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We’re sharing tips for saving money as a gaming family in our newest guide! We will help you choose a gaming console, where and how to buy games, and we’ll even talk about accessories.

First, we talked about games and how to save money buying them. Then, in part two, we talked about consoles. 

This time we talk about some of the specific hardware options you have.


Table space is an issue when setting up multiple systems at home. Fortunately modern consoles and computers will work with any display with an HDMI port. In space constrained situations a monitor is a great alternative to a television. A small projector and blank wall also works for dark rooms.


Listening to someone playing games can be distracting. With several people in the same space noise quickly becomes an issue. During gaming sessions this means speakers get turned up and people talk louder. Fortunately, using headphones means speakers are unnecessary.

Windows PCs have separate headphone and microphone physical inputs. Some games have voice chat built-in or Steam has voice chat capabilities. Typically PC games default to “push to talk” mode, where a keyboard key must be held while talking.

Microsoft and PlayStation consoles both use headsets plugged into the controller. When connected the headphones can play game sounds and voice chat. A mix between game and voice is available in the console menus. With everyone wired for sound you are ready for “party chat”. Both the PlayStation and Xbox consoles offer group voice chat which works across games.

The Switch has a headphone jack on the console. Any headphones will work – no microphone required. Nintendo does not offer a system-wide voice chat service on the Switch. A smartphone app is required instead. You may want headphones with a mic however, as individual game developers can add voice chat to their games. Fortnite is one example of this.

Adding an inexpensive gaming headset to any device will cut down on noise. Even if the family isn’t playing the same game everyone can join party chat. It is rewarding to share in the moments of triumph or defeat as a group! And mobile phone headsets work with consoles if you aren’t ready for a dedicated gaming headset.

Bonus Xbox engaged family tip: With the free Xbox smartphone app you can join parties from your phone. No console required! A great way to keep an ear on your kids’ social gaming.

Controllers and Power

PC games will often support Xbox 360, Xbox One, and/or PlayStation 4 controllers. Games even show correct button prompts in game. Steam sells their own controller, which supports advanced customization. This makes it difficult to use for most people though..

PlayStation 4 controllers integrate a rechargeable battery. Controllers use a micro USB cable. The micro USB end can break off if handled roughly. Controllers also include a charging port on the bottom. Look for controller charging stands which use this bottom port.

Xbox One controllers use AA batteries or custom rechargeable battery packs. Using a micro USB cable the controller can charge some battery packs. These cables can break off if not handled with care. Externally charged AA batteries or battery packs are also available.

Switch Joy-Con controllers charge while attached to the Switch itself. Other charging stands are also available. The Switch itself and Switch Pro controller have integrated batteries. They both use the newer USB C standard to charge. Third party chargers have damaged Switch consoles and Nintendo does not cover this under warranty.


Best Console for the Family to Share

If you only buy one video game console for your family consider the Switch. The ability to play multiplayer games with the Joy-Con controllers saves money on accessories. There are many games available for Switch and the library is growing quickly. There are many titles with couch co-op support and innovative experiences such as the cardboard building Labo. Nintendo is also produces excellent family-friendly games exclusive to the Switch. Being able to take the system on the go means family trips can be a little easier too.

Example couch multiplayer family games exclusive to Switch consoles:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe


Best Console for Multiple Gamer Families

The Xbox One is the best console for most families. Xbox Game Pass provides a decent library of titles both new and old. Backward Compatibility plays inexpensive original Xbox and Xbox 360 game discs. The Xbox Store gifting feature makes it easy to manage multiple accounts. Xbox One supports multiple external hard drives. Players can play on any console without worrying about saved game management. Some games even work on both Xbox and Windows 10. The downside of Xbox is the smaller pool of multiplayer opponents. For most families this is unlikely to be an issue.

Example multiplayer family games exclusive to Xbox One consoles:

Sea of Thieves


Forza Horizons 3: Hot Wheels Expansion

Best Console for Multiplayer Outside the Family

PlayStation 4 is the best choice for a console for those who want to play primarily multiplayer games with people outside the family. The larger player base of PlayStation means more people to play with. And PlayStation Now is moving to compete with Xbox  Game Pass. You must do more work to manage game purchases across multiple accounts however. Commit to each member of the family using a specific console however. Switching between consoles is a frustrating experience.

Example multiplayer family games exclusive to PlayStation 4 consoles:

LittleBigPlanet 3

100ft Robot Golf

MLB The Show 18

Wrap Up

Thanks for reading! Please share this article with anyone who needs help saving money on video games. We’re always happy to hear your feedback..

The video game marketplace is constantly changing. Check back for future updates to this guide.

Stay engaged and happy family gaming!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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We’re sharing tips for saving money as a gaming family in our newest guide! We will help you choose a gaming console, where and how to buy games, and we’ll even talk about accessories. Last time we talked about where to buy your games and how to save money buying them. 

This time it’s all about the hardware!

Windows PC

Maintaining multiple gaming PCs can be time consuming and expensive. This may work for families with a Windows computer technician in house. When planning your gaming budget keep in mind the cost of hardware upgrades.

