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Electronic Arts held their EA Play event as part of the E3 2017 festivities on June 10, 2017. They made a lot of great announcements over the course of the event. But, none of them got me as excited as the addition of a story mode to Madden 2018.

Last year, EA Sports added a single player Story mode to FIFA 2017 called The Journey where players took on the role of Alex Hunter as he progresses through his career. This was fascinating and I enjoyed it, but I don’t really have much of a connection with soccer.

Longshot appears to be the answer to my Madden prayers. That is the title of the single player story mode of Madden 2018. The details are slim (we only have a short trailer to go by), but it looks like players will take on the role of a Texas high school football player as he progresses through his career in college and into the NFL. This is a story that we have seen play out in its various parts in various movies and television shows in the last few decades, but it is rare to see a story take a player from their humble beginnings all the way to the pros.

Personally, this looks like a great opportunity to attract players to the Madden franchise. They already have a diehard crew that will buy the game every year no matter what. But, most of those players are dedicated to the multiplayer game. This, if it is built similarly to The Journey, will turn Madden into an RPG that will have installments every year! That’s my kind of party!

Madden 18 will release for on August 25th for PS4 and Xbox One.

What do you think? Are you and your family any more likely to play a Madden game this year because it has a single player story mode? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

This is only the beginning of a whole week of E3 2017 coverage. Make sure to keep your eye on Engaged Family Gaming all week for all of the family gaming news and our discoveries on the E3 show floor!

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The time has come to bid farewell to one heck of a bad year. 2016 wasn’t very good for much, but we did get some amazing video games. We had a lot of options for our game of the year, because we played a lot of very cool video games. But, at the end of it all there is only one game that stands out as “the best” and that is Overwatch.



Overwatch – PC, PS4, Xbox One

Overwatch is a brilliantly designed game that is possessed of a level of polish that is rarely seen in games today. Every minute detail in that glorious game is treated with care. You can feel the energy that went into development just like you can feel the excitement in a match rise naturally as it reaches its crescendo.

It isn’t just the details that make the difference though. Overwatch has managed to prove that an online multiplayer shooter with no single player campaign to speak of can be successful. And it achieved this goal by having an amazing set of characters that are well balanced against each other and all but forcing players to learn to play all of them in order to excel at the game. In most multiplayer games players are expected to select a “main.” This is the character you focus all of your effort into learning. With Overwatch the game forces you to learn all of them the same way you would learn the nuances of different weapons in other shooters. This would be bothersome if it weren’t for the fact that all of the characters in this game just so freaking COOL!

Speaking of characters – The world is a scary place and there are a lot of people who are more scared by people who are different from them. Overwatch doesn’t do that. It celebrates a cast of characters that celebrate diversity more than just about any game to have come before. If you have doubts, then look at the character select screen and take a look at all the different nationalities, body types, and genders represented. Its impressive, but what makes it better is that nothing feels forced. All of the characters are complete and well rounded. No one is the “token” anything. This is a great feeling when it feels like the celebration of diversity is being squelched elsewhere.

These are just a few of the reasons that Overwatch is a must play game. But, it wasn’t the only great game we played this year. Take a look below for out other favorites!

Pokemon Go – Mobile

Pokemon Go Logo

Pokemon Go doesn’t really have a lot of “game” built into it. You don’t really have a lot of meaningful decisions to make. It doesn’t look terribly good. But, none of that matters when you take into account the impact this game had on the world as a whole.

It felt like the entire world was on their feet and moving around more starting the day after Go’s release. There are videos from all over the world showing massive crowds of people playing together in spite of the fact that they were all playing on their phones.

I covered it in an EFG show awhile back, but at one point towards the end of last year Pokemon Go players has collectively walked the equivalent distance between Earth and Neptune!

There is no question that Pokemon Go has declined in popularity, but we couldn’t leave it off our games of the year list because of that. Its cultural impact was just too great.

NBA 2k17 – PC, PS4, Xbox One


NBA 2K17 is one of our games of the year because it is, quietly, three very good games in one package.

