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Top Family Games for Winter 08

14/11/2008 Family Family Gamer Article
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With the holiday season fast approaching here is our expert opinion on what is hot for the youngsters in your household.

We Ski Wii

The simplicity of controls combined with the open ski-anywhere environments make for a skiing experience that is fun for all ages. Kids can steer by just swaying the Wii-mote and Nun-chuck left or right, whilst grown ups can add a Balance Board (from Wii-Fit) for a more authentic downhill experience.

Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise DS (360)

For those children who want a bit more involvement in their video gaming, the DS version of Viva Pinata offers an experience that is second to none. As they develop their habitat to attract and nurture various animals they will learn the basics of gardening cause and effect. For grown ups who want to play this strategic gardening simulator with their offspring, the 360 version's new co-operative play mode is ideal.Castle Crashers 360

A re-imagining of those games Dad used to play when he was younger. This brash, loud and wildly inventive brawling game is great fun to play alone. Get a few family and friends along though, and the experience really comes to life. Work your way through a wide range of Knights and Castles inspired levels to develop your heroes abilities and equipment. Ingenious!

Lego Batman DS (PS2/PS3/Wii/360/PSP)

The combination of Lego and comic book super heroes is perhaps even more 'made in heaven' than the previous Lego Star Wars games. Combine this with the great two player co-op modes and you have a game that should go down a treat on Christmas day.

Family Trainer Wii

Although some might turn their noses up at this hotchpotch of dancing, exercise and entertainment. Get it out with some kids around and you have the makings of a raucous fun filled few hours. What better way to wear them out on Christmas day than to stomp, jump, run and laugh their way through the some of the best mini games we've seen for a long time.

FIFA 09 Wii

Even for those new to football (soccer), FIFA on the Wii is easy to understand and play. The All Play Wii-mote only controls are ideal for beginners, and the 8 a side matches put your Mii's on the pitch for some fast action football. What's more, once the kids have gone to bed simply plug in a Nun-chuck for a fully fledged football experience.

Buzz PS3 (PS2)

Everyone loves a quiz show, be it Who wants to be a Millionaire, or Weakest Link, nothing unites the family like shouting answers at the TV. Buzz brings this quiz show experience home with it's very own host and buzzers. Another Boxing day favourite to get the family up and about again.


While Guitar Hero and Rock Band recreate a real band experience, Wii-Music looks to cater for those without the time or inclination to perfect their rhythm action skills. Here, the game takes whatever input you give it (though your Wii-mote and Nun-chuck) and creates music. Although this may not be as slick or impressive as the Band games, it really does let everyone play along - any age and any ability.

Animal Crossing: City FOlk Wii

Animal Crossing is a microcosm of life, relationships and capitalism, all perfectly rendered on a miniature island. The Wii game extends this to a central hub city, but maintains the classic collecting and creating aesthetic that players previously enjoyed. Because you have to play this game through the seasons to obtain all the hard to get items, it could well still be entertaining your offspring this time next year.

Sing It PS3

Although video game Karaoke is not a new idea - the combination Disney's child pleasing High School Music (and similar) with this sing along challenge is just too much fun to give up. Although this will be purchased for the kids, once they are in bed, Mum and Dad can let loose and get down to their cheesy (Grease inspired) hearts content.

Pure PS3 (360)

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift PS3 may have the ticket for the Dads in the audience. But for sheer exuberant fun and frolics there is no denying Pure has the lion share. The combination of off road racing, tricks and jumps, and some impressive visuals make this a great game for all the family.

Imagine: Champion Rider DS

Although Ubisoft's burgeoning Imagine range can seem a little bloated. This game delivers the goods in spades. Not only are the visuals top notch for the DS, but the combination of riding mini games and pet care really suite the audience. Add to that a trick or two learned from Shadow of the Colossus - riding a horse that has its own sense and path finding - and you have a game that quickly comes to life.

Written by Andy Robertson

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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