There are solutions to play your office computer in the family room. The Steam Link and Nvidia Shield both support this feature. There are limitations and network requirements however so investigate further if this sounds useful.


Both Steam and GOG support Mac computers. Maintaining multiple Mac computers is easier than Windows PCs for most people. Many games are not available on Mac though. Available games often run slower or with fewer graphical features.

Nintendo Switch

The Switch costs US$300 and has a strong selection of games. Many games on the Switch allow you to share its standard “Joy-Con” controllers for couch co-op multiplayer sessions. This can be awkward for large hands because the Joy-Con is physically small. The Switch Joy-Con controllers are the most expensive at US$80 MSRP. Nintendo also offers a “Pro” controller similar in design to the Xbox and PlayStation controllers. The Pro controller retails for US$70.

The Switch uses microSD cards for data storage. Smaller size microSD cards are inexpensive at 64GB for less than US$20. Prices rise significantly for the cards with the most storage. Switch physical cartridges also require microSD storage for patches. Families planning large Switch game libraries should consider the cost of digital game storage versus the convenience.

PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 costs US$300 and has the biggest installed base of modern consoles. It is often the best choice for multiplayer gaming outside the family. There is a limited selection of couch multiplayer games and each player must have their own US$60 MSRP controller. PlayStation 4 owners cannot play online games with players on Xbox One or Switch.

The PlayStation allows you to use a single external USB 3 hard drive to expand the internal storage. This drive can be up to 8TB in size. You cannot use a USB hub to connect the external drive. Once formatted it is only readable by the PlayStation. Moving the drive requires ejecting it from the PlayStation settings menu first. PlayStation supports copying games between the internal console and external hard drive storage.

PlayStation uploads saved games only from the primary console. This is a problem for families using multiple consoles! Accessing saved games requires multiple steps on both consoles. PlayStation limits online storage to 10GB of saved data per user.

The PlayStation 4 supports “remote play” – where a PC, Mac, Vita, or PlayStation TV can access the PlayStation in the same house or over the Internet. The feature requires a PlayStation 4 controller and free software download for PC and Mac. Local and remote players can only play the same game together. Remote Play prevents the PlayStation from playing another game.

Microsoft Xbox

Xbox One S consoles are US$300. There are limited couch multiplayer games on Xbox – similar in quantity to the PlayStation 4. The Xbox One is less popular than the PlayStation 4. This can be a problem when trying to play older multiplayer games online since there are fewer potential players. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gamers cannot play online games together. Some specific titles do support playing with Switch, Windows PC, and mobile.

Controllers are US$60 MSRP. Microsoft offers a custom controller design option as well for US$70 where you can choose various color options to create a unique controller. This can make a fantastic gift!

Xbox also supports two unique controller options. Copilot allows two controllers to both fully control a single game. This is a great option for a younger player who needs a little help. It is also popular with gamers with disabilities. Even more exciting is the Xbox Adaptive Controller. This uses industry standard assistive devices to connect to a controller base, enabling a range of new options for gamers with disabilities.

Xbox supports attaching two external USB 3 hard drives. Each drive can be up to 8TB in size. Attaching two smaller drives is a cost effective choice as well since they are often inexpensive. Once formatted a drive is only readable by Xboxes. You can move the drive between Xboxes by unplugging the drive.

The Xbox supports moving games between drives on the same system and between Xboxes on the same network. This can save money on metered Internet connections. One Xbox can copy games to other consoles.

The Xbox synchronizes saved games to the cloud so switching between Xbox consoles is painless. Launching a game first time on a new console and it downloads the saved game. Updating saved games occurs in the background while playing. Storage for this saved game syncing is unlimited.

A free Windows 10 Xbox app allows remote play with an Xbox console at home. The Xbox can only play one game at a time however.

Mixed Platforms and Cross Play

Playing together using multiple video game platforms has limitations. Most games rely on the video game console or Steam multiplayer services. Only games with “cross play” features can play together across different systems. A “party” – a group of people like a family – playing together is often a separate consideration; not all cross play games support cross parties.

Fortnite, Rocket League, and Minecraft are the most popular games with crossplay. Rocket League plans to add cross-party play in late 2018. These games support Xbox, Switch, PC, and – excepting Rocket League – even mobile devices. Absent from any cross play is PlayStation. Sony has so far not made cross play possible according to developers.

A more limited version of cross play is Microsoft’s “Xbox Play Anywhere” and “cross platform” programs. Xbox Play Anywhere provides a license for both the Xbox and Windows 10 version of the game with a digital purchase. A single account shares the game with all users on the computer. With an Xbox and Windows 10 PC this can save money! However, the small game selection limits the usefulness of Xbox Play Anywhere.

Not all Xbox Play Anywhere titles support cross platform multiplayer. Look for these features on the game’s store page. Some examples of games with Xbox Play Anywhere and cross-play are: Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizons 3, and Ark: Survival Evolved.

That was a whole lot of info right? And we aren’t even close to done! Come check back for part three soon!!

