Fun New Video Games for Families

Nicer weather is on the way, but what to do while you are still trapped indoors? Check out these new video games and devices you can play with the kids.

 

Skylanders Imaginators is the newest in the proud Skylanders line of games.  Each game further expands on the previous, and lets real life toy-like figures meet and battle on the portal (game) and inside the game itself. Each character is unique and can be brought into the game with the included portal by simply placing the toy on the portal.  This newest iteration brings in a character creation element which makes for great fun and increased interactivity in a unique way.  The story follows the Skylanders as they try to defeat Kaos in his newest plan to destroy Skyland.  Kaos has found a new power called the Mind Magic and is creating an army of Doomlanders.  The leader of the good guys is Eon, and he calls upon Portal Masters to battle Kaos and his army.  But this time there are Sensei’s as well.  These sensei’s give you new powers for your Imaginators to use and be built with.  The new Nintendo system Switch has received its own version of this fun game, and now includes further mobility. You can also save your Skylanders’ figure stats and abilities to the system so you can play Skylanders on the go with your characters but without a portal or figures in tow.  This is a great new addition (and kind of a big deal)  and makes Skylanders able to be an “on the go” game as well.

Skylanders Imaginators

If you haven’t yet, you can also create your own Skylander that will be mailed to you in real life. My son flipped his lid over this, and your Skylanders fan will as well. It’s easy to do, just download the Skylanders Creator app from the iOS or Android store, and using the app, create an Imaginator character or transfer one from the Skylanders Imaginators console game to the app. Follow the directions, it takes just a few minutes once downloaded from start to finish. Any Skylander you created can be yours in real life- one of the cooler things we’ve seen in a while.  Highly recommend.

Nintendo Switch

Speaking of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo has finally given us what we have been frothing at the mouth for, a new system!  Their newest console is the Switch.  It is both a portable as well as a use at home console, which I think is very neat.  It is easy to switch between the two, even in the middle of your current game.  The first thing you will notice upon opening up the Switch is there is not much in the box, a tablet and a stand, controllers, a few various controller accessories and cables.  This is exactly the point of the system- portability.  The tablet portion of the Switch is quite a powerhouse, with a crisp, gorgeous display.  The controllers are very responsive and are solidly built as well.  They do feel a bit small in Dad’s monster size hands, but are definitely still playable for long periods of time (especially when used in conjunction with the joy con grip, which turns the two small controllers into one bigger one for a more classic gaming feel).  It’s actually kind of telling of current gaming, all the different ways the Switch is played in our house.  My son loves playing portable, anywhere, from the kitchen to the bedroom, while dad loves the classic gaming feel with controller in hand on the TV.  The Switch’ s joy con controller can also act as two separate controllers for two players, which make for fun for all with the accessibility of a small controller with fewer buttons.  Non gamers will be easily  drawn into multiplayer games with the small controller making for a more fun multi-player experience.  The Switch is available now in stores and online retailing for $299.99.
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How to Choose the Best Computer to Play Minecraft

Technically, you can play Minecraft on any computer. However, this game is based on the programming language Java. So you will need a computer capable of running Java programs. All new computers can do this. However, Java takes up significant processing power to function properly. So, even if a computer can run Minecraft, it may not do it well. If the computer you are using lacks enough processing power, Minecraft will lag and run on a low-frame rate.

If you are looking for the ideal computer to play Minecraft, here are some tips:

PCs are the Best

Minecraft can run on PC, Linux, Macs, Xbox, Playstation and even on computers powered by Raspberry Pi. However, PC is the best type of computer play the game on. If you have a good desktop or laptop PC with a powerful graphics card, that’s all you need to play the game. You do not technically need a gaming computer for Minecraft. However, if you also want to play other games, it won’t hurt to buy a low-budget gaming laptop or a desktop.

Framerate Matters

Framerate, or fps (frames per second), is how fast individual images can be displayed on a screen so it looks like the images are moving. You may know this as moving picture, or movie, technology (very fancy). Video games display images similarly to movies. The graphics you want to see on the game will be affected by your computer’s fps. The higher the fps, the better. You can change this setting in-game, but there’s no point in tuning up in-game fps very high if the computer you are using cannot render the fps that fast. The basic frame rate for Minecraft is around 50 fps. Standard computers can manage around 60 fps. Gaming computers usually have double that rate, which will be more than enough to play Minecraft smoothly with great blocky graphics.
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LEGO Dimensions Packs – Dr. Who, Simpsons, and Adventure Time

dr who lego

In what other game can you have Homer driving down the yellow brick road in the bat-mobile?

The answer is LEGO Dimensions.  The Lego brick themed multiverse spanning game is constantly expanding and with the most recent additions you can now explore the worlds of the children’s favorite Adventure Time, the generational favorite Dr Who,and the TV classic The Simpsons Springfield to name a few.

Sets are broken down into a few different categories, the predominant one being levels. With the download of an update to your game and the usage of figures from that particular universe, the level is unlocked.  Simpsons brings your characters into Springfield to solve various quests and requests by locals as well as the collection of various items to complete the level to 100%.  There are playable levels as well as free play modes where you can just go exploring to find all the nooks and crannies put in the game.  I guarantee as a fan you will find something that will put a huge smile on your face no matter which level pack you play.
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Mincraft at Best Buy @BestBuy @Minecraft #ad

Minecraft is one of the my son’s favorite games.  My husband, not as much, but he is learning (and also learning how much of an old man he is sometimes).  You can build and explore exciting new worlds with Best Buy’s assortment of Minecraft games and collectibles.

