5 Games for the Whole Family to Enjoy


Gaming's been a big part of my family life since I was very small. My parents and I played games together for years, and ever since we all got iPhones, we even play on the go while we're miles apart. (Thanks, Words with Friends!) That makes about 20 years of gaming, and when I have a family to call my very own (read: little ones), I hope to keep the family tradition going.

happy family Image Credit: left-hand

It's understandable if you want to play something with your whole family! Nothing brought me and my parents closer than those moments we shared. Not to mention that it's guaranteed fun these days. I almost wish I'd grown up now instead of the 90s, just because there's so many other things I could have enjoyed! For instance...

Retro games are just a button push away.

A lot of the exact games I played with my parents? Now just a quick download away. Classics like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (and its competitive splitscreen), Columns, Dr. Mario and more are all available in mere seconds with a few dollars and an Internet-connected console (mostly on the Wii's Virtual Console in the online shop and the PlayStation Store). Some of these classics have even been updated to take advantage of online features available in newer consoles — not that you'll need them when you're playing together, however.

Here's a taste of competitive multiplayer in Sonic the Hedgehog 2:

See also: If it's retro games you want, there are a few collections available. Try Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Portal 2 is awesome and it exercises your thinking muscle.

Valve's Portal 2 (ESRB: E-10+), is one of my favorite games this year. The series of physics-based puzzles will really make you think in single-player, but as far as families go, that's not where this game shines. Instead, the co-operative mode, where you play as two robots doing dirty deeds for evil artificial intelligence GLaDOS, is where this game really shines. You'll love working together with your family member to determine how to best navigate the treacherous waters placed in front of you. And if you fail, it's okay — you're just a robot! No deaths here to dissuade you, you're just reassembled. Ah, the perks of being made of metal.

Portal 2 also allows you to either play in splitscreen on PlayStation 3 or with other players on PC/Mac — and that does include one person on console with the other on computer, just in case you're not so great at sharing screens. And hey, new PS3 copies come with a copy of the PC/Mac game (which, with some finagling, you can use with a different Steam account). So it's like getting two copies of the game at once, just so you can play together.

See also: I'd provide examples of other games that encourage this kind of spatial thinking and also offer the opportunity for two people to play together, but there really aren't any.

NBA Jam is the perfect brand of silly and simple.

Sometimes, you just need to be a little bit silly. NBA Jam, one of my childhood favorites, is actually back and better than ever as of last holiday season. The two-on-two basketball title is a lot easier for people who are new to sports to understand, the games are short enough for a quick playthrough and the game's announcer is hilarious. Here, take a listen:

BOOM-shaka-laka! It never gets old.

See also: Any sports game — Madden, NCAA, NBA 2K12...every year, a new possibility in your favorite sport.


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