About the Author

Adrian Luff is a lifelong video gamer with three video game obsessed boys and a very understanding wife. He is fortunate enough to have worked in the video game industry for over 20 years building online services for multiplayer gaming. He worked on servers for Battle.net used by the Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft games. He also designed the launch infrastructure for World of Warcraft. Adrian leads a team of engineers building robust systems, infrastructure, and developer tools for Twitch.tv (a division of Amazon).

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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We’re sharing tips for saving money as a gaming family in our newest guide! We will help you choose a gaming console, where and how to buy games, and we’ll even talk about accessories. 

We’ll be paying special attention to saving money when playing on multiple systems in the same house.

That’s because finding enjoyable couch co-op games is challenging. Finding couch co-op games suitable for the entire family is an epic quest! Many games now support multiplayer exclusively online with only one player per system. Families are increasingly purchasing one console per family member. It isn’t uncommon to have a house with several Xboxes anymore.

Video game system prices have dropped in recent years but multiple gaming consoles is still an expensive proposition! Picking the right gaming platform can save thousands over the lifetime of that system.

The Game Stores

The first, and probably most important decision, is where you will by your games. There are several online platforms or “digital stores” selling games online. The games they sell don’t have discs or cartridges. They exist only as files on your computer or console. The online stores use Digital Rights Management (DRM) to control how you can use their downloaded games.

These are small details that might not seem important, but you need to know and understand them in order to stretch your budget.

Windows – Steam

Steam is an online store that sells digital games for PC, Mac, and Linux. Steam provides a guide to enable Family Sharing. This feature enables sharing your game library with up to five family members. Only one person at a time can use the library however.

Logging in to Steam kicks other users out after a few minutes. Multiplayer requires purchasing a copy of each game for each player.

Steam games are often on sale. Many games are 20% off at launch, which is appealing on its own.. There are also several Steam sales throughout the year (a Summer sale in May and a Winter Sale in January for example).

You can also buy digital games for use on the Steam platform on other sites. Websites like Humble Store and GreenManGaming sell “game keys” composed of strings of number and letters. You can use these keys to add the game to your Steam library.

The competitive marketplace keeps prices low, but purchasing 4 copies, even at 20% off, is not the most cost effective option.

Windows – GOG

An alternative to Steam is GOG. This is a service that offers DRM-free PC games. GOG games are downloaded as ZIP files or using an optional client named GOG Galaxy. The client downloads, installs, and updates games. It is possible to purchase games from GOG once and copy them to multiple computers since they are DRM free. This isn’t a perfect solution because some games require GOG Galaxy for multiplayer. If that is the case, then each player must have their own copy of the game.

Games using the Steam multiplayer system can only be sold through the Steam store. GOG has made it easy for game developers to use the GOG multiplayer system instead. Usually playing the GOG version of a game means playing with only other GOG customers. That’s fine – maybe even preferable – for family gaming. It will, however, cause frustration if you try to play with friends who own the Steam version of a game. You won’t be able to see those Steam friends!

Editor’s note: GOG used to be called Good Old Games because they focused on keeping older games playable on modern PC operating systems. They recently changed their name to GOG and I had no idea until Adrian corrected me. Just goes to show… I don’t know EVERYTHING. 😉

Nintendo eShop

The Switch is an appealing platform. The same games can be played on the TV at home or on the go. And Switch has a great library of family friendly couch co-op games. But multiple Switch consoles is a budget buster for many families. Nintendo’s DRM restricts digital games to a single console, even when online. Playing together requires that each family member own a copy of the game.

PlayStation Store and Xbox Store

Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles have similar DRM policies. They allow an account to play a purchased digital game on the “primary” or “home” console. Each account picks a single, specific console as home. This can be the same console for multiple accounts. Sony and Microsoft permit the home console to change only a few times however.

Each account can simultaneously play a purchased game on the home console and any other console while online. Buying two copies of a game allows four family members to play – including multiplayer! This is known as “Game Sharing”. This works with two consoles and even four – with two copies of games. 

Buying Multiple Copies of Games


There are easy ways to save money on games for any platform. There are free rewards programs available: Nintendo Gold Points, Sony Rewards, and Microsoft Rewards. Each offers about 1% of purchases back as points. You can then redeem points for gift cards or other rewards. Make sure to check the program details as they each have their own quirks.

For example, you earn points using Bing web search and by completing surveys in the Microsoft program. There are many rewards available, including Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass memberships at discounted prices. Many people find they can pay for a year of both Xbox Live and Game Pass membership just by using Bing search daily.

Sales and Wishlists

Look for the weekly digital game sales on your platform of choice. Savings range from 25% to 75% off. Subscribers to PlayStation Plus often save an additional 10% on sale items. Xbox Live Gold members have a special weekly sale. Patience pays off as most games will go on sale at least once a year.

If you don’t have time to track the weekly sales you can still save. Steam, PlayStation Store, and Nintendo’s eShop for Switch all have wishlist features in their digital game stores. Steam will even email you when something on your wishlist is on sale! There are also many third party sites which offer price tracking like IsThereAnyDeal for Steam, TrueAchievements for Xbox One, and TrueTrophies for PlayStation. Each sites offers multiple notification options. These sites require an account to track your wishlist.

Saving on Digital Games

Using specific payment options can also save money.

Sony offers the Sony Card with 5X points (~5%) on entertainment purchases, including those from the PlayStation Store. The credit card company deposits points in the linked Sony Rewards account each month. This discount stacks with the rewards points earned from purchases via Sony’s digital game store. Redeem points for PlayStation gift cards.

Families may already have a Target Red credit or debit card, offering 5% off purchases at Target. This discount applies to gift cards. Target charges an additional 5% on digital gift cards delivered by email however. Saving requires a trip to the store.

Amazon offers the Amazon Prime Store credit card with 5% back on purchases at Amazon. You must be a paying Amazon Prime member to qualify. Amazon offers Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox digital gift cards delivered by email.

Remember gift cards are not subject to sales tax. And the discounted gift cards “stack” with any game sales for more savings!

Gifting Games

Gifting digital games is available on Steam and the Xbox Store. This is helpful as it allows you to maintain a single account with funds. Use this “primary” account to purchase games for the whole family and gift them to your children’s accounts. This also serves as an anti-fraud measure, because you won’t have to add a payment method to your children’s accounts.

Microsoft rewards points are also in a single account when using this approach with Xbox for faster accumulation. Microsoft parental controls also support “request to purchase” on child accounts. However, you can only gift DLC as “request to purchase” does not work. In-game currency such as Fortnite V-bucks require purchasing from the child account. In this situation you can apply a gift card to your child’s account only for the needed amount. Microsoft has said they are working to improve the process.

PlayStation and Xbox Online Services

PlayStation and Xbox require a paid membership subscription to play games online named Sony PlayStation Plus and Microsoft Xbox Live Gold. Each costs US$60 per year. Alternate subscription lengths are also available. Buying a membership for one account will enable online play for anyone logged into that player’s primary or home console. The paying account can also play online from any console while logged into the Internet.

Subscription Services

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft has a Netflix-style service dubbed Xbox Game Pass for US$10 per month. This offers a library of “over 100” games available for download. Game Pass games are available to anyone on the purchaser’s home console. The paying account can also play these games from any console while logged into the Internet.

With Game Pass for the family you have games everyone can play together. Microsoft has stated games they publish will remain in the library. Microsoft adds or removes other games periodically. Game Pass offers a sliding discount up to 20% to buy games in the library based on the game’s age. Game Pass games don’t include DLC but there is a 10% discount to buy it. The Game Pass discount only applies to full price games and DLC.

It is worth mentioning that not all games in Game Pass are family friendly, nor are they all multiplayer titles. Some are older Xbox 360 games that play on Xbox One but lack the high resolution and performance of newer games. There are multiple games from many genres including multiplayer family favorites Zoo Tycoon, Rocket League, and Lego Star Wars. The complete list is available here.

EA Access for Xbox

EA Access is a subscription specific to game publisher EA. It is available for US$30 per year on Xbox One only. Sports gamers can enjoy last year’s version of EA’s Madden, FIFA, hockey, and basketball games. EA also makes Battlefield, Need for Speed, and Plants vs. Zombies series which all have games included. Overall EA Access offers a smaller and older selection of games compared to Xbox Game Pass. Game Pass includes none of EA’s games.

EA Origin Access Basic and Premiere for PC

EA Origin is the PC counterpart to EA Access on Xbox. There are two levels available: Basic and Premiere. Basic is a separate PC-only subscription also for US$30 per year. The game selection is similar to EA Access on Xbox One but includes games from other publishers.

EA Origin Access Premiere is US$15 per month and adds newly EA published games immediately. This can be appealing for gamers who buy several EA titles for PC each year.

Sony PlayStation Now

PlayStation has the PlayStation Now service for US$30 for three months. This offers a library of games for PlayStation 3 plus a few for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 4. The service streams gameplay across the Internet rather than downloading games to the console. For any multiplayer games you will need a great Internet connection to support four or even two players. Instead of streaming games over the Internet it is rumored Sony will add support for downloading Playstation 4 games to a Playstation 4 console. PlayStation families should check back in the coming months for updates.

Xbox Backward Compatibility

One budget-friendly option for families is backward compatibility on Xbox One. Simply insert a supported original Xbox or Xbox 360 game disc into the Xbox One. The console downloads a small update and the games are ready to play. The list of Backward Compatible games is available from Xbox Community Manager Major Nelson’s site.

There are several sources for inexpensive used Xbox 360 game discs. eBay, Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon all sell used Xbox 360 games. This can be a cost effective way to expand your family game library. Also, digital copies of almost all backward compatible games are available in the Xbox store.

Game Sharing and Always Online

Game sharing lets you use digital game licenses on two consoles simultaneously. This is key to economical family gaming on both Microsoft and Sony’s consoles. Xbox accounts have a home console. Similarly for PlayStation accounts there is a primary console. Changing the home console is possible only a few times.

