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DribbleUp Smart Soccer Review

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Practicing soccer at home has usually been a backyard affair, just outside practicing by yourself. This kind of practice is good, but can be lonely after a while without any giving instruction or practicing with you. DribbleUp came up with a solution for that after perfecting their DribbleUp Basketball. I’ve included some Amazon affiliate links in this article in case you’re interested in it further.

DribbleUp Soccer Ball

The DribbleUp Soccer system is basically a special yellow soccer ball combined with a phone or tablet. The phone or tablet has to be put pretty low on the floor for it to detect the ball. I’ve got a video below showing exactly how it works:

You can see that it puts green circles where the ball needs to be to ‘register’ in each drill. So when the ball moves left and right, it will count ‘completes’ as the ball moves through the virtual circles.

My son really likes it. You can do either prerecorded drills or take classes with live instructors. We’re currently just doing the prerecorded drills as they’re a lot better than the basketball ones. We may though decide to do the $10 a month plan if he gets through all the prerecorded stuff. My oldest is doing the classes for the basketball right now as the drills and they’re very high quality.

Space Required

You can see from the video that it doesn’t really take too much space. Probably a 5 x 8 space would be enough. The floor we’re doing it on rolls really well, so we ended up putting our soccer training ring around to keep the ball from rolling away. If you’re doing it on carpet, you probably won’t have that same problem. The angle to view the videos on isn’t the best but it’s better than the basketball angle in my opinion. I say that because with soccer you’re kind of looking at your feet anyways so look down at the video is pretty natural. With basketball, not so much.

Is it worth it?

I think if you’ve got spare time, it’s definitely worth it. My son has never really practiced on his own outside. Like never. So the fact that he kind of likes this makes it totally worth it. If you’re time constrained and your son is already practicing 2 to 3 times a week, this might be too much on top of that. It kind of depends on the kid. The cost though is pretty low, so if it doesn’t work out you can always sell it to get your money back.

SCX Digital Slot Car Racing

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scx digital slot car track
scx digital slot car track

Remember running slot cars when you were a kid? Those tiny cars that would go 100mph right off the track and into the wall, then breaking not long afterwards? I always just assumed that was way all slot cars were, I didn’t even realize that there was an entire other world of slot car racing.

SCX Digital Slot Cars

SCX used to be one of the premier slot car manufacturers. They’ve went through some tough times and still exist, but not very much in the USA anymore. However, all their stuff is easily available through ebay still and is of really good quality. That’s where I ended up buying mine like 5 years ago when my kids were little.

What’s the difference between analog and digital slot cars? Analog cars run strictly off the power rails on the track. When you squeeze the trigger, it provides more power, and the car goes faster. Digital slot cars on the other hand get digital messages over the track instead just pure electricity. These messages tell the cars to faster or slower, to change lanes, to turn their lights on, etc. It allows for this whole other world of control.

Most people don’t even know you can put multiple cars on a slot car track, they’ve never seen such a thing because tracks from 20 years ago required a lane for each car. I didn’t know either when I started, I initially bought a cheaper analog set like the one in the Amazon affiliate link below:

Carrera Slot Car Set 1/32

It was so much fun that we upgraded to a digital set so both my kids could play with me at the same time. We ended up buying two different sets, a GT one and a Nascar one. The GT one was better because the cars had lights on them and were generally cooler overall. The Nascar set probably had a better overall track though, I believe it had higher banking on the turns which made it easier. I think we built the Nascar track and then ran the GT cars on it. I have a couple example videos below which show multiple cars going and just a single car going:

Digital Slot Car Options

SCX digital tracks and cars have a lot of options. Like:

  • Lights for cars, both headlights and taillights
  • changing lanes
  • lap counter
  • lap speed
  • ability to slow down cars
  • support for up to 6 cars on a track

We’ve had all 6 going at one time before, it’s a little crazy honestly with kids. Adults would work a lot better, and frankly to have that many cars you probably need a pretty long track or otherwise you’ll be crashing all the time.

