Welcome Stephen Duetzmann from Engaged Family Gaming this week! Since EFG has already released their holiday gift guide, we decided that Stephen would be an excellent resource for our listeners. We present our top ten(ish) video game purchases for your family this holiday season.
What We’ve Been Playing
We all loved Boston FIG, and re-visit a few of the games we first mentioned on our post-BFIG episode. King of the Hat reminds Andrew a little bit of a game called Gang Beasts (another over-the-top brawler game, but not as appropriate for kids).
Anitra has been playing more BOO, a great game for $5. See our review.
Stephen asks about Dairyman, which we really enjoyed (and reviewed).
Speaking of fighting games, our kids have not yet tried Street Fighter on our SNES Classic, but they love Super Punch Out. Stephen gives some excellent advice on how to introduce Street Fighter (or similar fighting games) to children or anyone who hasn’t played them. Start with move, jump, and ONLY ONE attack button that you all agree on (ie. “heavy kick”). This will teach strategy and positioning, and gives opportunities to learn fighting skill without having to grasp the special moves (ie. fireball).
Andrew’s first try on the SNES Classic was Starfox. Anitra’s was Mario Kart.
Bob Ross Art of Chill – it’s a game that is “mechanically neutral, and therefore relies on its theme”.
Top Ten Video Game Gifts
Toys-to-life: most of them are well-designed for kids, and the older styles are aggressively marked down, making them an excellent deal – as long as you don’t need the online features. Our favorite is Disney Infinity; Stephen’s is Skylanders (Superchargers version). We’re not a huge fan of LEGO Dimensions; it’s much more expensive even though it has been discontinued.
LOVERS in a Dangerous Spacetime: an excellent co-operative game, and no one player is dragging the other(s) along. Note: LOVERS is an acronym, and the spaceship is powered by the “ardor reactor” and the power of love. The actual characters are cute bunnies/frogs/etc. ($15)
SNES Classic (mentioned above). An excellent value for the money, and it will introduce your children to video game history. Nearly all of the games included were groundbreaking when they were first introduced and have stood the test of time – true classics. ($80)
Nintendo Switch: it’s an excellent time to buy it. Between Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, this is an excellent buy for your kids. A home console that is also a handheld seems too good to be true, but it really does work and is sturdier than it looks. ($300 + games)
Note: if you have Amazon Prime, you get 20% off pre-ordered video games. What a deal!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: among other things, it has accessibility controls that actually make it possible for a 2 or 3 year old to really play! This may be added to the Smith family Christmas list, even though we already have Mario Kart 8 for the WiiU. Especially since with the Switch, you and your kids can play it anywhere. ($60)
Splatoon 2: A great way to introduce a third-person shooter to your kids, without any of the PvP violence usually associated with shooters. And it will help your kids develop the skills they will want when they grow up and want to play Call of Duty. ($60)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle: A turn-based strategy game. Not a great introduction, but great for moms & dads who grew up playing Final Fantasy Tactics, XCom, or other heavy strategy games. It’s a challenging game, but also inviting. Not for everyone, but perfect if you enjoy strategy games and would like to be able to play in front of and with your children. ($60)
Rocket League: if your kids want to play something that looks more grown-up. Adults and older kids can hone skills; young kids can have fun driving up the wall and bouncing the ball around. ($20-60 depending on platform)
If your kids are getting old enough that they really want to play Call of Duty, Gears of War, and other M-rated shooting games, you could compromise with one of these T-rated games instead.
Star Wars Battlefront 2: You are a clone trooper or rebel trooper. The dead just give off sparks. This version introduces a single player story mode, but the first version ($20) is also good. TURN OFF VOICE CHAT in multiplayer. ($60)
Overwatch: cartoony, but some blood. Avengers-style heroes battling. Another T-rated shooter. TURN OFF VOICE CHAT. ($40)
Horizon Zero Dawn: story-driven. This would be the compromise versus Assassin’s Creed Origins. There are some bloody parts and some language, (rated T for a reason) but the rest is killing robot dinosaurs. ($50)
More game suggestions:
Minecraft: The only reason why we haven’t gotten Minecraft for our kids is because it’s so hard to stop once you start, and we limit our kids’ screen time. Educational, creative… if you haven’t heard of Minecraft, we’re not sure what else to say. ($20-30)
Cuphead: It’s basically an old-school cartoon made consumable in the form of boss battles. Tamer than some Bugs Bunny cartoons, surprisingly! It’s really hard, but simple to learn. Failure is built-in but obvious; if your kids can handle a game with a lot of failure, it could be a great option. Rated E10+ (mild language, fantasy violence) Also note that it is a Microsoft title, therefore exclusive to Xbox ONE and PC. ($20)
We hope you enjoyed the show and it gave you some ideas for your holiday shopping! Whether you liked the show or not, we would love your feedback. Leave us a comment on the show notes, on iTunes, or your podcast catcher of choice.
Until next week, play games with your kids!