Players looking for a near perfect simulation of the sport of professional basketball certainly get their wish here. Gameplay is fluid and the developers spent a lot of time giving skilled players the ability to create magic moments on the court.

That isn’t all the game has up its sleeve though. NBA 2k17 is also an amazing management sim. Players can take on the role of GM for their favorite franchise or create an entire new one as they chase greatness. You get to make all sorts of interesting decisions in this mode. So many, in fact, that you might not even have time for the games themselves (But, don’t worry. You can play those too.)

NBA 2k17 is also one of the best role playing experiences around right now. The single player story mode is a straight-up rpg. Players take on the role of Prez, a young player entering his NBA career. You don’t just play his games though. You control his entire schedule. This includes when (and whether) he practices, who he hangs out with, and how he interacts with some of his teammates. It is an unprecedented level of control and it gives a very accurate representation of the NBA lifestyle.

I can’t recommend this game enough for people who are even tangentially interested in the NBA.

Final Fantasy XV – PS4, Xbox One

Final Fantasy XV

How do I even begin with this one? I have been waiting for this game almost as long as I have been a parent. While I have to admit that Final Fantasy XV didn’t exceed any of my expectations and completely blow my mind… it was still an awesome game.

For starters, the game is absolutely gorgeous. Every time I passed over the crest of a hill or rounded a corner I was greeting by some of the most gorgeous vistas I have ever seen. I was endlessly astonished.

It did not hurt that the action was always intense when I got to my destination. XV passed on the turn based combat that has been a franchise mainstay for three decades. Instead, this game features a combat system that is much more action focused. The best analogy I can come to  is that it will feel immediately familiar to anyone who has played a Kingdom Hearts game in the past.

This is a must play for even lapsed fans in the series, because Square has done everything they could to bring the series back from the brink and I think they succeeded.

Stardew Valley – PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch


Stardew Valley is one of the surprise indie hits of the year. It is an incredibly deep farming, dating, fishing, life simulator that is playing using graphics that look like they could have run on a Super Nintendo.

The simple graphics are just a smokescreen though. This game does everything and does it well. It also has a very slick gameplay loop that gives you just enough time during each game day to do about three quarters of the things you wanted to do. This might sound like a trap, but it just gives that much more motivation to make your next day that much more efficient.

This is a great game that is available on consoles, but it is really best on PC and will run on some of the most antiquated machines. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. You’ll like it.

Pokemon Sun/Moon – Nintendo 3DS

Pokemon sun and moon box art

Pokemon certainly had a big year in 2016. It celebrated its 20th anniversary as a franchise. They released the aforementioned Pokemon Go. They also capped the year off with the release of the 7th generation in the mainline Pokemon titles in Pokemon Sun and Moon.

These games did just about everything right. They provided the most accessible entree to the franchisee in years. They simplified (and reduced some of the grinding) involved in Pokemon breeding. And they rode the wave of success from Pokemon Go into being some of the fastest selling video games in Nintendo history.

If you are a Pokemon fan and don’t already own one (or both) of these games, then I would seriously consider it. These are excellent games that are worthy of your attention.

Super Mario Run – iOS (Android 2017)


This game only came out a few weeks ago, but it left a very strong impression on me. Super Mario Run is the first in an oncoming wave of mobile games being developed by Nintendo exclusively for mobile devices and it is a great start.

It plays very similarly to  standard Mario games at its core. But, there is one exception. Mario almost never stops running. The only level of control that players have is tapping on their screen to make Mario jump. This game is all about timing your jumps perfectly as you try to collect a set of five special coins.

I have enjoyed all of the time I sent with this one so far, and I think that it bodes well the the games that Nintendo will release in the future.

Street Fighter V – PS4

street fighter V

My love for the Street Fighter franchise is well documented. I’m terrible at it, but I love it. Street Fighter V is the newest entry in the franchise and it brings back all of the wild action that I have loved from the past and it looks very pretty doing it.

The game has not had the best start, but Capcom has continued to support the game with DLC characters, competitive fixes, and other updates. This is one game that will look very different over the next few years. I can’t wait to see it all.

