E3 is typically about the Next Big Game from the usual publishers, like Ubisoft, Activision, and the rest. But E3 isn’t just Mortal Kombat X and Assassin’s Creed: Unity—there are family friendly games at this show, too! Here’s a quick roundup of some of the best video games coming out soon for families and kids featured at this year’s E3.
Nintendo came out swinging at this year’s E3, hoping to generate interest in a console that has disappointing sales and what seems to be a doomed, short shelf life. If this week’s announced lineup of upcoming games is any indication, though, the Wii U is going to be alive and kicking—at least in 2015.
Not only did Nintendo showcase Hyrule Warriors (a Legend of Zelda/Dynasty Warriors mash-up), and announce an untitled Legend of Zelda for the Wii U, Mario Party 10, Yoshi’s Wooly World, and Bayonetta 2, some games at the show were real standouts.
A third-person shooter developed by Nintendo, Splatoon is vibrant, unique, and immediately grabbed my attention. That’s no easy feat during a Legend of Zelda heavy show. The goal in this multi-player game is “to get your ink on as many places as possible and claim your turf.” Once you see it in action, you’ll want to dive into the messy fun. (Wii U, 2015)
Make your own Super Mario Bros. levels with Mario Maker. What else do I have to say? Parents who played it as kids will dig the nostalgia, and kids (especially the ones who dream of being game designers) will love the challenge. You can even flip between the classic 8-Bit and a 3-D Mario world. (Wii U, 2015)
Nintendo’s answer to Skylanders and Disney Infinity is amiibo. These figures come to life within the game—starting with Super Smash Bros.—and can fight for you or against you. Each figure can learn new stats and tactics the more you play. (Wii U, 2014)
Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes
All of the fun of Disney Infinity in the Marvel Universe, and the Play Set stories are penned by Marvel vet Brian Michael Bendis? Sign me up. Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes includes more than 20 Marvel characters, including the Spider-Man play set, announced at E3. The Hulk also comes to the Playstation 4 as an exclusive. (Playstation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, 2014)
You may still be catching up on Swap Force characters (or Giants or even Spyro’s Adventure…), but Activision has announced the latest addition to the Skylanders franchise. Skylanders Trap Team will be released October 5.
Up until now, you’ve used the Portal of Power to take your characters to the game. In this piece of the Skylanders story, you get to trap defeated bad guys and then save them into the toy accessories. Of course, as you’ve probably already learned from each new game, you’ll have to have a new portal. This time it’s the “traptanium portal,” which has a little prison and crystals that you can save those bad guys on. The new portal also has a speaker.
In Trap Team, everyone’s favorite Skylander villain Kaos finds Cloudcracker Prison, which sounds something like the Azkaban of the Skylands. When the prisoners escape, it’s up to you to recapture them. The trap must be of the element matching the baddie you want to imprison. You can then release them into the wild, so to speak, by plugging the crystal you’ve trapped the character on and then playing it as a good guy in the game.
Trap Team will have 40+ of those trappable villains (including some version of Kaos) as well as 60 new Skylanders, including the Trap Masters, who have traptanium weapons. Like previous versions, all of the characters you already own will be playable in Trap Team as well. You can pre-order now for the platform of your choice at Toys R Us.
