Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News


The Five Best Family Console Video Games of 2013

Dec 20 2013, 11:26am CST | by

10 Updates
The Five Best Family Console Video Games of 2013
Photo Credit: Forbes


Full Story

The Five Best Family Console Video Games of 2013

The top five console video games you should be playing with your family this Christmas, including some easily overlooked gems.

As we head into the wee hours of 2013 our thoughts at Forbes Games turn to the highs and lows of the last 12 months. Setting aside the worst for another day it falls to me to pick our top five family console video games.

Unlike picking the top shooters, strategy or role play games, the family category spans the genres. This in turn leads to the huge variance in what family means to each of us. It’s perhaps the most overtly personal list of games we’ll pick this year (although I’d suggest none of these lists are ever really absolute if you scratch beneath the surface).

I’m also going to focus on console games and have a separate list for handhelds as there are simply too many to choose from. My final caveat before I dive in is that I’m avoiding choosing two similar games to ensure the list is varied — Disney Infinity and Skylanders Swap Force I’m looking at you.

5. Knack – PS4

Knack impresses on a number of levels, not least being a family friendly launch title when it’s usual to focus on core gamers. If Japan Studio and Marc Cerny hadn’t ended up creating Knack one wonders what their launch game may have been.

The family instantly warmed to Knack’s Pixar storytelling (something that is often claimed but rarely delivered by video games) that engages the emotions with more than the usual by-the-numbers story telling. There are real moments of distress, concern, joy and relief as you play through the game. This gave both grown-ups and children a real reason to play.

Admittedly the game is quite hard, but while many older players seem to assume this level of challenge is a show stopper for youngsters my kids set about proving they were up to the task in hand. Playing on Easy first time through has led to them returning to play on Normal, and trying to find each and every hidden item.

So far, so run-of-the-mill plaformer. What made Knack stand out for us was a little of what makes the PS4 stand out, it’s the Vita factor. While I’ll leave specific Vita games for my Top Handheld Family Video Games list in the coming weeks, playing Knack via both the PS4 and Vita was more than a novelty for us.

Firstly you can use the Vita as a second controller, if you don’t have two DualShocks. But the format that worked best was using the Vita via remote play and having the TV off, then using a DualShock controller for player 2. The boys would sit on the couch one clutching the Vita and the other a controller, both using the Vita screen to play Knack. It worked wonderfully well.

Knack combines this kind of unusual play-form with a great story, impressive visuals and some strong characters to be a big reason why families should look seriously at the PS4.

4. Wonderbook Walking with Dinosaurs – PS3

Many will have overlooked the Wonderbook games , consigning them to good ideas that never quite took off. However, those who have played these games in a family setting will enthuse about its game changing experience./>/>

Controlling a video game with a book sounds like a cumbersome idea, a category mistake; books and games are different things. But the familiarity and ingrained instinctive nature of reading a book lends these games something intuitive that does away with gamer/non-gamer divides and again crosses both gender and age.

Walking With Dinosaurs is, perhaps, the perfect combination for Wonderbook. Not only does it have a prehistoric dinosaurs and excavation mechanics to draw on but also characters from the Walking With Dinosaurs movie .

As you would expect from the BBC, and developer Super Massive, quality abounds here. Less expected though is how well the page turning, shaking, shouting and deft pointing combine to create a coherent experience. The icing on the cake is an educational thread running through each chapter with tests at the end that my kids actually relished completing.

Wonderbook Walking With Dinosaurs is a high water mark for augmented reality experiences on any system, I hope we see more for the PlayStation’s groundbreaking Wonderbook peripheral.

3. Wii Party U – Wii U

Although some will see this as a collection of mini games, Wii Party U is actually a treasure chest of well designed family gaming action that is coherently arranged in time specific groupings. The sheer variety on offer here, along with the attention to detail on each and every mini-challenge makes this stand out for families.