The home or primary console can always play games. The second console must be always online and connected to the Internet. If the Internet is not available then the console will not be able to play purchased digital games. If PlayStation Network or Xbox Live are down the second console will also be unable to play. This has ruined Christmas for some people.

That was a whole lot of info right? And we aren’t even close to done! Come check back for part two tomorrow!

About the Author

Adrian Luff is a lifelong video gamer with three video game obsessed boys and a very understanding wife. He is fortunate enough to have worked in the video game industry for over 20 years building online services for multiplayer gaming. He worked on servers for Battle.net used by the Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft games. He also designed the launch infrastructure for World of Warcraft. Adrian leads a team of engineers building robust systems, infrastructure, and developer tools for Twitch.tv (a division of Amazon).

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Nintendo Logo

Nintendo posted a new Nintendo Direct video today. It was approximately a half hour long and featured games for both the Switch and 3DS. All of the games they discussed are currently planned for a 2018 release (with one exception). Take a look below for all of the big announcements!

The Nintendo Direct Video

The Nintendo 3DS

Wario Ware Gold

I have been wanting a Wario Ware game on the Switch for a while. Unfortunately, I’m not getting one. But, we are getting one for the 3DS. Wario Ware Gold is going to include over 300 mini games which makes it the biggest game in the franchise.

Dillon’s Dead Heat Breakers 

I have no idea what this game is about. It appears to be a sci-fi combat racer with some other combat elements. I like the aesthetic. It feels like a cross between Star Fox and Mad Max. We’ll have to wait and see.

Bowser’s Inside Story

Bowser’s Inside Story is a part of the Mario and Luigi series. It involves a giant Bowser and the Mario brothers adventures inside his body. Its like a cheeky role playing game version of Inner Space. It was a big hit when it released in 2009. I think it is a great time for it to be re-released with a fresh coat of paint. In fact, it will include Bowser Jr.s Story. This will be a separate adventure that will explain what happened in the Koopa Kingdom during the events of the main game.

Detective Pikachu!

Detective Pikachu is nothing new. Its been available in Japan for a while. There is even a movie coming out starring Ryan Reynolds (No. I’m not joking.) The big announcement here is that is is available for digital pre-purchase starting today. The game will be released on March 23rd.

Luigi’s Mansion

Luigi’s Mansion is a well-loved game from the GameCube era. It was one of the first games to feature Luigi as more than just a sidekick. The 3DS already has a sequel to the ghost-dustbusting adventure in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, but this is a full on re-make of the original.

The Nintendo Switch

Kirby Star Allies

Kirby Star Allies launches on March 16th, looks gorgeous, and features up to four-player multiplayer action. It was featured in the direct so they could announce Dream Friends; characters and villains from other Kirby games that can accompany you on your quest.

Okami HD

Okami HD is one of the most beautiful games ever made. It was remastered last year and released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, but the Switch was conspicuously left off. It looks like Capcom is fixing that error now. I can’t wait to get my hands on this game this summer.

Sushi Striker: Way of the Sushido!

Sushi Striker looks like a pretty wacky game all things considered. It may be anime as all get out, but it has a certain wholesome fun that I think will fit in well on the Switch.

Mario Tennis Aces

Mario has had a lot of success in sports games in the past. The Mario Tennis line has long been one of my favorites. The Wii U version was disappointing, but Mario Tennis Aces looks like the real deal. I’m concerned that some of the mechanics that Nintendo has piled on might make the game less accessible to new players, but they are including a simple mode that will limit some of the shenanigans.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

YES! Captain Toad was one of my favorite games on the Wii U and I am very glad to see it given a new life on the Switch. It is perfect for the handheld. They even announced a 3DS version as well!

Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy

Crash used to the the Sony Mascot. He was their answer to Mario. Now? He has found his way onto a Nintendo console. Its weird how the world works.

Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 has been a smash hit on the Switch ever since it launched. It only makes sense that Nintendo would cash in on that success in the form of paid DLC. The Octo Expansion will feature a new single player campaign and players will be able to play as Octolings in multiplayer once they complete it!

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. is coming to the Nintendo Switch. This is a very big deal and will likely dominate the conversation between now and E3 where I am certain that they will give more details. The interesting details we can catch from this video are the following:

  1. Inkling boy and Inkling girl
  2. Link is in his Breath of the Wild costume
  3. The title card doesn’t list Bandai Namco as the developer

We won’t know much more until Nintendo decides to tell us. But, I will be eagerly awaiting more news.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Engaged Family Gaming Holiday

The Holidays are a great time for families to get new home consoles. They make great gifts for the whole family and can be responsible for a lot of great memories. Take a look below for our recommendations for home consoles this year.

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch launched in March of this year and has been a wild success for Nintendo. It is, without question, the best console for families on the market right now and it isn’t close. The console/tablet hybrid has just passed its 6 month anniversary and it is already home a better lineup of family games that either of its main competitors.

