THINGS I WISH MY KIDS WOULD ASK ME
Editor's note: Barry Courter has a 21-year-old son who is a senior in college and a 17-year-old daughter who is a junior in high school.
Q: Dad, last week's suggestion about assigning duties after a fraternity meeting was pretty good. We also have a problem with people remembering things differently from previous meetings. How do we fix that?
A: Someone has to take notes, and they need to be accurate. Record them if you can. People often hear what they want to hear, or they focus on just what pertains to them. Good record-keeping is key.
—By Barry Courter
NOW SHOWING: "Hall Pass"
Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis play a pair of married dorks whose long-suffering wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) give them a "hall pass" from their husbandly duties for a week. That means they have seven days to hit the town and enjoy the single life before slipping back on their wedding rings. Can co-writers/directors Peter and Bobby Farrellyus highs of "There's Something About Mary?" We're guessing no, but maybe it'll be fun to watch them try. —Ethan Alter
COMING SOON IN 3D
Count on the Nintendo 3DS with its no-glasses-needed 3D display to be popular when it is released March 27, along with a list of at least 18 gaming titles confirmed by the company with more to follow soon after.
Also expect to pay a pretty penny to get your hands on this device. The Nintendo 3DS will cost $249.99 and is available for advance order. Games for 3DS will cost about $30 a pop, which is about $5 more per game compared to cost of new games for the Nintendo DS. The list will include 3DS-versions of "The Legend of Zelda," "Super Street Fighter," "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wards," "Lego Star Wars III" and "Super Monkey Ball." Visit www.nintendo.com/3ds/games/ to see a fuller list.
DOWNLOADABLE GAME OF THE WEEK
What: "Spare Parts"
• For: PS3 (via PlayStation Network) and Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade)
• Age raanimated blood, mild fantasy violence)
• Price: $10
It's only fair that a $10 game be held to a looser standard than a $60 or even $20 game, but "Spare Parts" occasionally pushes that generosity threshold to the edge. Mostly, "Parts" is a harmless case of "Ratchet & Clank" lite: You're a robot named Mar-T, and while your default abilities consist solely of running, jumping, punching and firing flimsy projectiles, a handful of found parts gradually allows you to walk on magnetic walls, hover like a rocket and hack electronics. At its best -- which, fortunately, is the rule and not the exception -- "Parts" is a charming, visually vibrant game that uses these abilities to create some clever puzzles and platforming challenges. Occasionally, though, "Part" leans excessively on combat, which, due to sloppy combat controls that remain sloppy even when Mar-T upgrades its abilities, never really feels good. That comes to a head during the first half of the final boss fight, which drags unnecessarily and, due to a nearly non-existent penalty for death, isn't challenging so much as monotonous. The bad taste that lingers isn't the deal-killer it would be in a more expensive game, but if you consider your time more valuable than your money, it's still something to think about because you lock in your purchase. —By Billy O'Keefe
There soon will be released a great new book by one of my favorite tech writers, Guy Kawasaki, called "Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions." I've corresponded with this gentleman off and on for several years, and he is one of the most generous and prolific writers online, always willing to share his thoughts and help in any way possible. I can't wait to read it. —Donnie Jenkins
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...