You can adjust the magnet on the bottom so you make your car really ‘stick’ to the track if needed (helpful for newer drivers). It just takes a little screwdriver to make the adjustment. We typically would limit my youngest son’s car’s speed and then make it sticky, so he could go around the track without crashing but be able to take out other drivers on lane changes pretty easily. It was super fun for him to do.

Cost and Durability

Digital slot cars aren’t cheap, they’re like $50 apiece. That’s a lot of money for a toy. However, even 5 years later my cars still work, albeit a little banged up from all the wrecks. Side mirrors, spoilers, etc all eventually get taken out by another driver or a hard wreck, at least in my experience. I think if you were a lot more careful it probably wouldn’t happen, but with our emphasis on fun it just naturally happens.

The track is pretty durable but is susceptible to bending if stepped on. My kids used to step on it accidentally all the time trying retrieve their cars, leading to spots in the track that didn’t make great contract sometimes. These can be fixed by carefully bending it back, but just be aware that you probably can damage the track beyond repair if you bend it too much.

How much space do you need for a slot car track?

You actually need a lot more than you would think. For a 1/32 track, you’d probably better have a 6 x 10 spot on the floor to lay it out plus leave yourself some room to move around it. It doesn’t seem like it would take much but it does. The 1/48 scale stuff from when we were kids doesn’t take much space, but for this better stuff it does. It’s also not something you’re going to want to put away every night after setting up, so having a room you can put it in for periods of time would be best.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at gameroominfo@gmail.com

Great games and activities to do while in isolation

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Things to do while in isolation
Things to do while in isolation

Unfortunately, if you’re reading this, you’re probably in isolation waiting for the current medical issue to pass. A lot of people are pretty active, and having to stay home all the time is a big switch. What is there to do to pass the time? I’ve got a list of both games, skills, etc that might be great for you and your family. I’ve included links below, some are affiliate links which means if you buy something I might get a small percentage. I just wanted to be fully up front with everything, but I really do love the items below and own most of them personally.

Rocksmith

Who hasn’t dreamed of being able to play the guitar? With Rocksmith, you can finally learn in a fun way. And it supports two player, so both you and your child/significant other can learn at the same time. My son and I have been playing it together for years, it’s a great time. They have tons of songs available to learn.

Dribble Up Soccer

Stuck inside, your kid loves soccer or isn’t getting any activity, what can you do? Dribble Up came out with the perfect invention for the kid who’s stuck at home and wants to play.

My son got it for Christmas but hasn’t had time to use it since he’s had both basketball and soccer going on at the same time. Now that we’re in isolation though, he’s had a lot of time to start using it and he really likes it. I can see it making a difference too, his skills are getting better and better.

Dribble Up Basketball

Same thing as soccer, only in basketball form. My oldest loves basketball, so when it looked like we were going to be stuck inside for a long time, I ordered this for him.

We signed up for the monthly classes (only 99 cents to start) and I’ve been pretty impressed with them to start. The light show in the background is pretty funny sometimes, it’s like it’s rock concert or something, lol. But the skills are good and I think he’s improving.

Lego Mindstorm

What’s the problem with modern lego sets? They’re expensive and they only build one thing. Well Mindstorm doesn’t fix the expensive part, but it does build whatever you possible imagine. People have built incredible things like the guitar below:

Video games

PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch are all great options if you’re stuck at home alone. As far as bang for buck goes, I think the Xbox One is probably the leader currently due to the Xbox Game Pass option for $15 that gets you over 100+ games to play whenever you want. Games like Grand Theft Auto 5, all the Halo’s, Tomb Raider, Forza, etc. All of them are good for games like Fortnite.

If you have a good PC, then downloading steam and buying some games there is also a great option if your computer can handle it.

Peloton

You want to work out at home? There’s probably no better option than the Peloton bike right now. My wife got one a month ago after wanting one forever, and she absolutely loves it.

