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The Online Mom’s Top 10 Family Video Games

As we fast approach the holiday season, it’s time to eject Call of Duty from the video game console and replace it with some family-style entertainment. And these days, there is plenty to choose from. Kinect for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation Move system have revolutionized how video games are played. And don’t forget the venerable Wii, which literally opened up video gaming to generations of new players.

If you are looking for some ideas on which games to play, we’ve put together 10 of the best family video games ever made. From 5-year-old classics like Wii Sports to just-released blockbusters like Dance Central 2, we have something for everyone. So find grandma, head for the family room, and start the party!

1. Wii Party (2010)

Perhaps the ultimate party game on the ultimate party console. Released in time for the holiday season last year, Wii Party features 13 different party game modes divided into three categories: Party Games, House Games and Pair Games. There are over 80 mini-games in total, all of which can be played in an endless variety of multi-player formats. There are memory games, quizzes, board games, and even a game to see if you and your partner have the right chemistry!

Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Wii
ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone

2. Rock Band 3 (2010)

Although the various versions of Guitar Hero are all great fun, Rock Band 3 is unquestionably the most complete musical experience you can have without actually joining a band! If you have all the available controllers, up to 7 different people can play at one time, creating a chaotic but hugely enjoyable jam session. There are over 80 songs to choose from, including classics like Free Bird, Good Vibrations and I Can See for Miles. If there are a few old – and not so old – rockers in the house, then this game is a must!

Publisher: Harmonix
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii
ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen

3. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009)

OK – this is not strictly a party game, but after Nintendo added various multi-player formats to its beloved Mario platformer game, how could we leave it out! In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, players can choose to be Mario, Luigi, or one of the two toads as they try to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. Although there is plenty here to test veteran players, there is also a “Super Guide” to help novices become familiar with one of the truly great video game franchises.

Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Wii
ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone

4. Dance Central 2 (2011)

No game better illustrates the amazing potential of Kinect for Xbox 360 than Dance Central 2. If you love to get up and dance, then this is the perfect party game for you. And even if you have two left feet, the friendly range of difficulty levels and the catalog of great dance hits will make it impossible for you not to join in. On-screen instructors take you through the various moves and offer encouragement along the way.

Publisher: Harmonix/Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: Kinect for Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen

5. Wii Sports (2006)

Released five years ago, Wii Sports was the original showcase game for the Wii console, perfectly demonstrating the motion sensor capabilities of the Wii Remote. Wii Sports consists of 5 separate games: tennis, baseball, bowling, golf and boxing. As well as being perfectly suited for family-style entertainment, Wii Sports also introduced the possibility of using video games for training and fitness. Wii Sports has been enjoyed by seniors all over the world, making Wii tennis and Wii bowling the ideal games when grandpa and grandma come to stay!

Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Wii
ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone

6. Hasbro Family Game Night (2008)

Mr. Potato Head is your host, as he introduces classic games such as Battleship, Yahtzee, Boggle, Sorry! and Scrabble. There is a heavy emphasis on multi-player gaming, including a party mode, which allows you to choose exactly how long you want to play for. Hasbro Family Game Night was originally released for PlayStation 2 and the Wii but was made available for download for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2009.

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii
ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone

7. Kinect Sports (2010)

Released last fall to coincide with the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360, Kinect Sports remains one of the best and most enjoyable sports video games. Taking full advantage of the body motion sensor, Kinect Sports includes bowling, boxing, track and field, beach volleyball, and soccer. Track and field consists of sprint, javelin, long jump, discus and hurdles, which can be played individually or as a pentathlon. Each game is ideally suited to multi-player action, and there is even a Party Play mode to accommodate a larger number of players divided into teams. 

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: Kinect for Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone

8. You Don’t Know Jack (2011)

Although you might want to wait until the younger family members are in bed, You Don’t Know Jack is a hilariously irreverent trivia game that will delight anyone with even a passing knowledge of present day pop culture. The game is divided into 73 episodes, with each episode having a different theme and consisting of 10 different questions. Up to four contestants can play at any given time and the faster you answer a question, the more money you stand to win or lose. You may have to put up with a little toilet humor and a few sexual references, but You Don’t Know Jack also comes with truck load of belly laughs!

Publisher: THQ
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii
ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen

9. Forza Motorsport 4 (2011)

No video game party list is complete without a good racing game and Forza Motorsport 4 is the best racing game there is. The Forza car list includes everything from classic racers to million dollar dream cars to family-sized SUVs, and you get to race them on some of the most famous circuits in the world. It doesn’t matter how good – or how inexperienced – you are at racing games, Forza Motorsport 4 will have a difficulty level that’s just right for you. And the multi-player options make Forza the perfect game for a family challenge.

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone

10. Rayman Raving Rabbids (2007)

What party game list could be complete without Rayman and those crazy bunnies? Ubisoft took their iconic platforming hero and plunged him into a seemingly never-ending series of chaotic mini-games. While most of the games can be played solo, there are both sequenced and simultaneous multi-player options. Although each game seems to flow into the next and the action is rarely anything but hectic, the wild rabbids are hilarious and will appeal to granddad just as much as they continue to enthrall younger members of the family.

Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii
ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone

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