Ratchet and Clank – PS4


One of the questionable trends over the last handful of years has been the tendency of companies to remaster their content and repackage it for sale to earn a quick buck. Ratchet and Clank looks like it might have been a part of that trend to the untrained eye, but it is anything but.

The key difference is that Ratchet and Clank is a frame for frame, point for point remake of the original game in the long standing franchise using a new engine, significantly improved graphics, and modern game design sensibilities. It also happens to be a TON of fun.

Do not sleep on this game folks. If you own a PS4, then this is a must own.

Skylanders Imaginators – PS4, Xbox One, Wii U


Sure. I get it. This is  a games of the year list on a family gaming site. Of course Im going to include the Skylanders game right? I’ll admit it. That was more than likely, but Imaginators is something special,

In my opinion Skylanders Imaginators is the best game in the Skylanders series so far, bar none. My reasoning here is simple. We’ve been used to getting a new batch of interesting Skylanders each year, but there was something special about being able to create and continuously improve my own character. This made me much more invested in everything that happened throughout the game.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360


I would have thought that LEGO Star Wars series was dead in the water after Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise and Electronic Arts signed a 10 year license to create Star Wars games. But, lo and behold, the franchise isn’t just alive. It is thriving.

This entry follows the plot of episode VII very closely and even includes some plot points that were hinted at in the movies but never explicitly discussed like C-3PO’s red arm. They even included *that* seen and managed to handle it tastefully while still holding true to their typical humor.

They also managed to, somehow, include several new gameplay modes including cover based shooting and aerial dogfighting. This works out great because the added level variety helped keep the game interesting.

Dragon Quest Builders – PS4, PSVita


When I first say this game I thought it would be a cheap Minecraft ripoff. I never expected it to be one of the biggest, and most pleasant, surprises of the year.

It is undeniable that Builders takes some of its design cues from Minecraft. Players travel around a map gathering materials by defeating enemies and breaking cubes. They then use those materials to build things.

The difference here is that unlike Minecraft, this isn’t a pure sandbox game. Players are placed in gameplay scenarios and tasked with building up and defending a settlement. This is a significant change, and one that really appeals to me because I enjoy the more focused gameplay experience.

It doesn’t hurt that the game also features the charming Dragon Quest art style.

I feel comfortable recommending this game to anyone who is looking for a change of pace from Minecraft.

Unravel – PC, Xbox One



Unravel was a captivating experience for our family when it came out earlier this year. It was one of the most gorgeous games we had ever seen to that point. The story it told resonated with us very strongly. And the puzzle platforming elements brought us all together as we worked together to solve them.

We loved the short time we spent with Unravel. This is a great game for your family if you are looking for a game to work through together.

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The Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is now over and it was a HUGE success. A lot of great games were shown and several companies made big announcements. We compiled a list of the 9 biggest family game stories of E3 2016. Take a look below!



This announcement may end up being the most impactful announcement of the whole show when we look back on E3 2016 in a few years. Sure. We saw Project Scorpio announced by Microsoft, but Minecraft has progressed into more than just a game. It is a cultural movement that has swept up huge swaths of our society. One of the few things preventing it from growing even farther is the fact that so many people are stuck in their own walled gardens.

The idea of kids being able to play together when one of them is on on their parent’s laptops while another kid is playing on a second hand iPad is AMAZING. This could make a game that already engages just about every school kid in America and help them engage with it on a different level: with their friends.



SPIDER-MAN!!!! I don’t really need to say much else here. Spider-Man is among the most well loved superheroes there is and it has been a crime to see him so underrepresented in GOOD video games over the years.

We don’t know much about the upcoming Spider-Man title from Insomniac Games, but they are experience game developers who have made some wonderful games in the past. Here’s hoping they can knock another one out of the park.

Spider-Man is Getting a New Video Game!


Ever Oasis is an adorable looking Action RPG being made by a JRPG legend. It is slated for a 2017 release and my boys and I are already hungry for it. This looks great!

