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Wipeout HD is a surprisingly good fit for family gamers, and epitomises a more intelligent broadening of gaming's audience.
Everyone wants a slice of family gaming action these days. Now, I'm not talking about Mums and Dads wanting their time of the 360 or PlayStation 3, although no doubt that's true, I'm talking about the platform holders that are busy courting the wide open seas of the family market.
Whether it's Nintendo's extension of their casual gaming success with Wii U, high definition fun from Sony's Move controller or the innovation of Microsoft's Kinect camera there have never been so many videogame choices for families.
However, with this number of choices comes a considerable amount of added confusion. Working out which platform is right for your family, and which games you should buy is no mean feat. Add to this the complexities of the UK's rating system (unlike other countries we're still dragging our feet with a two tier PEGI and BBFC setup) and the fact that a game marked 3+ on the box may be suitable for a three year old but not necessarily enjoyable, and you have the makings of many frustrating shopping trips.
The answer is not all that complicated - talk to other families with similar age children and see which games work for them. If you've not got anyone like that in your social graph, or local vicinity as we used to say, let me fill those shoes with the first of my suggestions for lesser known family gaming gems.
One game that has a lot more mileage for families than you might expect is Wipeout HD. Although usually thought of as the hardest of hardcore racing games, in its PlayStation 3 iteration it includes features that make it perfect for younger family gamers. In fact my kids found it initially easier to race on Wipeout HD than they did on Mario Kart.
The secret here is its control settings. You can specify how much auto steering you want for each player. This feature nudges the spaceship you control back on the track if it strays too far from the racing line. Turn this up high and even a three year old can enjoy nipping around the Wipeout circuits.
The other thing to do is specify the Sixaxis motion controls so that rather than using the analogue sticks (like expert Wipeout racers do) you simply tilt to steer. Again Wipeout has the edge on Mario Kart here because you can set the sensitivity to this steering. For my youngest, I could turn this down low so that his exuberant efforts didn't send him careering off course. For my older children I turned the sensitivity up (and the auto steer down) to give them more control of the action.
Games that are popular with experienced gamers, but that have controls you can tailor.
The icing on the cake is the split screen multiplayer - the recent unpopularity of which is the bane of many gaming families - that means father and son, mother and daughter or some other combination can compete at the same time.
Wipeout HD is a game that epitomises a good approach to family gaming. Find games that are popular with experienced gamers, but that have controls you can tailor to a wider audience. Make sure you can adjust the difficulty for each player so you can compete across different ages and abilities. Finally, choose games that enable multiple players to compete on the same console at the same time.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: