Family Friendly Games

Thanks in large part to the success of the Nintendo Wii, video games have seen a huge surge in popularity, and nowhere has this become more prevalent than in the family room. With games whose notion is that ‘anyone can pick up and play’, family time has become re-invigorated with help from the “cutting edge” in technology. Here are a few games across the latest platforms that will help you reconnect.

Wii Sports

Wii Sports is the true ambassador of the Nintendo Wii, coming packed in with every system sold. Known for its staple ‘recreational’ titles, Wii Sports offers up several fun games for the whole family to enjoy. Bowling is, of course, what the pack-in is best known for. An almost true 1-for-1 equivalent to its real life counterpart, Wii Sports Bowling is as simple and fun as you would hope – intuitive controls, life-like spin and pin action, and bright, cheery graphics. Wii Sports Tennis is an excellent, if simple, version the classic court game. For mom and dad and kids alike, players will quickly get a good feel for swinging on time. Just watch the furniture on this one, as two on two matches quickly get heated. Golf, Baseball and Boxing round out the five game compilation.

Wii Sports Resort

The sequel to the acclaimed Wii Sports, Resort finds gamers and their Miis on Wuhu Island – Nintendo’s fantasy island where pretty much anything is possible. With the inclusion of Wii Motion+ (plus), gamers will find retooled versions of Bowling and Golf, and a slew of new games. From Swordplay (yup – you can finally beat up your siblings with swords and get away with it!) to Air Sports, where you can skydive or dogfight to heart’s content, to archery, basketball, canoeing, cycling, wakeboarding and Frisbee. And if you’re really in a competitive mood, try table tennis, a near-perfect version of the real life sport. Families will fall in love with this one simply for the huge number of games the sequel offers. It might just be the best game you’ll find on the Wii.

Rock Band 2, Lego Rock Band and The Beatles: Rock Band

Everyone loves music, and everyone knows dad likes to rock that air guitar, so why not put them together? Harmonix, EA and MTV got together to create three solid games for your Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 for the whole family to enjoy. In each game, anyone can pick up a guitar, drum sticks or a microphone and rock the world. Rock Band 2 will be the game you’ll turn to if you’ve all got varied tastes of music, as the game offers over 900 songs (938 and counting) to rock out to. Lego Rock Band will have the younger members of your family enthralled with more family friendly music (not everyone likes death metal, after all) and, of course, all the Lego trimmings you could ever want – haven’t you ever wanted to ‘build’ your own band, after all? And The Beatles: Rock Band is an experience no music lover should pass up – following the Fab Four through their arrival in America all the way to their final recording days. Kids and parents alike will fulfill their inner rock star fantasies, and can connect with the music from each of their generations.

New Super Mario Bros  for Wii

For the young, old, and nostalgic gamers at heart, Nintendo is returning to its roots with New Super Mario Bros for Wii. A side-scrolling, 2-D game, this four player romp in the Mushroom Kingdom will have your family following Mario, Luigi and their toad companions through all 8 worlds to rescue Princess Peach. With a decidedly Super Mario Bros. 3 feel, Nintendo added family-friendly options to what promises to be a treat for old-school gamers. The inclusion of a shielded bubble, helping to float players not quite up to the task along until they are able to rejoin the action means no one gets left behind, and a video play through of each level is available for those who get stuck on some of the tougher challenges.

Boom Blox Bash Party

Boom Blox is the brainchild of famous director Steven Spielberg, and is a game no family should be without. Taking the seemingly simple notion of the table game, Jenga, and combining it with video games, families use their Wii remotes to launch balls at towers of “blox” puzzle pieces, blasting them apart – Tetris, as it were, in reverse. With Bash Party, the team at EA expanded on the original idea to include levels in varied gravities (under water, outer space), as well as obstacles (like pirates and aliens) to contend with, making an already good game that much better.

Mario Kart Wii

No one can deny that Mario has spent the better part of the last three decades saving Princess Peach, but he’s also done a lot of kart racing, too. In the Wii version, Nintendo added tilt controls to the already epic franchise, and tripled the fun your family will have together as you steer and race after one another, launching banana peels and koopa shells at one another. From the cup races where you’ll race against one another through a series of courses to win it all, to multiplayer where you’ll be trying to pop as many of each other’s balloons as possible, you’re sure to have a blast with this one.

EA Playground

Going back to the playground should open up fond memories for everyone in the family. Classic games like tetherball, wall ball and paper airplane races make their triumphant return, while newer games, like the combination soccer and volleyball mix-up that is ‘kicks’ will have you trying to outdo one another. Slot car racing takes on a new feel in full 3D, lane changing and power up excitement and mom and dad will be happy to see the kids shooting imaginary dart guns at the TV, instead of at the vases and lamp shades. But the best game in the collection is two-on-two dodgeball. You’ll be teaming up with your sister to take down mom and dad, and everyone will enjoy the easy controls.

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Traveler’s Tales combined the two very excellent Lego Star Wars games together to create The Complete Saga, a fun romp through the worlds of Star Wars while wearing Lego-shaded glasses. A lighter look at the entire series, families will quickly bond with the humor of the game, making light of some of the darker moments from the prequel trilogy, and adding style to the original movies. The game is a bit challenging at times, but simple controls make is an easy pick up and play game for the whole family.

Hasbro Family Game Night

Hasbro is known for its many excellent board games, and it’s bringing them to your favorite game console. Connect Four, Yatzee!, Boggle, Sorry! and Battleship – and in the sequel, you’ll find an updated version of Connect Four, called Connect 4×4, Operation, Pictureka, Jenga and Bop it! With Mr. Potato Head as your host, your family will be playing these classic games in style, and best of all – no getting all the pieces back in the box!

Sports Games

It never hurts, too, if you’re a family big into sports to take a look towards games that replicate your favorite TV pastimes. Football fans have long looked forward to the annual launch of the Madden series, but there a lot of other games out there – like the Backyard series, that covers almost all sports (football, hockey, soccer, basketball, and so on), and the more recent Kids Sportz. But it never hurts to look at the big franchise games, as while they might have a lot of depth for the more hardcore gamers, most are designed for easy pick up and play.

If you have any favorite family games we missed, be sure to post your comments below!

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  1. My family is cool, we regularly play L4D together for the sake of blowing zombies straight to Hell. My mum also likes Baldur’s Gate and Diablo. XD

  2. My wife and I are always looking for family friendly games for the Wii. This list is great for our needs. The one game we plan to buy for Christmas is Beatles Rock Band, but Lego Rock Band sounds like it might be fun, too.

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