It has tons of classes you can do whenever you want plus live classes every day. I like to use it with the tray add on, so I can type and ride at the same time. It’s a great way to combine a couple activities together.

Darts and Ping Pong

Obviously you need a lot of space for most game room items, but darts is something that you don’t need a whole lot of space for. In fact now, with boards like the Gran Board 3, you can even play darts online, which was never possible before. And since a lot of us are currently trapped inside, it’s a good way to pass the time.

Ping Pong would normally seem to be too big for an apartment. However, they now make miniature tables that are perfect for small areas like the Joola. They even make sets that are perfect for your home kitchen table.

Battle Chess, Still The Best Chess Game

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I’ve been playing chess for a long time, ever since I was a kid in the 80’s. I was so into it that I even read some books on it, like the best openings, strategies, etc. I used to play my uncle every time I went out to Colorado every summer, he’d almost always beat me but eventually I started to get pretty good.

Battle Chess

One summer in the late 80’s my uncle brought his huge monochrome laptop to my grandma’s. On it, he had something to show me…Battle Chess. Instead of just taking pieces, the pieces would get up and attack each other. For kids, it was about the coolest thing ever. It made chess way more cool and fun to play. You were always hoping for this random match-up where you’d see an animation you’d never seen before.

The queen always had the best animations for the most part. She was very wicked. One of the best animations in the game is her taking a pawn.

They tried to make newer versions of the game but I think they forgot the part which made the original so great, the comedy. I think later versions (and copycats like Star Wars Chess) were too serious about everything.

Where to get Battle Chess now

There are two good options, either Good Old Games or Steam. I’m not sure which one I’d pick, I’d probably read reviews and see which one has the better port. Sound is probably the biggest deal, evidently there is a CD version that has really good sound that came out a few years later after the original. I haven’t played that version though so I can’t comment. I do really like the original sound though, it has a pretty good retro feel for it that’s funny.

If you’re a really high level player, there are probably better options now. But if you’re just looking to have a good time with your kid, there’s nothing better. They’ll love it. I high recommend it to anyone as a fun way to introduce your child to chess.

Rocksmith Wireless Guitar Adapter

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Rocksmith Wireless Guitar Adapter On Gibson SG
Rocksmith Wireless Guitar Adapter On Gibson SG

One of the most annoying things about Rocksmith is that the cable means you have to be sitting fairly close to your console or pc. 15 years ago when all the controllers were wired, that wasn’t a big deal, but now that all the controllers are wireless it’s kind of a pain.

I finally decided that I needed to stop tripping over the cord and come up with a long term solution. To do that, I did some research on what wireless adapter had the best bang for buck. I ended up buying this one below.

Rocksmith Wireless Guitar Adapter
Rocksmith Wireless Guitar Adapter

Amazon affiliate link:

Wireless Guitar Adapter for Rocksmith

I also had to buy a female to female adapter as the adapter and Rocksmith cable both have a male end. Amazon affiliate link below:

Female to Female 1/4″ adapter

Rocksmith cable to wireless adapter
Rocksmith cable to wireless adapter

Wireless Rocksmith

So how well does it work with Rocksmith? In a word, flawlessly. It’s something I should have bought a long time ago. I have like 500+ hours in Rocksmith, and all that time I’ve been tripping over the stupid cord.

There’s actually an additional benefit that most people don’t mention, you can use it to send input into both Rocksmith and an amp if you buy an additional adapter. The wireless features a one output to many input feature that allows your guitar to send to both your console/pc and to another amp. The adapter supports up to 6 receivers from one transmitter.

Why would you want this feature? Well Rocksmith has a tendency to kind of mask imperfections in your playing to a degree, while the amp hides nothing. The first time I tried it I was like “Wow, I suck at this song” when I thought I was really good (according to Rocksmith). While technically I was hitting the notes, what I was playing also had all kinds of imperfections that made it sound terrible. It’s a key part in getting better.

What other advantages does this have? Well it will also keep your Rocksmith cable from wearing out, which is also something that eventually goes out after extended use.