At the recent E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles in June, video game companies from all over the globe gathered to show off their upcoming products for Holiday 2011 and beyond. Although much of the overall focus of the show this year centered on companies trying to appeal to “core” gamers, there were quite a few games on display that families should be excited about.
In Part 1 of our Favorites, we’ve recognized games in each of the five different gameplay categories we use to classify games on FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com, which helps make it easy for families to search for and find games they are looking for. For Part 2, we’ve then recognized a few of our favorites by platform and category, and conclude this list with our top 3 overall FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com family-friendly favorites of E3 2011.
There are lots of games for families to be excited about this year, and we’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback about what YOUR family is looking forward to playing, so please feel free to leave a comment or ask us a question via Facebook or Twitter.
Part 1 - FAMILYFRIENDLYVIDEOGAMES.COM E3 2011 FAVORITES BY GAMEPLAY CATEGORY
FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com Favorite Educational Games
We were pleasantly surprised that there was actually a fun, eco-focused game that will come along with the real-life exercise bike of Cyberbike. Not only does the game offer a green-themed storyline that teaches players about being environmentally conscious, but there are obvious exercise benefits to using a real bike as a controller.
This downloadable word puzzle game is a cute challenge that rewards clever thinking and spelling. You’ll need to strategize to make the best possible word out of the same set of letters as your opponent.
Sesame Street Ready Set Grover
Designed with principles of Sesame Street’s “whole child” curriculum in mind, Sesame Street Ready Set Grover uses fun mini-games to teach lessons about health, fitness and manners to preschoolers.
Using a real guitar as the controller, Rocksmith promises to help teach players guitar basics as they progress through the game. And you can already use your own guitar as the controller.
Nickelodeon’s Mighty Math trio are coming to the DS this holiday season, and bringing with them all kinds of pattern, counting and sorting puzzles. A great way to introduce preschoolers and young kids to math concepts.
Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012
The top-selling Kinect fitness game is coming back for more, and they’ve listened to user feedback to make this one even better than last year’s. With more dance classes and now floor-tracking, Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 makes working out fun for families, and we consider any game that promotes fitness to this degree to be educational.
FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com Favorite Let Loose Games
Dance Central 2
For the serious dancers in the family, Dance Central 2 introduces simultaneous multiplayer dancing to the successful formula that made Dance Central one of the most popular Kinect games of 2010. And families can import their songs from the first Dance Central into Dance Central 2.
This all-new dance game for PlayStation Move is able to bring together the best of other popular dance titles, as well as add cool new features like a 20-player tournament or a Dance Party mode where you can simply set the time limit and have the game generate a playlist for you.
Just Dance 3 The franchise that put dancing games back on the map is coming back for more in Holiday 2011, and this time up to four players will each have their own routines to perform. With a forgiving scoring system, Just Dance 3 looks to remain the best choice for families who are looking to let young preschoolers play along.
Designed with preschoolers in mind, Nickelodeon Dance features characters from Dora, Fresh Beat Band, Diego and the Backyardigans. 2KPlay worked with a children’s choreographer and a fitness expert in designing this game.
The first ever baseball title for Kinect features an unlikely mash-up of Nickelodeon cartoon characters with real-life MLB stars. Although the controls are accessible for all ages, the game should provide a healthy challenge for older kids and tweens.
Sesame Street Once Upon A Monster
A sort of interactive storybook, Sesame Street Once Upon A Monster follows Cookie Monster and Elmo through various adventures, using full-body Kinect controls to help progress the story. Big, exaggerated motions will be necessary for preschoolers and parents as they giggle their way through Once Upon A Monster.
We’re not sure we can imagine a more fun Kinect game then Take Shape. Players will use their bodies to fit inside shapes to make them disappear from puzzles, work together with up to four players to fill other shapes, and even challenge other teams to match the shapes that they can make. Blending competitiveness, cooperation and over-the-top Let Loose fun, Take Shape seems like the perfect game for any family gathering.
FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com Favorite Competitive Games
Ben 10 Galactic Racing
Based on the popular cartoon which features a boy who can transform into various alien life forms, this cart racing game has solid controls, impressive graphics, and of course a great mixture of items for players to use. Ben 10 Galactic Racing promises to be a fun competitive game for older kids and tweens.
Set to release soon with the upcoming movie, Cars 2 lets players race as various characters from the movies. Multiplayer mode for kids really shines in Cars 2, making this a great choice for competitive families who love to battle all the way to the winner’s circle.
Kinect Sports 2
Kinect Sports is back, with six sports that provide an even more immersive and impressive competitive experience for families. Football, Golf, Baseball, Tennis, Skiing and Darts all require families to use their bodies to battle to be the best.
Mario Kart 3DS
Our favorite new 3DS game, Mario Kart 3DS is the ultimate competitive racing game that’s able to be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels. With new items and customizable carts, you may need to make sure to buy a copy of Mario Kart for every family member with a 3DS.
Mario & Sonic at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games
As with previous versions of the game, favorites from the Mario and Sonic universe are back to compete in “realistic” versions of Olympic events, along with “dream” versions that incorporate over-the-top videogame world elements.
Motion Sports Adrenaline
Forget everything you know about Motion Sports for Kinect, this all-new game was built from the ground up to place players head-to-head in extreme-sports based games such as kayaking, skydiving, rock climbing, mountain biking and more.
FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com Favorite Cooperative Games
Adventures of Tintin
The Adventures of TinTin from Ubisoft is designed with multiplayer, cooperative gameplay in mind. The gameplays as a complement to the upcoming movie directed by Peter Jackson. The designers encourage parents to play together with their kids.
This mash-up of various Disney properties ranging from Tron to Finding Nemo encourages players to work together to complete levels and progress through the game. Cute enough for young kids, but challenging enough for older kids.
Eyepet & Friends
Whereas last year’s Eyepet for Move focused on augmented reality, this year’s installment is designed to be played and enjoyed with friends, and even features cool ways to let gamers bring their Eyepet with them to a friend’s house. Preschoolers and young kids should enjoy this one the most.
Up to four players at a time take control of Kirby and familiar friends as they work their way through a side-scrolling universe, a la Super Mario Bros. Cute art-style will help this game appeal to all ages.
Phineas and Ferb in the Second Dimension
Just as Phineas and Ferb make a great team, it will take two players to really get the most out of Phineas and Ferb in the Second Dimension. Fans of the show will love this game.
With a beautiful art style and a unique sense-of-humor, Rayman Origins lets up to four players work together to complete levels, allowing them to jump in and out of the action whenever they like. Great for a broad range of ages.
FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com Favorite Easy-To-Play Games
From Main Street to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, families can relive the Disneyland experience via Kinect. With easy ways to interact with familiar Disney characters and playworlds, Disneyland Adventures is great fun for the whole family.
The popular ‘80s arcade amphibian is back, and this time he’s in 3D on the new Nintendo 3DS. Even though the graphics and levels have been updated to provide more difficult challenges than just crossing the street, the same basic easy controls are there. Jump forward, back, left or right to avoid obstacles.
Fruit Ninja Kinect
This downloadable Kinect game is based on the wildly popular Fruit Ninja app, and will have kids of all ages slicing their way through flying fruit, trying to get the highest score. Even young kids will be able to step right up and into the fun.
Happy Feet Two
With a combination of dancing and exploring, this movie port is easy-to-play and enjoyable for any penguin fan in your family, no matter their age. Although it’s based on the upcoming movie sequel, the gameplay is a complementary adventure starring Mumble and Ramon - it’s not an attempt to recreate the events of the movie.
Although this PlayStation Move title offers players a variety weapons, the gameplay itself is very cartoony, making it appropriate for kids and tweens. It’s easy to switch from swinging sword to grabbing and firing an arrow.
One of our favorite all-time easy-to-play franchises is back celebrating his 20th anniversary. Combining 3D elements from last year’s Sonic Colors game but also offering classic side-scrolling gameplay from Sonic games of yesteryear, the speedy blue hedgehog is as easy as ever to play and enjoy for kids of all ages.