Like the Wii game before it, Wii Party U offers not only a collection of novel ways to use Nintendo’s controllers (now including the Wii U gamepad) but also strings these eclectic experiences together with board-game-like challenges and quick play modes to fit most tastes.

Wii Party U stood out in my family through the different board game challenges. This draws on the developer’s experience with the Mario Party series but applies a more generic aesthetic to them that is less off-putting to those who don’t readily identify with Mario, Luigi, Peach and the gang. This again means that it more easily crosses the gamer/non-gamer divide as well as age and gender groupings.

Particularly fun for us were the Gamepad table-top style challenges like Baseball and Table Football. Although these seem super simple at first, they soon become more complex challenges depending on who you are playing. In fact, it’s this change of perspective (from the game itself to the other people in the room) that epitomizes what’s so great about Wii Party U — and arguable the Wii U itself.

Another great set of games for families on the Wii U that wouldn’t be possible on any other system — even if Nintendo did starting making games for other “people”.

2. Disney Infinity – 360, PS3, Wii U

It took me some time to come around to Disney Infinity , but once I understood how different it was to Skylanders it really started to impress. While the toys may not be as central to the play-mechanic as Swap Force and out of the box it lacked a little polish (or the ability to play co-op in the campaign), each day played our family’s infatuation with Infinity has grown.

The variety of game-play in the Play Set adventures, the openness of the game worlds, those super realized Disney characters and the quality of the physical toys combine to make Disney Infinity a winner for my family.

Add to this the Toy Box game creation mode and the free downloadable content for that space and you have an experience that offers considerable value (provided you don’t get drawn into collecting all the figures)./>/>

Disney Infinity had a very tall order this year, but from a standing start has become a genuine go-to experience for families of all shapes and sizes. Most telling for us is its ability to attract both my sons and my daughter to get us all playing and creating together.

1. Lego City Undercover – Wii U

This exclusive Wii U game, being released quite early in the console’s life and before the console had really been embraced by the masses, was easy to overlook. The combination of the long standing and popular Lego City series of physical sets and the open world game-play are a big draw for families.

While core gamers may have got hung up over the slower load times, not-quite-GTA play mechanics and its slow story lines, these concerns didn’t register for us. The safe Lego aesthetic and the open world exploration provided a framework not only for the game’s story and characters but also for children, parents and even grandparents to make their own fun.

Seeing their favorite Lego toys and kits in the game was more than just a novelty for my kids. It created a link between the in-game antics and their imagined play on the living room carpet.

Lego City Undercover on Wii U not only offers another great Lego video-game experience but successfully links that to toys that families already have in their homes. The adventure, world and Lego designs make this an essential purchase for any family.

Near Misses

Skylanders Swap Force – Still top of their game and only not included here for its similarity to Disney Infinity (and my resolve to not duplicated categories). As it stands Swap Force is another great games for families and offers good value if you can leverage your older figures. The mix and match figures are ingenious.

Lego Marvel – Another great Lego game full to the brim with Marvel Lego character goodness and game-play, although nothing really above and beyond what we have seen before. The co-op on console versions are a real stand out feature.

Pikmin 3 – A superb puzzle game for two players and great for families to explore together, particularly if parents played the original.

Super Mario 3D World – Another excellent outing for Mario, but in 3D with new abilities and four player fun on the Wii U. A veritable galaxy of platform action and puzzling.

And many more that could have been included but didn’t make the cut. Also don’t forget I’ll have a separate list for Top Five Handheld Family Video Games in 2013.

Source: Forbes


iPad Air Giveaway. Win a free iPad Air.

