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My son is a happy guy; for the last few weeks he and I have been trying out the new OUYA gaming system, a new wireless gaming console. It is free to play and custom designed with a sleek modern look. OUYA is "no disc media"; all games and apps must be downloaded directly to the device or installed via an outside storage/drive.
Set up is simple: First connect the OUYA to your television using the enclosed HDMI cable. Power up the OUYA by using the power adapter (also enclosed) and press power. In turning on the TV, you will see the OUYA message. Quickly pair the controller and let OUYA find your wireless network connection. From there the sky is the limit. To start you have four options: Play, Discover, Make and Manage.
The Discover option is a game shopping adventure. You can browse by genre, what is trending, playing with friends, etc. Pretty much the same process as downloading a game to your favorite android device. Every game is free to try. You decide what you like and you are only charged should you purchase.
OUYA keeps you on the cutting edge of new game options in a wide array of genres. There are no discs to store or clutter your family room. You can even connect up to four controllers for group play.
OUYA is partnered with apps like Twitch.TV, iheartradio, Flixster, etc., to bring movies, shows and music to your screen. The system has 8 GB of storage (this can be expanded by USB) and provides 1080p HD quality.
The OUYA's "Make" option puts you in the developer's seat. Simply download the developer kit and start learning and designing.
On to the game options: All games, by the way, are rated for content. We liked "Street Racing" where you can test your driving skills. My husband and I gave Flixster a try and found it had a great selection of movies, trailers, reviews and ratings. My little guy loves "Forsaken Planet" (Rated E for Everyone) where you battle to be the employee of the month. Both my kids are loving "Grow" (rated E) where you are feeding your virtual fish and as they grow you can unlock additional habitats, etc. "Istorybooks" is a wonderful reading app with a library of great, free interactive story books with audio. We tried both Sonic The Hedgehog 4, Episodes 1 and 2, and I must admit I was fighting the kids for the controller! Retro choices had me taking a trip back in time to my Atari days. "Tunein radio" provides over 70,000 live radio stations. Check out the "Coming Soon" tab for future to-be-released games.
As a mom, I found OUYA's online blog very helpful for suggestions and tips. It is even archived by month and category for your convenience. At approximately $99 for the system, it's a perfect holiday gift choice for the gamer in your life.
For more information/downloads please visit www.ouya.tv.
Follow OUYA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ouya as well as on Twitter, Kickstarter, Reddit and Google+.