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E3 2015

E3 2015 is over and it showcased a LOT of games that parents will be able to enjoy with their kids. But, some of the best games shown were just not appropriate for kids.We call those “grown up games” in our house because they are still games, but they just aren’t quite right for the younger set.

Below are our favorite Grown Up Games from E3 2015.

Fallout 4

This is, for many people, the crown jewel of gaming from this year’s E3. Bethesda is known for creating immersive worlds that give players the freedom to do whatever they want and this will be their first dance with the new generation of hardware.

The game will take place in Boston 100 years after the world is destroyed by nuclear war. You play a man, or woman, who survived the destruction in some sort of cryo-stasis in an underground vault and emerge into a largely desolate world that is teeming with bandits, mutants, and robots.

The game world looks massive from the trailer Bethesda presented us with and I, for one, cannot wait to run around in it!

Dishonored 2

The original Dishonored caught most of the gaming world by surprise in 2012. It was a brilliant game that presented players with a world to explore and tasks to complete in whichever way they chose. Most notably, players were able to sneak through the game non-violently or run roughshod through the Victorian setting laying waste to all who stood in their way.

It was a lot of fun to play and the world building was amazing. The developers put a huge amount of work into every little detail to make sure that the games world was as impressive as the gameplay.

Even better? The sequel features a female protagonist that has a completely different arsenal of weapons and magic talents from Corvo (the main character in the original). Both of these characters are playable in the sequel as well.

Uncharted 4

The Uncharted series has been a wild since it first debuted on the PlayStation 3 early in its life cycle. The story, and the action, have escalated significantly over the years and have made it one of the most love franchises in games today.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is intended to be the last chapter in Nathan Drake’s story and if the gameplay demos they have shown so far are any indication we should be in for a wild ride!

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Guerilla Games is known for their work on the Killzone franchise. They debuted a new game at E3 this year that looks like a huge departure from their previous work.

Killzone has always been a bleak, industrial shooter. Horizon: Zero Dawn, however, is an action based roleplaying game that takes place in a beautiful, mostly-natural environment. The game takes place 1000 years after mankind falls and features humankind living in tribal, hunter/gatherer societies. Players control a young girl named Aloy who ventures out into this world.

We know almost nothing about the story, but the game looks great. I can’t wait to play it.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

OK. Here’s the thing. I had fallen out of love with the Assassin’s Creed series after Unity. It was a lackluster game that was plagues with some bugs that kept the game from resonating with me. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate looks MUCH more interesting and has pulled me right back in after I thought I was done.

This is also the first console edition of Assassin’s Creed to feature a female protagonist which is a pretty big deal considering the mess that was last year’s E3 and the lack of female characters in the largely multiplayer focused Assassin’s Creed: Unity.

DOOM

There really isn’t much to say here. DOOM is one of the biggest franchises in the history of shooters and it is coming back in all of its over-the-top violent glory. This is definitely a game for when the kiddoes are in bed, but it looks like it will be well worth the wait.

I remember talking with my wife about what I expected to see at the Bethesda press event and treating DOOM like an afterthought. I told her that I wasn’t really all that interested, but that I was excited to see what they were doing for the sake of the fans. That lasted about a minute into the trailer before I was excited to buy it and bring it home.

What about you? What game are you looking forward to playing that you just don’t think you can share with the kids?

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e3 2015

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) for 2015 is officially in the books and is being lauded as one of the best E3’s is recent memory by a healthy majority of the attendees. After spending the weekend looking over my notes and all of the announcements from the show I have to agree with them. This E3 was full of amazing moments, but was not free from concerns. (But, is anything ever free from concerns?)

With all that said, there were peaks and valleys that are worth mentioning because the “good stuff” is so good that it will have a lasting effect on the games industry for years to come!

The Highest of Highs!