Minecraft is a game about placing blocks and going on adventures.  Where players can use their imagination, they can bring anything their digital heart desires to life. This translates into a robust level of online shared works to explore.  Visit randomly generated worlds as well as build amazing things from the simplest of homes to the grandest of castles.  Minecraft is less of a game and more of a digital revolution.  Play in Creative Mode with unlimited resources, or mine deep in Survival Mode, crafting weapons and armor to fend off dangerous mobs. Do all this alone, or with friends.  Co-Op mode is a blast with a family member or a friend.  My husband honestly didn’t see the point in Minecraft until he sat down and played Co-Op with the kiddo. The games are very family-friendly, and great for kids and adults of any age.  The toys and collectibles make great gifts for anyone already into the game or just getting their feet wet.
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Moana: The Movie, the Games

moana app

Moana, the newest animated film from Walt Disney Pictures, is still filling theaters around the world. It’s one of the top-ranked movies of the year, beloved by critics and audience members of all ages. If you haven’t already taken your children to see it, I confidently recommend doing so. Older children, teens, and thrill-seeking adults can enjoy Moana in 3D, which offers an entirely next-level type of entertainment. However, the story and 2D visuals are captivating enough that the non-3D movie is very much worth seeing.

After watching Moana at the theater, a great way to stay connected is through video games. These days, sites like Poki offer countless web games for free. On Poki, each game is sorted into categories, which makes it easy to find exactly what you want. Today, I’d like to share what my child has been playing lately: Moana games from Poki!

The Moana games on Poki are a subsection of the movie games category, which includes hundreds of titles. Some of the most popular movie games are based on Frozen, Cars, or Spider-Man. But the hit film of today is Moana, and there are many exciting adventures to discuss.

Moana Waialiki is a Pacific Island princess. To be more specific, Moana is Polynesian, and she is beautiful. When the movie was first announced, there was much discussion surrounding this new type of Disney royalty. Feminists and open-minded citizens everywhere praised the choice to showcase diversity on the silver screen. As a result, we have a movie and now many games that center around the proud Motunui native. The Moana dress-up games on Poki highlight her unique culture and clothing. The fabrics, dress styles, and jewelry are all based on authentic island fashion. Players will learn about Oceania while playing, as these games take place 2000 years in the past, just like the movie.
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Jotun Valhalla Edition and Axiom Verge for Nintendo Wii U

Today we are going to look at two of the plethora of cool Indie titles for the Wii U, Jotun Valhalla Edition and Axiom Verge.  An epic Norse adventure game and a mind bending side scroller which questions your trust in the programmers of the game.

nintendo games

First up is Jotun, Jotun Valhalla Edition follows the story of Thora, a Viking warrior who has suffered an inglorious death.  This means she can not enter Valhalla. As such, Odin offers her another chance to prove herself worthy of Valhalla by battling various gods and defeating them.  You begin the game in Ginnungagap, a Norse limbo which acts as your central point between various levels.  Each has lush hand drawn designs and characters.  Every level acts as a puzzle in itself, as well as an exploration chance to find a God’s weapon.  These weapons then make each boss battle easier to get through, some times, later in the game these are even necessary to defeat some tough baddies.  This game has a “new school”, artistic vibe and an old school, boss rush game play. It is perfect for new gamers as well as older ones.  What I really like about this game is its lush settings, designs, and the Norse driven story which is a relatively fresh area in gaming.
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Nintendo Select

Nintendo has made some incredible games for the Wii U, but which ones are best? Since they aren’t cheap, you might wonder how you can get more then one game for the $60 price tag.  Nintendo helps people figure that out with the Nintendo Select line of games, which are specially packaged and branded as the best of the best in Nintendo titles. With titles like Super Mario 3D World, you can tell you aren’t getting the just the least popular games.  Also, there is the benefit of the lower price tag- the ability to get at least 2 games for $60.

We are going to take a look at the newest releases in the line which includes Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, and Pikmin 3- all for the Wii U.  There are also titles for the award winning hand held the Nintendo 3DS, including Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D, Donkey Kong Country 3D Returns, and Mario Party Island Tour.

First up is Super Mario 3D World, with the familiar plumber powering up and saving the world one flying turtle as a time.  This time with glorious 3D environments and  varied levels, they are easy to play but difficult to master.  Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze follows the familiar primate in a not so familiar environment of a frozen tropical paradise.  Pikmin 3 is a 3d puzzle/ RPG game where players toss about little plant/animal creatures called Pikmin, who do your bidding in a dangerous world full of harmful critters and obstacles all while trying to fix your space ship and find your friends.  (My son loves this game beyond reason, LOL.)
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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on the Wii U

zelda game

Every so often a gem of a game comes along for a console.  The biggest problem is, that console will eventually be replaced by a newer better one, so how does one share a great game with a younger generation?  With a remake, of course.  Shinier graphics, updated character designs, improved game play, throw in a few extras and you have yourself a fun new-ish game to share with everyone.  This is exactly what The Twilight Princess is.  A great game from the beginning of the Wii now remastered for the Wii U.

Twilight Princess has the familiar Link hero character in an action adventure game where he must fight, solve puzzles, and explore his way through his adventure.  This time, the story line and art is a bit darker, but this doesn’t distract from the same Legend of Zelda formula we all know and love.  Link must find a way to save his world from the Twilight dimension and its evil king, Zant.  In order to do this, we meed some new characters like Midna, who teaches Link to change into his Twilight Wolf form as well as familiar ones like Zelda and Ganondorf.
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