Forget the hysterical posturing of the mainstream press. These days, videogames bring families together in ways I wish had been around when I was a lad, providing unique opportunities for cooperation, friendly competition and living room hilarity regardless of age or ability. With Christmas fast approaching, we've decided to round up five of the hottest family friendly games with links to our price comparison engine and dynamically-updating price tracker widgets. The holidays don't have to be expensive.
Note that a couple of these titles require you to own a motion control peripheral. If you're still on the fence, why not check out our Kinect and PlayStation Move reviews?
Just Dance 3 [Multiplatform]
Ubisoft's latest dance sensation is tearing up the charts, and with good reason. It's an accessible, raucous and unrelentingly fun experience that's packed with great songs, physical routines and opportunities to thoroughly disgrace yourself in front of your brood. The Wii and PlayStation Move versions are both extremely competent and great value for money, but if you've got a Kinect sensor, the dancing experience takes on an entirely new dimension. Make sure that you've got plenty of floor space, though!
Kinect Sports: Season 2 [Xbox 360]
Kinect Sports 2 is a great minigame collection that perfectly uses the Kinect sensor's capabilities to put you into the game. The selection of sports are fun and intuitive, and it will keep you going well past boxing day. There's a case to be made that the platform definitely needs more games like this... or at least developers who are willing to let the peripheral fulfil its potential.
Carnival Island [PS3]
Carnival Island is family entertainment at its finest... at a seriously good price. Brendan reckons that it's got your Christmas party season sorted, thanks to 35 "fiendishly moreish" minigames and slick PlayStation Move controls. Party Play options allow a group of friends or your entire family to get involved, and many of the games can be enjoyed by two simultaneous players. For £15, it's also a bit of a bargain.
Rock Band 3 [Multiplatform]
With Harmonix releasing new tracks every week for the comprehensive package that is Rock Band 3, it's still one of the finest party and family games to own. It's been out for a while so the instruments will be relatively cheap to pick up now. There's something here for everyone, a HUGE catalogue of tracks to choose from and a deep career mode that once again sees you touring the globe and earning yourself plaudits and fans. But the most fun is to be had from gtting your whole family together and utterly rocking Christmas.
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Review
- LEGO Pirates Of The Caribbean Review
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2 Review
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 Price Comparison
The LEGO series is, without a doubt, the best family games franchise in the history of gaming. Ever. See, Traveller's Tales have made sure that they're just brillant games... regardless of who plays them. From the smallest child to the most grizzled and cynical veteran, it's impossible to not enjoy their accessible and addictive gameplay, gentle anarchic humour and exceptional cooperative modes. Since there are so many to choose from, and they're on every platform imaginable, we're going to focus on the most recent offering: LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7. If you're a fan of J.K. Rowling's epic saga (and if not, why not), this latest game will suit you down to the ground.