Inclusion and Diversity

The video game industry, and especially E3, has long been a boys club. Each press conference has been a crew of (largely white) men lining up to share news about their games with the world. It was rare that you would see a woman who was more than eye candy on the stage. This year changed that in a big way.

At one point during the Ubisoft press event Aisha Tyler was standing on stage with the legendary actress Angela Bassett talking about her role in Rainbow Six Siege. This by itself was awesome enough, but it only got better when they passed the mic to another woman to introduce and narrate the live gameplay demo. It was amazing to watch considering nothing like that had ever happened before. And for it to happen with such a stereo-typical masculine game was jaw dropping. This wasn’t some art house game. This was Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege! That is a very big deal!

Female Protagonists

The harsh reality in video games is that, at least in the past, it was tough to find a strong female protagonist in games. There were some. Don’t get me wrong. But, they were the exception. This year featured a veritable explosion of strong female characters. Even better – they were women designed with an aesthetic that wasn’t built to attract the male gaze. Read: They weren’t distorted Barbie dolls like the characters in Dead or Alive.

Sadly, most of the characters showcased are in games that will surely be rated M like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Fallout 4, and Dishonored 2. There is one ray of light though. Sony showed us a game called Horizon: Zero Dawn that featured a young woman named Aloy. The game has not, so far, shown much in the way of blood or gore so we can hope that it will be fine for older kids to play and/or watch.

The good news here is that when things succeed in mature games there is often a trickle down in the family market. Here’s hoping that happens quickly!

Long Awaited Games

This year was awash with the return of fan favorite titles that have waited for a VERY long time since their last iteration. Shenmue is getting a sequel. The Last Guardian, long thought to be dead in the water, was shown again. Star Fox Zero is FINALLY bringing space combat back to Nintendo’s arsenal. Even Final Fantasy 7 is confirmed to be getting a fully remade version. Bethesda even brought back the venerable DOOM for a coming out party.

This was a week of long lost games coming home and I could not be more excited!

The Unavoidable Lows

People Cheering Horrific Violence

Ok. I want to get this out of the way here. I do NOT believe that violent media causes people to be violent. There have been countless studies proving that there is no causal link between violence in media and violent behavior.

We clear? Good.

The Bethesda Press conference was held on the Sunday night before E3 and it was, admittedly, amazing. They showed off Fallout 4, They released a brand new iOS game called Fallout Shelter (which is amazing). And, they finally showed us Doom 4 after teasing everyone with an ever-so-brief snippet of game footage.

Doom has always been a game built around extremes. It was violent to the extreme when it first came out to the point where there were petitions to ban it. The designers have taken that design aesthetic and carried it into the modern setting and used the power of modern consoles to deliver some seriously over the top violence. The attendees ate it up. There were cheers throughout the presentation and I have to say that it was unsettling.

Don’t get me wrong here. It looked great. It wasn’t good for kids, but it was never intended to be. But, it was just difficult to watch and listen to the cheers from the audience. It felt the same way a few years ago when people stood up and cheered when a man was shot at point blank range with a shot gun at the close of a demo for the Last of Us.

Samus Aran Was, Conspicuously, Absent

In a year where female protagonists seemed to be taking over the show it was odd that Nintendo, once again, made it through another E3 without bringing us another true Metroid game. They did show another game set in the Metroid universe in the form of Metroid Prime: Federation Force and while that was a fine appetizer, it did little to satiate fans that have been hungry for Samus’s return.

I admit that I was disappointed as well, but I have long since accepted that the next true Metroid game will likely be coming out alongside Nintendo’s next console in a few years.

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E3 was full of huge announcements, but it was also full of crazy stuff too. You just never know what you’re going to find.

Remember last year when I published a review of Goat Simulator? The silly game that was, essentially, an April Fools prank that went too far and has made its creator a LOT of money?

Well, it turns out that it is going even farther. The official Xbox YouTube channel posted a trailer during E3 for Goat Simulator: Mmore Goatz Edition. (Yeah. I know.) The trailer shows a mashup of game modes that include both a fantasy game and a zombie apocalypse simulator.

At this point the game appears to have progressed beyond good innocent fun to be more appropriate for teenagers. But, it is worth keeping your eye on if you and your family enjoyed the stupid action in the first one.

And while you’re waiting for this one to come out why don’t you take this, equally silly, quiz called “Goats or Goatees?” Its way harder than it looks.

Sound off in the comments! Let us know what you think about the game announcement!

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The crown jewel of Nintendo’s offerings at E3 2015 was Super Mario Maker. We have been awaiting more details for a very long time and Nintendo spent a LOT of time showing it off.

After spending nearly a week watching trailers and gameplay demos I am comfortable saying that Super Mario Maker is going to be a game changing experience.

Nintendo has long held the keys to their castle close to their chest. They have aggressively prevented fans from creating their own Mario levels on any system. There has been an underground community for a while, but only because Nintendo could not stop it. This game brings it all to the table and gives players the tools they need to make their wildest Mario dreams a reality and then play them immediately. Even better? They will be able to share those levels with everyone else.

This is the ultimate justification for the Wii U gamepad that has, largely, gone unused. Players use their stylus to draw the games tiles onto the game world. Make a mistake? No big deal just hit the undo button and carry on. It functions the same way an illustrator would use a tablet

My oldest son dreams of being a game designer. This might not give him the full picture of how difficult a task that is, but it will give him the chance to control his games in a way that he has never been able to before. I can’t imagine he is alone. The next generation of game designers could very well be inspired by this game and that is AMAZING to think about.

That isn’t the only exciting bit to think about here. A games writer for IGN.com named Brian Altano wrote a preview for the game last year that expresses my excitement perfectly.

I don’t have to wait for Nintendo to make the next great Mario game because I’m gonna try to make it myself. And if I fail, we’re gonna make it together. – Source

Super Mario Maker will launch in North America on September 11, 21015 and I cannot wait for its release so I can see what we can all do.

Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more details as we get closer to release.

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

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Yoshi’s Woolly World is coming out on October 16, 2015 so it makes sense that Nintendo would spend a good deal of time talking about the game during their Digital Event.

They showed an impressive gameplay trailer that gave a LOT of information. It was also featured heavily on Treehouse Live segments. We learned a lot.

First, we confirmed that it was adorable. I’ll admit this is pretty cheap, but… man… this game looks too cute for words. The yarn aesthetic is pulled off beautifully.

Second, the difficulty scales based on use preference. The game defaults to casual. You can just cruise through the levels if you want. BUT, if you or your children want a challenge there will be plenty to be had. Getting 100% on each level will be a significant challenge.

Third, the amiibo functionality, while not being a functional addition, added to the experience just by being super fun. Being able to drop a Mario amiibo onto the gamepad to make Yoshi take on a Mario skin is just hilarious.

We’ll be following this game closely to see if there is anything new to learn between now the release date. Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for updates!

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

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Nintendo has finally given a release date for the North American release of Xenoblade Chronicles X. It has been out in Japan for a month or so, but we had no real idea when it was coming stateside until now.

The upcoming epic RPG (role playing game) is slated to release on December 4th, 2015 in North America.

They also showed off more gameplay details focused on some of the amazing locales that would be available for exploration in the game. It looks stunning.

Why should parents care?

This is a tough game to judge. It is an open-world RPG (Role-playing game) and it skews towards an older and more hardcore audience, but it is a gorgeous game and that really shows off the power of the machine.

If you are on the fence, keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming as we get closer. We will share more information as we get closer!

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

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Nintendo made a lot of announcements during their 2015 E3 Digital Event that have netted a lot of excitement, but one of them stuck out for me and my family and excited us. They quietly announced a new Mario Tennis title called Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash.

The digital event did not reveal many details,  aside from a Winter 2015 release date, but it was featured on a Treehouse Live segment later in the week.