You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update

Update: 10

4 Firms In Iskandar Malaysia Get Facilitation Fund Totalling RM16.2 Million

Source: Malaysia Today

(Bernama) – Four companies have received the facilitation fund amounting to RM16.2 million from TERAJU@Iskandar Malaysia in an information sharing programme on business opportunities and assistance for the small a ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today 8 hours ago


Update: 9

Selangor’s Watergate about to explode

Source: Malaysia Today

Anwar brought Wan Azmi to meet Khalid to try to resolve this matter. Anwar supports the RM2.5 billion claim but Khalid is stubbornly sticking to the figu ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today 1 day ago, 4:12am CDT

More From the Web

Update: 8

GLCs told to provide RM7 billion to develop Bumiputera firms

Source: Malaysia Today

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
(The Malaysian Insider) – Putrajaya has directed government-linked companies (GLC) to generate RM7 billion in business opportunities for Bumiputera firms this year, Prime Minister Prime Minister Datuk ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today 1 week ago, 2:05am CDT

Update: 7

Rafizi shows proof of Putrajaya’s hand in contentious carpet-trader loan

Source: Malaysia Today

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider PKR lawmaker Rafizi Ramli today revealed documents to prove Putrajaya interfered in the RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan to ‎controversial businessman ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jul 16 2014, 2:16am CDT

Update: 6

PAS MP claims Bank Rakyat loaned carpet-trader RM215m, interest free

Source: Malaysia Today

(Malay Mail Online) – Controversial businessman Deepak Jaikishan (pic) was given a whopping RM215 million interest-free loan from state-owned Bank Rakyat, a PAS lawmaker alleged today, despite Putrajaya’s claims otherwise.... READ MORE ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jul 14 2014, 5:52am CDT

Update: 5

MRCB, Nusa Gapurna and PKNS settle suit over RM3 billion PJ Sentral project

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), Nusa Gapurna Development Sdn Bhd (NGD) and PKNS Holdings Sdn Bhd have reached an out-of-court settlement over the ownership of the ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 21 2014, 2:53am CDT

Update: 4

Story behind Syed Mokhtar’s ‘RM2.25 billion tax-exempt’ Bernas deal revealed, says PKR MP

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – An innocuous written reply in Parliament has provided a peek into the cosy relationship between the Najib administration and Malaysia’s best-known business ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 15 2014, 12:56pm CDT

Update: 3

Constitutional monarchy still murky concept

Source: Malaysia Today

After the RM4.5 billion land sale, the Sultan of Johor secured a 15% stake in MOL Access Portal (MOL) for RM396 million and took a 20% sta ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 14 2014, 12:37am CDT

Update: 2

Sultan of Johor’s RM4.5 bil backlash?

Source: Malaysia Today

"GOLDEN ASIA" Tokyo Premiere Press Conference
Has Sultan Ibrahim of Johor’s succession of big money deals over the last six months caused the tide of public opinion to turn against Johor’s royal palace? KiniBiz examines the... REA ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 8:49am CDT

Update: 1

Putrajaya denies carpet dealer given interest-free loan

Source: Malaysia Today

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider Putrajaya today refuted allegations that Bank Rakyat had allowed carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan to repay a RM32 million loan without interest followin ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 5:44am CDT

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Frank Caliendo Reads LeBron Jame&#039;s Letter in Morgan Freemans Voice
Frank Caliendo Reads LeBron Jame's Letter in Morgan Freemans Voice
The Comedian also made an appearance on ESPN's Sports Nation
The HP Chromebook 14 is a Great Back to School Necessity
The HP Chromebook 14 is a Great Back to School Necessity
HP Chromebook is available at Amazon for $306.99. It is that time of year again time for students to start getting ready for back to school. Make sure they have the best with the HP Chromebook 14. It is great looking...
The HP 15-g070nr Laptop is a Great Back to School Work Laptop
The HP 15-g070nr Laptop is a Great Back to School Work Laptop
HP 15-g070nr Laptop is available at Amazon for $248.00. Like the title mentions, this one has a 15.6 inch screen with a high definition resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. This is a good screen for a budget device like...
Apple To Launch New Mobile Payment Solution With iPhone 6
Apple To Launch New Mobile Payment Solution With iPhone 6
Apple using a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as its way of handling payment

About the Geek Mind

Read more about The Geek Mind.