Nintendo Surprises Everyone with New RPG Ever Oasis


Legend of Zelda is an iconic franchise. We saw this game announced at the Game Awards a few years ago and it immediately captivated the gaming world. There isn’t much more that I can say other than that I am super excited for it. We will talk a lot more about this game as it gets closer to its release next year.

Until then? Click the link on the article and take a look at the footage. Just let it soak in.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is Coming!


Horizon: Zero Dawn is one of my most anticipated games right now. It features a strong female protagonist and is easily one of them most gorgeous games I have ever laid eyes on. Check out the new gameplay video inside!

Horizon: Zero Dawn Has a New Gameplay Demo


Crash Bandicoot is a big part of gaming history and my family is very excited to see him come back.

Crash Bandicoot is Coming Back!


VR is coming and it is coming fast. The one thing that it is missing is a set of games that will draw people in. Part of me suspects that appealing to Trekkies is one heck of a way to get some people in to the VR market.

Ubisoft Blows Trekkies Minds With Star Trek: Bridge Crew


When Electronic Arts  signed their contract with Disney to have exclusive rights to produce Star Wars games for ten years they knew that a countdown timer had started. They only had a decade to squeeze ever dollar out of that deal.

We are just starting to see the results of that deal and it means that we will get a AAA Star Wars game every year for the foreseeable future.

Electronic Arts is Bringing Fans a LOT of Star Wars!


Electronic Arts is making FIFA into an RPG. How crazy is that?

FIFA is already one of the most popular game franchises in the world so it wouldn’t be terribly shocking if they didn’t bother to innovate, but this is a significant move for them.

It has me very excited to play a game about soccer, which is impressive.

Take the Journey in FIFA 2017!


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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Pixelkin.org as part of their E3 Coverage. They are another site that reviews games for families much like us. Check them out when you get a chance!

Electronic Arts held their E3 Play press event on June 12th, 2016. They brought a new trailer for Madden NFL 17 as well as information regarding significant updates to the game’s Franchise Mode.

The most significant update comes in the form of the “Play the Moments” feature. This works by giving players in Franchise mode the chance to take the helm at critical moments throughout the game, while simulating the rest. Focusing on critical red zone drives, key third down stops on defense, and late game scoring opportunities will keep the games moving and will let players complete a season over the course of a weekend.


The updates aren’t all on the field though. There are improvements between games as well. Players will be able to use Franchise gameplanning to help tailor their strategy to help take advantage of their teams’ strengths or their opponents’ weaknesses. This influences practices in between, and play selection during, each game.

The Big Decisions system also allows players to take on the role of a General Manager for their favorite team and decide when to bring players back from injury, signing free agents, and even negotiating contracts with players. This is an unprecedented level of control for players and, if implemented correctly, might even give some insight into the decisions some of our favorite teams have made over the years.

These sure are big updates, but don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at this video from Mike and Mike (of ESPN Radio fame) where they lay it all out on the table.

The bottom line? Madden NFL 17 looks stunning and includes some highly sought after feature updates. This is going to be a great year to be a Madden fan!

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Electronic Arts held their EA Play event today as part of the E3 2016 event in LA. They made a series of announcements regarding games like Titanfall 2,  Battlefield I, and Mass Effect. They also made an announcement regarding a significant addition to FIFA 2017.

FIFA is one of the most successful video games in the world; fueled by the massive popularity of football worldwide. The series began back in 1993 on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and has grown by orders of magnitude since then. The newest game looks better than ever, but includes new features that just might make it bigger than ever.

Some of the technical updates are as follows:

Set Piece Rewrite – “New penalties, free kicks, corners, and throw-ins bring creativity and variety in every dead ball situation.”

Physical Play Overhaul – “U.S. Patent-Pending Pushback Technology changes the way players physically interact in every situation and introduces a new shielding system that gives fans more control when in possession or battling to win the ball.”

Active Intelligence System – “A brand new intelligence system gives players the ability to better define and classify space to make smarter decisions off the ball. Players will utilize several New Run Types like fake, direct, and stunted runs to stay even more active off the ball.”