What we know?The game so far features Mario, Peach, Bowser, and Toad. It also features a power-up mushroom that makes your character HUGE.

We are HUGE fans of the previous Mario Tennis titles here so keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more updates. It is a safe bet that this one will be heavily featured at a Nintendo Direct later this year.

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

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Nintendo did NOT Bring The Legend of Zelda for Wii U to E3 as they had promised. They did, however bring a pair of 3DS Legend of Zelda games to help hold us over until we get more information: The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes and Hyrule Warriors Legends.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is a new game based on the graphics and character models in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The lead designer said that when he play A Link Between Worlds he felt that the game did a good job of expressing height and depth. As a result he envisioned a game where players could create towers of characters help solve puzzles in three dimensions. The obvious problem here being that most Legend of Zelda games are single player. So where would you get these characters to make these towers from?

The solution was to lean on mechanics from a well loved, but often ignored, game called The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords. This was a groundbreaking game because it was the first in the series to include multiplayer!

And so, the newest title includes up to three player online multiplayer for the first time on 3DS. Each character will take on the roll of a different citizen who each claims to be the legendary hero destined to save the world. Who will be the real hero? No idea, but I’m sure the story will help us figure that out. Don’t worry if you, or your child, don’t like playing with other people. The game will provide you with a pair of doll like characters to play through the game with and alternate between.

One of the more interesting mechanics in the game involves changing Link’s clothes. He has always had different outfits to handle different challenges. But, they has generally been color swaps. The red suit helps in the volcano, the blue suit lets him breathe underwater, etc. These look like full on outfit changes a ‘la Mario Brothers that each give different powers.

I have to admit that I was underwhelmed at first, but as I watched more game play I got more and more excited about the idea of playing a Zelda game WITH my kids as opposed to in front of them.

What do you think? Sounds off in the comments!

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

 

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Nintendo did NOT bring The Legend of Zelda for Wii U to E3 as they had promised. They did, however bring a pair of 3DS Legend of Zelda games to help hold us over until we get more information: The Legend of Zelda: Tri-force Heroes and Hyrule Warriors Legends.

Hyrule Warriors Legends is a 3DS re-imagining of the intense action gameplay of the surprise Wii U hit from 2014:Hyrule Warriors. It is being developed by the same team as the original and looks like it will be just as crazy. This is by no means a traditional Legend of Zelda game, but it makes up for it by taking characters that we have loved for decades and letting us see what they could do with insane over the top powers.

The 3DS is not nearly as powerful of a machine as the Wii U so Nintendo has had to make some visual changes. As you can see from the trailer they have matched the cartoonish art style that was used for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS including the distinct dark outlines. I know that our house finds this to be an appealing look so here is hoping that they will use it for more games in the future.

The “Legends” added to the name helps to signify that they will be using all of the same characters from the Hyrule Warriors game for Wii U but will also be adding two characters to the game from Legend of Zelda: Windwaker. Even better? Those characters will also be playable in the Wii U version.

It is scheduled for release during Winter 2015, but we don’t have a final release date yet. I’m sure that will be coming soon though as we get closer.

Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for updates as the release comes closer!

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

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Nintendo announced Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer at a Nintendo Direct earlier this year, but didn’t give much in the way of details. This year’s Nintendo Digital Event fixed all of that.

In Happy Home Designer you are tasked with decorating homes for various Animal Crossing characters based on their personal preferences. They might want an outdoorsy home, or a “happy” home and you will have to interpret that and give them what they want. This is, essentially, the home design portion of Animal Crossing: New Leaf made into its own game.

Amiibo cards

The gimmick here is that Happy Home Designer will make use of amiibo cards (above). These are card shape amiibo that function like regular amiibo without the whole figurine thing. This is pretty neat for them. Here’s hoping that they manage the manufacturing on the cards correctly because Happy Home Designer won’t be playable without them.

What do you think? Are you and your children interested in Animal Crossing?

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

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