Sunday, January 04 2015 15:11


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A noble effort presented with flawed execution, UNPLUG & PLAY! 50 GAMES THAT DON'T NEED CHARGING is author Brad Berger's attempt at bringing friends and family together for some old-fashioned fun that's devoid of "screens." Released last year by Keller International Publishing (of which Berger is President), we've had a review copy floating around here for months, and my hesitation to write about it can be pointed toward the fact that it's just not that exciting or fun.

UNPLUG & PLAYWhile I completely agree with Berger's stance that electronic devices have killed a huge part of family (and social) interaction, these pen-and-paper based games are often too complicated to play in a group where younger kids are involved, or again, just not that fun. That's not to say that there's not some good ones in there - "Who Drew That?" and "Spelling Bee" come to mind - but they're among the most simple, and you really don't need a $20, comic-sized softcover to tell you that. In fact, ours looks beat-to-hell from just moderate use.

As the back of the cover itself states, "For five minutes or five hours... they were unplugged," and with this book I'd say the "five minutes" is more likely. Coming out of Christmas, I just reorganized our game closet, and it's loaded nearly floor-to-ceiling with games that don't require devices - games that "don't need charging" and can be enjoyed by kids and grownups alike.

In fact, as I type this very review, the only sound in my house is that of my wife and the girls laughing and playing... completely unplugged.

Available from Amazon.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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