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Diner Dash 5: Boom!
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Diner Dash 5: Boom! is a downloadable computer game that can be connected to Facebook, allowing players to trade specially-won bonus items through the social networking site. As different parents have some very different opinions of and feelings toward Facebook, this is definitely a factor to keep in mind. In addition to that, parents should know that much eating of snacks -- popcorn, pretzels, cotton candy -- goes on in the course of the game. But there is also a salad bar.
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What's it about?
In DINER DASH 5: BOOM!, plucky eatery owner Flo gets sabotaged by a greedy businessman who wants to swipe up her land. He takes the word \"Fat\" off of her \"Fat Free Breakfast\" sign, and the rush of customers proves too much for her tiny edifice, which bursts from overcrowding. Now Flo needs to work up the money to have her diner rebuilt before the villain can take over her lot (The legalities here are a little iffy, but that's not too important). With no restaurant to serve her food in, Flo sets up outdoor tables to create an impromptu street cafe.
Is it any good?
Diner Dash 5: Boom! is a gold mine for fans of time management games. There are so many nice details that make the gameplay far more interesting than simply moving around a little waitress and making her bring food to tables. For one thing, you need to be careful about where you seat different customers -- groups of lawyers who sit near each other are prone to argue, bookworms hate being next to noisy tables, dating couples want privacy, guys with cell phones will annoy almost anyone they're next to, etc. Some customers, like businesswomen, are in a rush and need to be prioritzed, while seniors are more patient and take their time. As the game takes place outdoors, you also have to contend with nature -- rain, wind, leaves falling into people's food, and even earthquakes (which do no more than shake the tables). Another nice bonus allows you to customize Flo's new diner as it is built, so that the last level, played inside the new eatery, will have a unique setting of your design. A worthy new installment to one of the most popular casual gaming franchises.
Online interaction: When special items are won in the game, they can be "gifted" to friends through Facebook.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can talk about time management. The key to success in this game is prioritizing your various duties and making sure no responsibility is skipped or forgotten. What kind of real-life lessons can be learned from that style of gameplay? In what ways can you manage your daily responsibilities better? What are the benefits of good time management skills?