New Attacking Techniques – “New options in attack give fans more ways to create chances and finish in front of goal. Send teammates in with a Threaded Through Pass and put exciting goals away with a Driven Finish or Downward Header.”


Take the Journey with Alex Hunter – FIFA 2017

Those are excellent technical updates that fall well in line with previous iterative updates as the franchise has grown in the past. The most significant change, though, is the inclusion of “The Journey.” This is a game mode where players take on the role of Alex Hunter as he is drafted into the Premier league and begins his professional football career. Players will be in command as he plays games, makes plays, and deals with the trials and tribulations of his newfound success, wealth, and fame.

This appears to be a football themed take on the story of Frequency Vibrations in NBA 2016 and I am 100% ok with that. We will find out more details as the game gets closer to launch to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information about FIFA 2017 and the Journey.


battle on the bay 2015

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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is releasing on February 23rd and Electronic Arts held a public beta for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. They did this for two reasons. The first test was to   test their servers and ensure they can handle the surge of players once the game launches. The second was to give prospective customers a chance to get a look at the game and hopefully buy it.

We spent a lot of time playing during the beta and came away very happy with what we saw. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is, essentially, an iteration on the original game and that isn’t a bad thing; not even a little bit. We loved every minute that we played the first game and the sequel looks like it delivers everything we would hope for in a new game: new game modes, new characters to play, and new maps.

The biggest (and best) addition to the game was the new hub world map that each of the two factions has. Each side has a home base of sorts where they players can explore, play mini-games, and look at stats for the different characters. These hub worlds are great for younger or inexperienced players because they provide a chance to practice movement and targeting in low stress environments and without other players. My youngest son spent more time in this mode than he did fighting in the different multiplayer modes and enjoyed the simplicity of running around the maze-like streets.

The new characters are awesome, too. Each side of the this epic struggle has three all new characters and we were able to try them all out over the course of the beta.

The plants have Citron (a slow moving orange that comes equipped with shields and a laser cannon), Kernel Corn (A heavy weapons specialist), and Rose (a support character). The zombies, on the other hand, have the Imp Zombie (a mobile character that can summon a massive mech to fight in), Captain Deadbeard (a sniper), and Super Brainz (a melee focused character that can do some serious damage).

Kernel Corn
Imp Zombie (With Mech)
Captain Dreadbeard
Super Brainz

These six new characters added a huge amount of variety to the game by bringing the total number of characters to fourteen. The various combinations of characters made every fight drastically different and really kept everything interesting. Any concerns that I we had about the game drying out and getting boring were wiped away as the beta passed.

We are less than a month from release so we don’t have much longer to wait. Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more info as we get closer to release.

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Bodybuilding in Your 50s: sitrat The Diet Puzzle
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The Game Developers Choice awards will take place on March 16th as part of the game developers conference.

The Game Developers Choice Awards “are the premier accolades for peer recognition in the digital games industry. Each year, the Choice Awards recognize and celebrate the creativity, artistry and technical genius of the finest developers and games created in the last year.”

Below is a list of the nominees for the various awards as well as a list of honorable mentions for each category.

Game of the Year

– Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
– The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
– Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
– Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
– Rocket League (Psyonix)

Honorable Mentions: Her Story (Sam Barlow), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Undertale (Toby Fox), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)

Innovation Award

– Her Story (Sam Barlow)
– Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo)
– Undertale (Toby Fox)
– Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)
– The Beginner’s Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.)

Honorable Mentions: Rocket League (Psyonix), Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Steel Crate Games) Cibele (Star Maid Games), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix), Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)

Best Debut

– Studio Wildcard (ARK: Survival Evolved)
– Toby Fox (Undertale)
– Moon Studios (Ori and the Blind Forest)
– Moppin (Downwell)
– Steel Crate Games (Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes)

Honorable Mentions: Asteroid Base (Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime), Question (The Magic Circle), Thomas Happ (Axiom Verge), Dinosaur Polo Club (Mini Metro), MidBoss (Read Only Memories)

Best Design

– Rocket League (Psyonix)
– Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
– Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
– Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios/ Bethesda Softworks)
– Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)

