An alliance of top experts from around the globe has banded together to recommend top video games for families this holiday season as part of Family Video Game Month.
The international alliance was created by FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com founder and family tech expert Johner Riehl to build awareness for games that can be enjoyed by families worldwide and includes experts and authors from the UK, Canada, and the US. Joining Riehl are:
- Andy Robertson, founder of GamePeople.co.uk and host of the Family Gamer TV web series.
- Mary Heston, founder of the MrsVideoGame web site and author of Kindle books “Screen Time!” and “Violent Games, Violent Children?”
- Jeff Peeters & Greg Picken, founders of GamerPops.com and Canada’s leading authority on playing games with kids.
Throughout the month of November, these experts will be highlighting great games for families at www.facebook.com/FamilyVideoGameExperts, as well as via Twitter and other Social Media channels.
There will also be giveaways of some of this holiday’s best family titles during two separate Twitter Parties on Friday, Nov. 16 at hashtag #FVGE. The first will occur during the evening in the UK at 8 p.m. London time (3 p.m .ET, Noon PT), and the second will happen at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) and feature input and discussion from the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board). There will be lots of prizes available for participants, including Skylanders Giants, Kinect TV Season Passes, Gift Cards, iOS game codes and more. Check out #FVGE on Twitter to learn more.
While the experts will be releasing and discussing thoughts on numbers games throughout the month, the lists kick off with a look at their Top 10 Favorite Family-Friendly Games of Holiday 2012, featured below.
Family Video Game Experts’ Top 10 Favorite Family-Friendly Video Games of Holiday 2012
(In alphabetical order)
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of 2 – Probably the best two-player game families can look forward to this holiday season. With bright and colorful gameplay and gorgeous graphics on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the game is an improvement over the first Epic Mickey, which featured some dark themes and technical issues that helped prevent it from being a runaway family hit. Families will play side-by-side as Mickey and Oswald as they use a combination of paint and thinner to battle the evil forces which are tearing apart many classic Disney backdrops. (Disney Interactive, $59.99, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii-U, 3DS)
Just Dance 4- The cool thing about Just Dance 4 is the game’s “DJ” mode which allows a player to hold the Wii-U GamePad tablet to select the upcoming dance moves for up to four other players. It means no dance is ever the same, and that Just Dance will continue to be a great title for any sort of gathering. (Ubisoft, $39.99, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii-U)
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and Lego Lord of the Rings – The most trusted franchise for families to play together for the past few years has been anything with Lego in the title, and this year is no exception. Whether it’s superheroes or the magical world Tolkien, these cooperative Lego game feature dozens upon dozens of characters from each universe. They’ve got the classic Lego sense of humor, dozens of hours worth of replayability with hidden collectible items, and are perfect for cooperative gameplay. We love them so much, it’s hard to recommend just one. (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, $39.99/$49.99 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, DS and 3DS)
LittleBigPlanet Karting –LittleBigPlanet and cart racing are a match made in heaven, with fully customizable tracks, items and more that make even user-generated experiences feel like they were made for developers – and vice versa. Little Big Planet kart Racing is a must-have game this holiday season for any PlayStation owning family. (Sony Computer Entertainment America, $59,99 for PlayStation 3)
Madden NFL 2013 – You’d be hardpressed to get a better bang for your buck for the dozens if not hundreds of hours of fun your family will have with Madden NFL 13. There are just so many game modes which are fun for both playing together, playing alone or for playing against each other. As a football game, it’s got obvious competitive value, but there are also deep single-player career modes which require lots of strategic and critical thinking as players form teams, develop players and more. (EA Sports, $59.99, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Vita)
Mario Party 9 – With gameplay that is like a board game, Mario Party 9 is an ideal game for families and one that should be considered a must-own for any Wii-owning family. Skill and luck play an equal role as you play as iconic characters from the Mario Universe, trying to collect the most stars and win the game by competing in any one of 80 different mini-games as you make their way around the virtual game board. If your family likes playing together, you’ll love Mario Party 9’s perfect mix of cooperative and competitive elements. (Nintendo, $49.99 for Wii)
Kinect TV – Sesame Street and Nat Geo – Filmed with real-life characters and hosts, Sesame Street and Nat Geo TV for Kinect play like a real television episode, but with action sequences in between educational moments. For example, kids and parents will need to get off the couch and eat fish like grizzly bears after learning how they gobble them with their mouths as they jump out of the river, or can dance around Elmo’s World as Elmo teaches and sing along. These Interactive TV experiences in Kinect just might be a glimpse into the future of entertainment, as families participate and interact onscreen in ways that make watching TV interactive, educational and hilariously fun. (Microsoft Studios, $29.99 for Xbox 360 Kinect)
Skylanders Giants – In case you’re not up to speed on what is probably the coolest toy/video game crossover ever, then here’s a crash course. Skylanders are real-life collectible figurines that come to life within the Skylanders video game when placed on the included “Portal of Power.” This year’s Skylanders Giants is the follow-up to the franchise’s debut in 2011, and features more than 40 new collectible characters, including 8 all-new “Giant” Skylanders which are bigger and more powerful. It may sound like a gimmick, but it actually works so well because Skylanders gameplay is spectacular two-player co-op fun. And the Portal of Power makes it easy to quickly switch characters whenever you want. Whether you played the first Skylanders or not, Skylanders Giants is a must-have title for any family this holiday, and offers tremendous cooperative fun for families that like to play together. (Activision, $74.99 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii-U, 3DS)
Wii-U, Nintendo Land – We couldn’t be more excited to recommend Nintendo’s new Wii-U console for families, and launch titles like Nintendo Land are the perfect illustration of the possibilities the new GamePad tablet controller will provide. Nintendo Land features 12 different games based on well-known Nintendo franchises like Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion and more. Each game asks at least one player to utilize the new Wii-U GamePad in a unique way, and often require lots of team work and cooperation in order to best help each other play. For example, up to four players may try and collect candy around a map which they can only view a part of at a time, while the player with the GamePad tries to catch them and “tag” them and always has a view of where everyone is. (Nintendo of America, $299/$349 for Wii-U console, $59.99 for Nintendo Land)
Wonderbook: Book of Spells – Wonderbook is a genius idea from PlayStation, in that it’s a real-life book that has AR codes all over it which come to life when placed in front of the PlayStation Move camera. Harry Potter’s Book of Spells from JK Rowling is the first title to be released for Wonderbook, and let’s player learn and practice actual spells from Hogwarts, while watching themselves do it on screen. It’s a magical experience, and one that blends books and interactive entertainment. (Sony Computer Entertainment America, $34.99 for PlayStation 3)
To keep up with all the latest updates on families and video games on Twitter, make sure to follow all our Family Video Game Experts at @FmlyFrndlyVdGms, @MrsVideoGame, @GamerPops, @GeekDadGamer, @FamilyTechDad and of course the @FamilyVGExperts account!