Family video games – Christmas 2014 buyer’s guide

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2014 has seen the video game business continue to go from strength to strength.  With consoles such as Sony’s Playstation 4 having sold over 15 million units more and more family homes are making use of these to provide family entertainment.

video game buying guide

Video games provide a great activity for children and their families to enjoy sharing at home but many are not suitable for younger gamers.  Despite various aged certification on game boxes children are frequently being exposed to games that are not suitable for them to play.  What games are children allowed to play and which ones are they likely to want to play?

What do you need to know?

If you’re buying a video game for someone the first thing you’ll need to know is what system they would like to play it on.  The choice is wide but is likely to be one of the following devices; Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 2DS, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, PC, Android tablet or an iOS device (iPod, iPad, or iPhone).  Once you know their platform of choice you need to know what game to buy, what the game is about and whether is it suitable.

Which games are popular and child friendly this Christmas?

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (3DS/2DS, Wii U, PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox 360 and Xbox One)

Lego_Batman_3_-_Beyond_Gotham_cover

Lego Batman 3 is a puzzle action game where players get to control not only Batman but over 150 unique characters from the DC comic universe including characters like Superman, Green Lantern, Wonderwoman and Flash.

The game is colourful, fun and has a very cheeky sense of humour.  One of it’s greatest strengths is its cooperative multiplayer that allows 2 players to play together on the same television screen (not available on 3DS/2DS and Playstation Vita), allowing siblings or parents to join in the fun.

PEGI rate Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham as suitable for persons aged 7 years or older.

FIFA 15 (3DS/2DS, Wii, PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox 360 and Xbox One)

FIFA_15_Cover_Art

FIFA 15 brings all of the world’s top teams and players together and puts you, or your children in charge of the action on screen.

The game contains lots of different modes and ways of playing to keep things interesting and multiple players can team up and play together or go head to head, both in the same room or across the internet.

PEGI rate FIFA 15 as being suitable for any age but the controls will prevent young children from being able to join in the fun.

Disney Infinity 2.0 and Skylanders: Trap Team (Wii U, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One)

Skylanders_Trap_Team_cover_art

Disney Infinity 2.0 and Skylanders: Trap Team are similar games, both making use of physical toys which are placed on a special accessory that transfers information stored on the toys onto the television screen, essentially making the toys come to life.

Disney_Infinity_2.0_Pack_Coverart

The games and toys have become incredibly popular recently.  The games are action-exploration games and the toys that come with them are very collectable.  Skylanders Toys are wild in their designs and each have unique characteristics in the game.  Disney Infinity figures are all based upon characters from popular Disney products such as Frozen, Marvel Superheroes and Tangled.

These are both great games for children to play alone but also support drop in cooperative play so friends, siblings or family can join in the fun with an extra controller.

PEGI rates both titles as suitable for 7 years and up as both games contain fantasy violence.

Super Smash Bros (Wii U, 3DS/2DS)

Super_Smash_Bros_for_Wii_U_Box_Art

Super Smash Bros brings together a huge host of popular video game characters into one game to fight it out to see who is best.  Characters such as Mario, Link (from the Zelda series), Sonic and Megaman all come to blows in this outrageous multiplayer focused brawler.

Super Smash Bros can be played in single player, but this is very much a game for groups of friends and family to play together.

PEGI rate Super Smash Bros as suitable for persons aged 12 and upwards as it contains violence in a sporting context.

Minecraft (PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android devices and iOS)

Minecraft screen shot

If your children don’t already own Minecraft then chances are this Christmas they’ll be hoping to receive it.  It has totally taken the world by storm and has sold around54 million copies across all of the platforms it is avaliable for.

The game provides a huge sandbox built entirely of blocks that can be destroyed and built allowing for unlimited potential and some incredibly freeform gameplay.

PEGI rate Minecraft as suitable for persons aged 7 and over as it allows for non realistic violence towards fantasy characters.

Just Dance 2015 (Wii, Wii U, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One)

Just_Dance_2015

Just Dance 2015 is the latest in the popular series of dancing games.  This version has a fantastic playlist including hits like “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and “Walk this way” by Run-DMC and Aerosmith.

This year players can record themselves dancing and allow others to watch and vote on their moves.

PEGI rate Just Dance 2015 as suitable for everyone.

 

That concludes my list of top video games to share with the family this Christmas.  What games will you be playing with your family in the comments below.

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