Video Games for Parents to Enjoy with their Kids (Part 1 / 2)

Developing a video game is hard work.  As anyone who’s actually done it will tell you, blood, sweat and tears are a big part of the process.  Even more challenging is creating a game that not only captures the imagination of “gamers”, but also engages people who don’t usually game.  With this in mind, I have compiled a Top 10 List of the games I like and are enjoyable for the whole family.  Even families that don’t game together.

For part 2: Click here

In putting together this list, I set the following rules:

  • Nothing rated higher than T (Teen) by the ESRB
  • Franchises treated as a single entity
  • Player population is a factor
  • Nostalgia is not a factor
  • Must be available for purchase (Today)
  • Try to show a variety of publishers, developers, and project sizes
  • I must have actually bought, played, and enjoyed these games
  • The list is presented in no particular order or rank

Costume Quest

Costume Quest is an easy to pick-up turn-based RPG.

It’s Halloween. Your sibling has been kidnapped by the evil Grubbins (don’t they just sound awful). You must recruit trick-or-treaters, find more powerful costumes, and collect candy to save both your sibling and Halloween!

Now, I’m absolutely biased; I’ve 100%ed both Costume Quests 1 and 2. These are really solid titles that are both appropriate for kids, while using some deep rhythm based mechanics. The same type of system used in the mobile Mario and Luigi series and the South Park Game.

It has the depth for any adult, but is wrapped in a package that is universally appealing and full of candy. Who doesn’t love candy?

 

Destiny

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If you’ve managed to avoid the seemingly endless commercials, Destiny is an MMO-FPS hybrid.

To translate the abbreviation, it’s a Massively Multiplayer Online -First Person Shooter. Simply put, you’re a super soldier in space fighting endless hordes of enemies. Easy to understand right?

What’s great is the integrated cooperative party system. It restricts communication to players in the party, so it’s an isolated online experience; that’s pretty rare.

There’s a ton of quests to work through, and for the most part it’s a pretty simple concept: shoot the bad guys. It’s also easy enough to do a few quests and log off after dinner. It’s also entertaining and exciting to watch, so you won’t feel guilty taking a back seat, or hogging the controller.

 

Lego

The Lego series combines simple 3d-brawler gameplay, drop-in/drop-out co-op system, and your favorite sci-fi/fantasy franchises. What’s not to like?

Lego’s simple controls and recognizable intellectual properties (rebuilt in Lego format) really just suck you right in. The games are plain fun and accessible. Grandma never played a game before? Lego is where she should start.

The other benefit is that Lego has had this formula established for over a decade. There is a large back catalog of affordable options on every console you can think of (even the mobile ones).

My personal favorite was Lego Marvel Superheroes, where you could hot-swap between web-slinging Spiderman, gliding Green Goblin, flying Thor, and of course everything-smashing Hulk.

 

Mario Kart

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Mario Kart doesn’t bury the lead: you have Mario; you have Carts (though admittedly the K seems more appropriate. See: Mortal Kombat)

Mario Kart is a racer that’s easy to understand and difficult to master. There’s just enough pick-ups, drifting mechanics, and alternate paths to please the hardcore gamers without alienating the beginners. With ample room for couch competitions, Mario Kart is a great pick. If you don’t have a Nintendo console or are a PC-only family, take a look at the strongly similar Sonic All Stars Racing series.

Mario Kart is a great pick for larger gatherings; it’s great for spectators and players.

 

Minecraft

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Minecraft is like Legos, except the blocks are cubes.

You are placed in a gigantic world made of cubes and you choose between creative and survival modes. Creative allows you complete freedom to craft, build, destroy, and explore this giant landscape of blocks. Survival is the same sandbox, but you must dig, craft, and earn every piece of equipment and block, while avoiding the dangerous enemies.

Again, this appeals to the play pretend and creative depths of our souls. The game is truly what you make of it. Do you want to replicate the ? The options are endless.

Though, if you have kids, you already know all about Minecraft. It’s sort of a big deal these days.

Next week, I’ll finish off the top-10 and give you a few more options to enjoy with the family.

Your Most Humble Community Servant,

Chris

 

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