and ask Alexa to play Dua Lipa or Ariana Grande, the little traitor!). So when I had an email about Let's Sing Queen I jumped on it, immediately replying to them basically begging for something to do with my kids that wasn't Roblox or Fortnite. Something I might actually have a chance at beating them at. Seriously. Kids playing Fortnite are something else, it makes me feel a little bit motion sick when I see them jumping around, shooting (and actually hitting) people, or worse 'ninety-ing' which I am reliably informed by both my 8 and 11 year olds is the term for building stairs impossibly fast at - you guessed it - 90 degree angles. Lockdown was tough, guys.
So whilst the game downloaded I realised we don't actually own any microphones for the Xbox One. Whoops. Luckily, developers have realised that not every household wants drawers full of plastic peripherals that only get pulled out when there are drunk people around and they have developed an app that you can download onto your phone and sing your heart out into. Brilliant. About nine seconds later, we were ready to go!
We went for the first mode that came up and was greeted with a huge list of Queen songs. Little fact about me as a parent - I used to sing Bohemian Rhapsody to my son every night before bed. I would like to stress this wasn't done in a serious manner - it usually involved copious amounts of 'duh-nuh-nuh-nuh'-ing and screeching the guitar solos - but I took pride in my ability to make him laugh his little heart out just by lifting my eyebrows as high as possible to try and make my voice go higher. What great times we had.
Obviously, we picked Bohemian Rhapsody as the first song we would try out. Each person takes it in turns to shout, scream, hum or whatever into their phone to indicate which player they are and away we went. The video plays in the background as the song words scrawl across the screen - which I have to say was a pleasant distraction - and we all wailed with varying degrees of success at getting the little glowing ball to stay in the bar that indicated where our voices should be going.
Now, obviously, one person can not sing every little part in a song - especially not Bohemian Rhapsody. But if you've ever used - or even seen - a karaoke machine in your life you will be familiar with the whole words as dots and bars thing. The bars appear above the lyrics and usually indicate how long you should sing that particular syllable for. There were obvious gaps in these, where the backing track would carry on the singing, but you'd be given a chance to suck a little breath in and not kill yourself trying to get every last word of the 'Galileo' part of Bohemian Rhapsody out of your lungs. I was disappointed though. When I used to sing it to my son this was the most fun part - the headrush and the very questionable sounds coming out of my mouth as I used the last of my breath to wheeze out 'magnificcco-ooo-ooo'. I felt robbed.
The song ended and the scores came up and sure enough - for the first time in months - I had beaten my kids at a game. AND THEY WEREN'T COMPLAINING! Anyone with kids knows that usually when you triumph over them you're met with whines of 'you didn't give me a chance' or 'I didn't know the buttons' or, the one I found the most annoying 'Mum you were blocking the screen on purpose!' How dare they figure that out so soon!
Instead they immediately started arguing about which song to do next. So whilst it wasn't exactly a relaxing environment at least neither of them were screaming about how toxic the other one was. Again, thanks Fortnite.
To cut a long story short - because reading this likely isn't as exciting for you as it is for me - what started as a 'lets pop this on for half an hour before bed' kinda thing ended up being a full size, headliner set at Glasto. Two hours later, voices hoarse and throats sore we turned it off - although the kids still wanted to carry on.
I can honestly say it was the most fun we have had in a long time. As I touched upon before, lockdown has been tough - as it has on everyone. We've been better than most, we've got an abundance of games, movies and books in our house, but with all the added stresses of the world I don't think any of us were actually enjoying the time we spent on games etc. We should have been, obviously, but we had had such high access to them over the last few months that things were starting to lose their shine. We were taking things for granted. Or just losing our excitement for them because we could play all day if we wanted.
Let's Sing Queen gave us a new experience that we really revelled in. And, honestly, one my son might not have been so open too previously, being at the age he is. But we all threw our all into giving silly performances to make each other laugh. The competition between us was healthy and fun. We laughed and danced and sang our hearts out to some of the greatest music ever made.
The one thing my kids weren't too pleased with was the fact we were playing on my profile and - as far as we could see anyway - there isn't the option to sign anybody else in so that everyone levels up. So I was levelling up and unlocking new avatars and the like and they weren't. My son wasn't too bothered, but my daughter wasn't pleased, especially when I unlocked a particularly cool avatar with star makeup on her face.
The app on our phones worked perfectly all night too, with no noticeable dropouts or issues, even when the kids phones dropped to below 5% charge - which usually means your phone can only work as a paperweight until you plug it in.
I think Let's Sing Queen could bring a whole new fanbase to the Lets Sing games. Back on the 360 (before the kids came along) we used to have singing games that featured the usual pop tracks that only came out of the drawers when we had parties that featured copious amounts of alcohol. We're just not really a pop music family, so the Let's Sing games are often overlooked by us and any we have looked at have been quickly put back, because we're just not that interested in the track list. But fill a game with just Queen tracks and we had a brilliant night. In fact, it was the first thing the kids asked to do when they trudged in from school the next day too.
What I'm trying to say is that by releasing a game like Let's Sing Queen, they're not going to alienate the already existing fanbase. Have you ever met anybody who doesn't like at least a few Queen songs? Instead, they have the opportunity to sell games to people who may not have bought a Let's Sing game previously - like us. The fanbase can only grow by adding a game like this to the stable.
Lets face it - we're still not going many places. If you're missing days out, making memories with your family then I wholeheartedly recommend you pick this game up. It's about £40, but lets face it, what else are you spending your money on this year? Pick this up, get the app downloaded on phones, iPads, whatever. Grab some cans of pop and some sweets and have a little house party with the kids. I promise you, you'll have fun. The nights we have spent on this game will be some of our fondest 2020 memories for sure.