The main attraction for the Nintendo Switch is that it serves two purposes. It is both a home console that you can play on the family TV and a handheld console that you can take on the go. This can be a godsend for families that have multiple siblings because you can use it in “tabletop mode” to play multiplayer games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Edition anywhere!

Looking for some Switch games to give? Heres our list of Switch Games!

Sony PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 is another great console option. It doesn’t have the strongest lineup of exclusive games, but it is home to all of the major third party games like Destiny 2. You shouldn’t have any problems finding games to play with your family here. The catalog is already full of great games already and the future is bright since Spider Man will come out next year.

The biggest decision that new PlayStation owners will have to make when shopping for a PS4 is whether to purchase a base model or to spend a little bit extra for a PS4 Pro. The main difference between those two systems is going to be the graphics performance. Both of them will play the same games, but the PS4 Pro will make them look better if your family owns a 4k television.

Looking for some PS4 games to give? Here’s our list of PS4 games for this holiday!

Microsoft Xbox One

2017 has been a challenging year for Xbox fans. The exclusives have been in short supply and several high profile games have been delayed or cancelled.

There is a ray of hope though. The Xbox One X has been announced and it looks like a great console for families looking for a powerful console to help show off their new 4k television.

Looking for some Xbox One games to give? Here’s our list of Xbox One games for this holiday!

Last Generation Consoles

Families that aren’t interested in standing on the bleeding edge of console gaming technology still have plenty of reasons to pick up older consoles like the PS3, Xbox 360, and, to a lesser extent, the Wii U. These consoles should be relatively easy to find used from places like GameStop and have huge catalogs of games just waiting to be plucked from bargain bins.

In the worst case scenario a uses Xbox 360 will be a serviceable Minecraft machine for families that want to let their children play, but don’t want them using the family PC or laptop.

3DS Family of Hardware

The Nintendo Switch is the most exciting thing that Nintendo has on the market right now, but the 3DS handheld systems are still useful. They will be great purchases for families that want to introduce gaming to their children, but want something sturdier. The handheld may be entering the sunset of its life, but it has a library with hundreds of games that your children will love.

The only real problem with the 3DS family of systems is that there are so many versions that it can be hard to keep track of them. Fortunately, EFG published a handy guide to help sort all those details! You can read it here.

SNES Classic

The SNES Classic isn’t a traditional console, but it is such a big deal that I had to include it somewhere. It is a bite-sized console that includes twenty of the best games ever made. Its going to be in high demand though, so keep that in mind if you are adding it to your shopping lists.

Thats it for the consoles, but make sure to check out the rest of our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide!

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E3 Banner

E3 2017 has come and gone and our intrepid heroes have ventured forth into those hallowed halls in search of greatness. They played a LOT of games and each of them was tasked with declaring their favorite game to be their Game of the Show. Take a look below and see what they picked.

StephenSuper Mario Odyssey

Developer: Nintendo

System: Nintendo Switch

Release Date: October 27,2017

Super Mario Odyssey may be the obvious pick for me, but that doesn’t make it the wrong one. It’s the perfect follow up to the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I only got to spend ten minutes with Odyssey and I already knew it was going to be one of my favorite games of the year. This game is going to make an very big splash for Nintendo this holiday.


Developer – Polyarc Games

System:  PSVR

Release Date: Holiday 2017



My choice for E3 2017 game of show is Polyarc Games’ action adventure puzzle game Moss. What I saw of this game strikes a difficult balance between puzzle solving, light combat and utilizing the 3D virtual reality environment. Requiring you to be a part of solving the puzzles along with Quill makes you a part of the story as well.


Developer:  Cococumber
System:  Xbone,PC
Release Date:  TBA

I chose this game as my “Game Of The Show” for E3 2017.  It hit all the marks for me.  Family friendly, easily accessible and endlessly playable in any environment.


ReginaNeed for Speed: Payback

Developer:  Ghost Games

System:  Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC via Origin.

Release Date: November 10, 2017

EA Access Play First Trial: November 2, 2017


Payback is my pick for best of show. Why? Because I hate racing games and yet I loved this game! It’s a driving game but you have a mission and a story to unlock. I won’t admit how much pleasure I took from running cars off the road. Loved it!


JamesBattlechasers: Night War

Developer:  Airship Syndicate

System:  Xbox One, PS4, PC, Switch

Release Date:  Oct. 3, 2017

Battle Chasers: Nightwar… a beautiful RPG developed by Airship Syndicate and Published by Nordic Games, and based on one of the most popular American Comic Series in the 90s, by Joe Madureira, who is the creative director on the game as well.  The beautiful artwork, the rich and immersive environments, and the strategic depth are all high points that I know will have me coming back for more and more this October when the world will be able to enter the arcane punk wonderland of Battle Chasers: Nightwar.




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This year’s annual Call of Duty game will be out November 3. This time around the game is set during WWII. It promises to not sugarcoat the realities of that time in history, so we’re excited to see how it turns out. 343 Industries has confirmed that Master Chief will be the main and only playable character in Halo 6. Mario toys are now available in Happy Meals. The first characters for Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite have been revealed. Someone has “completed” Animal Crossing in less that 24 hours and Broken Age may be on its way to Xbox One.