Honorable Mentions: Her Story (Sam Barlow), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Undertale (Toby Fox), The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt), Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game

– Lara Croft GO (Square Enix Montréal / Square Enix)
– Fallout Shelter (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
– Downwell (Moppin / Devolver Digital)
– Her Story (Sam Barlow)
– AlphaBear (Spry Fox)

Honorable Mentions: Prune (Joel McDonald), The Room Three (Fireproof Games), Subterfuge (Ron Carmel and Noel Llopis), Pac-Man 256 (Hipster Whale and 3 Sprockets / BANDAI NAMCO), Sage Solitaire (Zach Gage), SteamWorld Heist (Image and Form), You Must Build a Boat (EightyEight Games)

Best Visual Art

– Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)
– The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
– Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
– Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
– Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)

Honorable Mentions: Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami), Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix), Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), The Order: 1886 (Ready at Dawn / Sony Computer Entertainment), Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment), Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)

Best Narrative

– Her Story (Sam Barlow)
– The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
– Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)
– Undertale (Toby Fox)
– The Beginner’s Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.)

Honorable Mentions: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment), Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks), Until Dawn (Supermassive Games / Sony Computer Entertainment), Cibele (Star Maid Games), SOMA (Frictional Games)

Best Audio

– Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
– Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)
– Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment)
– Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
– Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games)

Honorable Mentions: Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks),The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix), SOMA (Frictional Games), Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)

Best Technology

– Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
– The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
– Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
– Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
– Just Cause 3 (Avalanche Studios / Square Enix)

Honorable Mentions: Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix), Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Halo 5: Guardians (343 Industries / Microsoft Studios)

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Publisher: Electronic Arts

Release Date: September 22, 2015


Reviewed on Xbox One, also available on PS4

Overall Review

Madden, NHL, and the Show are sports titles that have no competition. They march on by themselves and it can be argued that they suffer for it. FIFA isn’t in that same situation because Konami publishes Pro Evolution Soccer every year. This means that we should be able to expect more from the FIFA franchise. Competition breed innovation and all that. Right?

Well… not necessarily.

FIFA 16 is an excellent game. Don’t get me wrong. It is visually stunning. Player animations are clean and natural. If you aren’t paying attention it would be hard to distinguish the game from an actual telecast if you weren’t paying attention. It also comes jam packed with different game modes like create a player and online play. This version even includes the Women’s World Cup teams (a first for the series) which might be enough for some families right from the get go.

Unfortunately, FIFA 16 does not include any single feature that makes it stand out from previous iterations or its competition. Instead The developers have doubled down on its core soccer elements and have produced a game that more accurately reflects the game’s finer strategic elements. Jostling for position on defense is a bit more difficult, the opposing teams will take VERY efficient angles on the net. All of this equates to a more challenging game, but one that is more satisfying to the true soccer fan.

Family Gaming Assessment

If you would feel comfortable letting your child watch a soccer game on television, then this game will be appropriate for them.

Online play carries the same caveat that I include with most games. You never know what your opponent will say so you should disable voice chat unless you want your child to hear some…. things.

Playability Review

Sports simulation games are, by default, hard to control. FIFA 16 avoids some of that, but still manages to use just about every button on the controller. The good news is that the game has an on field trainer (similar to the on ice trainer in NHL 16) that will help tell you what buttons to pretty and when to press them.


FIFA 16 is as strong an entry to the series as there has been recent years. If you are a soccer fan then this is a great purchase.

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Below is a list of the biggest family video game news stories of the past week!

Star Fox Zero Delayed

Miyamoto-san made the follow very candid post on Facebook last week to announce the delay of Star Fox Zero into the first quarter of 2016.

“I made a big decision last week.

We have been developing Star Fox Zero for Wii U with the aim of releasing it this year. Although we felt that the development had been progressing well, we now believe that we will need a little more time to work on areas such as the unprecedented discovery that we want players to experience in the game by using two screens, and further polishing the level designs and perfecting the tone of the cut scenes. While we have already reached the stage where it would be technically possible to release the title in time for the year-end holiday season, we want to polish the game a bit more so that players will be able to more smoothly grasp the new style of play that we are proposing.