Are you looking for something to give the screen-time loving geek on your list? Look no further than our video games and videos suggestions. If your geek likes a little music while tapping up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, then check out our music selections as well. Video Games
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD Thanks to the re-release of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD for the Wii U, fans of Zelda can join Link on ones of his most beloved journeys again. Wind Waker was already notable for fun gameplay and the unique use of the cel-shaded animation style, and seeing it in HD makes it all the more remarkable. $49.99
Pokémon X and Pokémon Y If the Pokémon fan in your life doesn’t already have this, it’s a safe bet to assume this is top of the list. The game has improved graphics and new characters that will delight hardcore fans and newcomers alike. $39.99 each
Skylanders Swap Force Why settle on the power of a single Skylander action figure when you can swap powers to get just the right combination you need? Skylanders fans will love this newfound power. $74.99
Angry Birds: Star Wars Telepods Do you ever play Angry Birds: Star Wars and think, “Gosh, I could beat this level if only I had some different birds?” Now you have the power! Place an Angry Bird telepod over your device camera and boom! Your new bird is now in the game. Plus, the birds make super cute collectibles. $8.99 – $39.99
Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Join Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and many more new characters as they travel back and forth between the Dream World and the ‘real’ world. This game is set up much like Paper Mario in the difficulty, but has many more things to collect and do. A young grade-schooler could probably handle this game. $28.36
Moshi Monsters: Katsuma Unleashed This is a simple platformer game with cute fuzzy animals. Collect all of the captured creatures and use their abilities to make it through the world maps and mini-games. $30
Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver Don’t let the name fool you, this game is challenging! Trick out your vehicle for optimum race results. This game reminds me of some of the more complex racing games going back to Forza Motorsport 3. For gamers who like racing games with some challenge, this can be a stocking-stuffer. $20
Super Mario 3D WorldIf you’ve been putting off getting a Wii U, Super Mario 3D World is the best reason so far to get one. Bright, cheerful, adorable, and one of the best family multi-player games out there, Super Mario 3D World feels a little like Super Mario Bros. 2 in spirit, but without any of the annoyances. Pick this game up if you’ve been on the hunt for a truly enjoyable game the family can play together. $59.99
Wipeout Create & CrashWipeout Create and Crash is a fun and challenging game for all ages. After watching the show with my son, I have to say this game is a nice compliment to the show and some of the courses look pretty familiar. Some of the obstacles would never work in the show, but that’s one of the things that makes this fun to play and funny to watch. $39.99
Much Ado About Nothing feels like a gathering of old friends, with many familiar faces from the Whedonverse, all joining together to match wits and talk of love and romance. If your friends or family are longtime fans of Angel and long to see Wesley and Fred get the happy time together they deserved, buy this for them now. $24.99
My Little Pony: A Pony for Every SeasonFans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, big and small, will love this collection of six episodes from the first three seasons of the show. Each episode spotlights one of the Mane Six, including “Keep Calm and Flutter On,” a Fluttershy-centric episode that features the delightful voice talents of John de Lancie. $14.97
My Little Pony: Friendship is MagicSeason 1/Season 2 If your My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan wants to have the full collection of My Little Pony cartoons, start their collection with the first two seasons. Several GeekMom writers (or their spouses and kids) love the show and how some jokes and references are made just for the 25- to 40-year-old crowd. The writing is amazing, and the art is great too. $30 each
Robot Chicken: Season 6 Blu-RayRobot Chicken fans are going to absolutely love the Season 6 Blu-Ray: not only are all twenty 15-minute episodes included, but there is at least that much in deleted skits, storyboards, and interviews with the writing and stop-motion animation talent that accompany Matthew Senrich and Seth Green’s twisted humor. The perfect gift for your favorite Adult Swim fan.$39.99
Black Friday: A sport to some, an abhorrent tacklefest to others who still look at the ads anyway. (This also applies to the Super Bowl. But if you’re in the latter group about Black Friday, see my post on alternatives the the shopping bloodsport.) Black Friday sales have good years and bad years—some years the sales are unbelievably good, some you might as well drink a glass of eggnog and wait for a nice Tuesday afternoon.
This year isn’t among the more amazing, but because of a late Thanksgiving and thus an unusually short holiday season, we may see more sales as we get closer to Christmas. You’re still not going to find discounts on Playstation 4s and Xbox Ones, but if you’re interested in the older models of gaming consoles, you’re in luck. TVs are also getting cheaper by the second.
Below is a roundup of some of the things you probably have your eyes out for. Note that some of these offers could be available only during certain hours or not in your area, so be sure to check the ads before you get too attached to one. I’ve also offered Amazon (or other site) links on many of them (where it’s possible) so you can get a start checking the regular/online prices to decide whether the Black Friday deals are worth standing in line for. You can also check The Tracktor to see historic Amazon prices for the item.
If you’re considering a Kindle, check the comparison chart to decide which you really want. When it comes to any tablet, be sure to compare specs so you know you’re comparing apples to apples, and confirm which model of an item is on sale.
If you’re looking for regular DVD instead of Blu-Ray, there are gobs of sales, starting with movies from $1. And as always with DVDs and Blu-Ray, there can be different editions here and there, so that could be worth comparing too. For example, Amazon lists eight different Blu-Ray editions of The Hunger Games! On the other hand, if you’re aiming to pick up a flick for $8, you probably don’t care that much.