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Eurogamer reported earlier this week that sources close to Nintendo has indicated that an SNES Classic will be released later on this year. Details are almost non-existent at this point, but one can assume that if this does end up happening, then it will be pretty similar to the NES Classic that was released last year.

This report got us thinking. What games from the Super Nintendo era would we want to see on this thing? The following is a lineup of games we would love to see! The NES classic had thirty games on it, and we strongly doubt that Nintendo would do the same thing again. Instead, we picked an assortment of twenty games. Take a look at our SNES Classic game list and then hop into the comments and tell us what you think!

Super Mario World

There was only one true Super Mario game released on the SNES and it would be a crime not to include it on any sort of SNES classic system. The fact that it also happens to be one of the series best is a bonus.

Super Mario World stands out for us because it was one of the first Mario games to encourage replaying levels and looking for levels looking for secrets. All of the previous games were more or less linear experiences.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

Popular among young kids and speed runners alike, Yoshi’s Island pushed the limits of the SNES hardware with a hand painted, timeless art style. This game took the classic Super Mario formula and added twists that have since been permanently added to Yoshi’s repertoire. Bouncing Eggs and Floaty Jumps both got their start here. This game was the core of what would later become Yoshi’s Wooly World, and it is clear that a lot of heart and soul got put into this game.

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Before Breath of the Wild, Link to the Past held a tie for best Zelda game along with Ocarina of Time. For many people, it served as the their first taste of the series and set the trend for a curated tour through a series of dungeons that would be a series hallmark for decades. The overworld theme of The Dark World is by far one of the most “hype-laden” SNES era songs and can only be beaten by the soundtracks from Squaresoft RPGs.

Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart started as a goofy little side project to and has grown into one of the tent poles of the Nintendo brand. Mario Kart games are celebrated when they are released, so this game needs to appear on the console.

The only concern that I have with this game is that Super Mario Kart doesn’t really hold up that well. The game is played on a flat surface using “Mode 7” graphics and it looks far more archaic now than it did in the past. With that said, I still think it should be included as a touchstone for players interested in the roots of the franchise.


This game is one that immortalized in Nintendo history with Captain Falcon’s place in the Smash Brother’s roster. What limitations could not be overcome on the SNES was overcome with fast action and syth-rock music blaring in the background. Go ahead and look up “Mute City Theme”… I’ll wait. As a stand alone title, it was a very solid racing game for the SNES era and solid hit of nostalgia.

Final Fantasy II (IV)

Most Final Fantasy fans would call for Final Fantasy III (VI) to be included, but we really doubt that Square Enix would be willing to put that masterpiece on a box like this.

Final Fantasy II, however, may be slightly less revered by fans, but it also has the distinction of being many SNES fans first entry to the series. We loved this game as it was the first RPG that our family really dug into (even our dad spent more than a few whole evenings playing the game).

FFII has a colorful cast of interesting characters that hold their own quite well against almost any other cast in franchise history. It would be a welcome addition to the console.

Secret of Mana

This game is a cornerstone RPG. So many pieces of art style and game mechanics got their first shakedown in here. This game has gotten better over the decades as story beats that I missed as a kid shined bright in a more recent play through. It also holds the rare distinction of being a RPG with co-operative play, as a second player could operate one of the two other characters for co-operative boss fight strategies.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of The Seven Stars

An RPG with “2 and Half D” platforming elements, designed by one of the precursors to SquareEnix, Set in the Mario Universe. This game tried to do everything, and succeeded. It took turn based gameplay and added input and reaction timing. It took the story of Mario and turned it on its head. Bowzer gets “defeated” and the princess is initially rescued, but the sprawling story only begins as the heroic plumber teams with a *very* unlikely group of heroes around a beautiful world with just the right amount of whimsy and humor to break up the action.

Super Street Fighter 2

Street Fighter 2 had three different iterations on the SNES console. We knew that we had to include one of them, so we chose the one with the most characters. Sure. That’s an arbitrary selection method, but any of the three iterations would be perfect on the console.

Street Fighter 2 marked the beginning of a significant shift from arcades to home consoles for fighting games. Until this point it was impossible to experience the thrill of the genre without throwing down quarters at an arcade or bowling alley. It’s also the first time in my life I remember actually calculating the monetary value I was saving by purchasing a video game because owning the cartridge limited the number of quarters I would need to spend on the machine.

Star Fox

Star Fox is, admittedly, a stretch. It is an essential Nintendo game, but it is notoriously hard to emulate because of the unique technology used to make it.

The sharp polygonal ships and the large environments were all possible thanks to a custom chipset built into the cartridge. Those effects can’t be accurately recreated on a modern device. As a result this game might need to be excluded by necessity.

With that said, Star Fox is an amazing game and was one of the first console games to be about arcade style dogfighting in spaceships (or anything for that matter).

