Buying Guide: 2012’s family-friendly games

By December 21, 2012Buying Guides

Sometimes young children are difficult to shop for because their tastes quickly change. Even parents can be flummoxed as to what presents they should buy. Video games are popular options because they can keep everyone entertained for hours.

Some titles aren’t geared toward children, however, so it’s important to pay attention to the ratings and intended audience for all of your gifts. If you’re looking to buy a child a video game this holiday season, here are some of 2012’s best family-friendly options.

For the Wii U owner
Wii Sports” was little more than a technical demonstration of the Wii’s motion controls, but the title quickly became the console’s breakout hit. “Nintendo Land” was developed in the same vein for the Wii U and has proven to be an immensely fun game to play by yourself or with a group of friends.

Unlike its Wii predecessor, “Nintendo Land” includes settings and features from popular games like “Super Mario Brothers” and “Metroid.” The mini-games encourage players to use the Wii U’s GamePad and multiple screens while playing.

For PS3 fans
An early knock against the PlayStation 3 was its lack of exclusive titles. That has changed in recent years as games like “Infamous” and “Uncharted” have been lauded as some of the best. “LittleBigPlanet” is a PS3-only franchise that has earned stellar reviews for its fun, family-friendly puzzles and quests.

The series expanded this year with “LittleBigPlanet Karting,” a racing game that bears some similarities to Nintendo’s “Mario Kart” line. Unlike comparable titles, the game features custom options that allow gamers to create their own racers and cars. Parents should note that there is online connectivity, so they should monitor their children when connecting with other players.

For Xbox 360 loyalists
LEGO has expanded its video game line and adapted popular franchises such as “Indiana Jones” and “Batman.” In 2012, the toy manufacturer took a trip to Middle Earth with “LEGO Lord of the Rings.” The title presents a simplified, kid-friendly version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s acclaimed novels with inspiration from the fan-favorite movies.

Unlike some video games, the installments in LEGO’s series focus more on puzzles than battles. A lot of the violence in “Lord of the Rings” is replaced with light humor, so parents don’t have to worry about their kids playing something unpleasant.

While these are three of 2012’s most popular family-friendly games, they only represent a small portion of this year’s releases. What titles are you planning on buying for your kids this holiday season?

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