To the people looking forward to the launch of the game this holiday season, I am very sorry.

Star Fox Zero is going to bring new game play and experiences that take it far beyond the framework established by Star Fox 64. All the members of the development team are doing our best so that the final product will not betray your expectations. And the game will not be delayed for a very long time – we’re aiming to launch the game in Q1 2016. Please stay tuned for further announcements.”


Star Wars Battlefront Beta Announced

Electronic Arts has announced that the beta for Star Wars Battlefront will take place from Oct 8th through the 12th.

The game is mostly done, but this will provide EA with useful data about their servers to help make the launch as smooth as possible. It will also have the advantage of serving as a demo for interested players to help them make up their mind.

The beta will not feature the entire game, of course, but fill include several of the more important game modes. The download will be around seven gigs so you will want to take that into account when making your plans to play the game.

We will be playing the beta so you can keep your eye here for more information and our impressions!


Minecraft confirmed for Oculus Rift

This year’s Oculus Connect conference for virtual reality developers started with a bang. Mojang confirmed via a brief video that the Windows 10 edition of Minecraft will launch on the Oculus Rift “next year.”


The Toys to Life Hat trick is Now Complete!

The toys to life category of toys has been huge in recent years. This year will be no exception as we will have three different games competing for our attention. Disney Infinity 3.0 launched on August 30th. Skylanders Superchargers launched last Sunday. And, LEGO Dimensions releases this Sunday.

We’ll be publishing a comparison article this week. So keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming!


Turner Networks Enter eSports Business

Turner Broadcasting System and WME/IMG are coming together to start a new eSports league. This on its own wouldn’t be that interesting except for the fact that they will be televising the tournaments on Turner networks.
The league will launch next year on TBS and each tournament will last 20 weeks. The first game they will be playing is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

This may not be a tournament for families considering the game is a squad based shooter, but the proliferation of eSports is certainly relevant.


Angry Birds The Movie Trailer Released

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Publisher: Electronic Arts

Release Date: September 15th, 2015

ESRB: E 10+

Reviewed on Xbox One, also available on PS4

Overall Review

The NHL series of video games published by Electronic Arts is quietly one of the best sports franchises in the business. It has, historically, been a very stable franchise that has avoided some of the dips and stumbles in quality that have plagued “other titles” (I’m talking about Madden for those keeping score at home). NHL 15 missed the net last year by stripping several of the popular game modes out of the game entirely and dumbing a lot of them down.

The good news for us all is that NHL 16 has fixed a LOT of that by bringing back a lot of those same modes and seemingly improving everything across the board.

The addition that will have the biggest impact for families is the On-Ice trainer. This amounts to an in game coach that will help teach players how to play NHL 16 AND the deeper strategies of the game of hockey as you progress. This is done through visual cues  and iconography that will help tell you what you should be doing and reward you when you do things correctly. This combined with the generally forgiving controls make NHL 16 one of the most accessible sports simulators I have ever played.

The “Be a Pro” mode are another highlight because they work as advertised. The Be a Pro mode lets you create yourself (male or female) and work your way from the Junior league all the way to being a successful NHL player. Your player grows from game to game based on the skills you use. This is also a great way for younger Hockey fans to learn the nuances of professional hockey.

Family Gaming Assessment

Sports simulator games like NHL 16 all follow the same rules regarding family appropriateness. The games are built to simulate the experience of watching the sport on television. If you would let your child watch a hockey game on tv, then this game should not be a problem.

NHL 16 is, however, an online game so the standard caveat applies. You will either need to disable voice chat or be prepared to discuss whatever horrific language your child’s opponent uses.   

Playability Review

I found NHL 16 to be much more forgiving from a controls perspective than the other sports simulator games. There are, obviously, deeper strategies involved, but the act of controlling your players does not require anywhere near the number of buttons that Madden does.


This is an amazing sports title and is, frankly, good enough to be a sound introduction to anyone who has even a passing interest in the NHL.

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