Zombies Ate my Neighbors

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is, quietly, one of the most entertaining multiplayer games to grace the 16 bit consoles. The maze-like levels and quirky humor made this game a favorite at our house.

It doesn’t hurt that this game is devilishly challenging at times because of the limited ammunition available to players in most stages. This makes teamwork and communication critical to finishing this one even if it looks like it should be a throwaway game thanks to its hilarious animations.

Super Metroid

Save the Animals! This game is the quintessential Metroid game, and the foundation for Samus, arguably Nintendo’s first female protagonist. Its has a sprawling world, with a maze like structure and puzzling gateways that were the inspiration for countless games to come. The game’s themes of isolation and wanderlust are sharpened to a brutal point. You travel to the very depths of a planet, one that has once already been conquered by your heroics, only to find it teeming with new life and old, familiar foes.


Before Earthbound, video games never seemed to go near the realm of modern fantasy. Role playing games either brought you to the fantastical past or the distant sci-fi future. Earthbound was a game that took place in modern cities. Your treasure was in dollars and cents. You called home to save your game. Your bike was your first and last mode of fast transportation. And it all starts with a crashing meteor that starts a tale of psychic monsters, goverment conspiracies, kung fu masters, and a happy go lucky group of musicians.


Actraiser is an odd duck. It is an SNES that, on paper, looked like it was trying to do too much. The game married a side scrolling combat game with a top down “god game” a la Sim City. This shouldn’t have worked, but they pulled it off beautifully.

Despite all of this, it never got the credit that it was due. Many SNES gamers dismissed the game at the time, but but it has aged well. That makes it a great addition to the collection.

Super Castlevania IV

Quite possibly the last true Castlevania title before it evolved into a new genre in the Playstation Era, this is a tightly packed and incredibly difficult action/platformer game. The slow and steady whip of the Belmont gets sped up and goes in eight directions and it can latch onto special targets to perform a swinging jump. The classic creatures of horror that haunted Dracula’s Castle get new additions from gothic and fantasy horror, all while driving the player forward to the eventual showdown at the top.

Gradius III

There are a number of great space ship shooters that found a home (and success on the SNES) but none of them were as big (at least in our eyes) as Gradius III.

Gradius III was our first real taste of the genre and its bright colors, awesome soundtrack, and one-more-time challenge level kept us coming back for more.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were probably the biggest thing in kids’ media during the SNES era. It only made sense that they would have a bunch of video games. None of those games, however managed to capture the wackiness of the TMNT characters and story the same way as Turtles in Time.

The premise was simple: you control one of the four turtles in an arcade beat’em’up still game where each stage is a different era on time. The far future and the Wild West (aboard a train no less) were just two of the environments you played in.

This might be a longshot considering it is a licensed game, but I really hope it finds its way into the collection.

Yoshi’s Cookie

You can’t have a retro compilation console like the SNES classic without including at least one puzzle game. My choice is Yoshi’s Cookie.

It may not be the strongest puzzle game to ever see light on a Nintendo console, but it is cute and is attached to one of the more recognizable Nintendo character outside of Mario.

Mega Man X

Mega Man is iconic and the Mega Man X series is where, in my opinion, he was at his best. The 16 bit pixel art, the synth-metal sound track, and the fast paced action all add up to an awesome experience.  The SNES classic would be incomplete without it.

Final Fight

The Brawler/Beat-em-up genre was at its peak during the 16-bit generation. TMNT IV may have been the best among them, but Final Fight is one of the very best. The characters weren’t exactly original, but Mayor Mike Haggar sure is iconic. He has become a Capcom favorite and has even appeared in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

This is our dream list, but we know it isn’t perfect. What games do you want to see on here? Share your ideas for the SNES Classic in the comments!

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Nintendo gave us lots of details on upcoming games, including Arms and Splatoon 2. They also gave Kirby some love for his 25th anniversary. But, if there’s one thing Nintendo does well, it’s making its fans sad and that’s because the NES Classic Edition is no more. But it’s not all about Nintendo. Microsoft has started distributing Project Scorpio dev kits, and is making promises to developers that it won’t be any more work to develop for than the Xbox One. There’s also a huge spring sale going on and it looks like the Xbox and Windows stores may soon be offering refunds on digital downloads. Blizzcon details have been announced. There’s another event happening in Overwatch. And, finally Journey to Un’Goro is live.

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We are proud to say that Engaged Family Gaming was featured as a part of an Iteam investigation with NBC New York.

We talked about Roblox, a popular online gaming platform and the potential dangers it poses to or children. Our Editor-in-Chief Stephen is proud to have had a chance to stand beside law enforcement and cyber security specialists as we all spoke about the very real threats we have encountered.

To reiterate the points made in the below video (and to add a bit more since we are not pressed for time here):

  1. It is very important that we talk to our children about the games they play.
  2. We need to encourage our children to protect their private information online the same way that they would in person (perhaps even more so).
  3. Online games almost always have a chat function. It is recommended that you disable these functions whenever possible to limit the access that dangerous people may have to your children.

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