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The Pokémon Company has finally revealed the details for Pokémon Home. It will launch in February 2020 on iOS, Android, and on Nintendo Switch.

 The Pitch

Pokémon Home is a subscription service that acts as a replacement to Pokémon Bank. The service is both a mobile and switch app. The core purpose of the service is to allow players to start the Pokémon they have captured or bred in various Pokémon games in the cloud and upload them into compatible games.

How Does it Work? 

Subscribers can connect their Pokémon Home account to a Nintendo account. Once that is complete then they will be able to connect to compatible games and services to transfer Pokémon into their “home.” They can then transfer those Pokémon from their “home” into compatible games.

The games that Pokémon Home can currently connect to are:

            Pokémon Sword

            Pokémon Shield

            Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu

            Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee

Pokémon Home cannot currently connect to Pokémon Go, but that functionality will be added in the future.

Pokémon Home can also connect to Pokémon Bank. This is the only way for players to bring their Pokémon from Pokémon games on the 3DS and earlier into Home.

Features

Trading

Pokémon Home serves another purpose aside from acting as cloud storage for your Pokémon collection. It allows you to trade your Pokémon to help fill out your Pokedex through a bunch of different methods.

Wonder Box

Wondertrading in Pokémon is the act of offering up a Pokémon from your collection in exchange for a random Pokémon that someone else has offered up using the same feature. This is one of my favorite features in Pokémon games because I am always surprised at the interesting things that people are willing to give away. A lot of times I will end up receiving Pokémon that competitive players have been bred that don’t have perfect stats. This is great for casual fans who aren’t concerned with stats and just want to build a collection.

The free version of Pokémon Home allows you to Wondertrade one Pokémon at a time. The premium version bumps that number up to three.

GTS

The Global Trade System (GTS) allows you to offer up one of your Pokémon and list it online requesting to trade it for another specific Pokémon. This is a good way to build your collection if you are looking to catch ‘em all, because you can put up duplicates of rare Pokémon you own to trade specific Pokémon that you need to complete your collection.

The free version of Pokémon Home allows you to put one Pokémon at a time into the GTS. The premium version bumps that number up to three.

Room Trade

Another of Pokémon Home’s great features is Room Trading. You can use the apps to create rooms that nearby friends can join to trade their Pokémon. Anyone can join a Room, but only Premium Subscribers can create one.

Friend Trade

Friend Trade is a feature that allows you to trade Pokémon with players who you have become friends with on the service.

Other Features

Trading isn’t all though. There are several other useful features in Pokémon  Home to consider.

National Pokédex

Any Pokémon  you bring into Pokémon  Home will be registered to your National Pokedex. This will bring you one step closer to catching them all!

Mystery Gifts

Mystery gifts are a big part of the Pokémon experience. The Pokémon Company regularly distributes them as part of events and sometimes just for fun. The Pokémon home service lets you redeem the gift codes you find without having to get out your Switch. There will even be Mystery Gifts that exclusive to Pokémon  Home.

Judge Pokémon

Premium subscribers have access to the Judge function. This is a tool that lets you carefully examine your Pokémon  to determine how strong they are. This is a must for competitive players who are looking to build the perfect team.

How Much Does it Cost?

There are three purchase options for the Premium Subscription.

  • 1 month (30 days) – $2.99
  • 3 months (90 days) – $4.99
  • 12 months (365 days) – $15.99

Advice

The free version of Pokémon  Home is a no brainer for anyone with more than one Pokémon  game. It adds limited functionality to your games for no charge.

The premium version of the service is a tougher nut to crack. You need to evaluate your activity level and your enthusiasm for Pokémon to determine if it is worth it. I think the biggest question is if you have Pokémon in the Pokémon bank. If you do, then the premium service is the only way to access them and bring them forward.


Do you have a question we didn’t address here? Leave your question in the comments and we will reply and add to the guide!

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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Other Guides

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origins Access

A Parent’s Guide to EA Access

A Parent’s Guide to the Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Now

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Plus

A Parent’s Guide to Nintendo Switch Online

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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

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Choosing your starter Pokémon is one of the biggest decisions your child will make while playing Pokémon Sword and Shield. They get to choose one of three Pokémon that each have two evolutions: Scorbunny, Grooky, and Sobble. 

At the end of the day, any of the three starter Pokémon will be viable choices to help finish the game. If you fully evolve your starter then they will most likely be the most powerful Pokémon of the appropriate type in your party. 

However, their different types do lend some advantages in the way you handle the first few gyms. In order, the first three gyms are Grass, Water, and then Fire. 

Scorbunny

If they choose Scorbunny, then it means that they elected a fire type Pokémon.

Scorbunny!

This means it will be super effective against the Grass type gym that comes first. But, it will be weak against the the next gym which is water type, so there will be a sharp spike in difficulty. It’s a good idea to make sure you catch a Yamper (a yellow and brown Pokémon that looks like a corgi) because he is electric type or any of the grass type Pokémon on the routes leading up the the Second gym. Electric type and grass type Pokémon are both super effective against water type Pokémon. The third gym you encounter is a fire type gym. Obviously, Scorbunny, being fire type, is not very effective against its own type. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to catch water type Pokémon on the way up to and leading away from the second gym. Water type Pokémon are super effective against fire so you’ll want to make sure to catch and use one.

Sobble

If they choose Sobble, then it means that they selected a water type Pokémon.

Sobble!

This means that the first gym will be particularly difficult because the grass type Pokémon there will be super effective against your starter. This makes it very important that you collect a flying type or bug type Pokémon in the very early game. One good flying type Pokémon the capture is Rookidy. This is a flying type Pokémon that will remain strong throughout your time with the game. Sobble is also not very effective against its own type, so you will have another difficult time against the second gym. Just like if you chose Scorbunny, It’s a good idea to make sure you catch a Yamper (a yellow and brown Pokémon that looks like a corgi) because he is electric type or any of the grass type Pokémon on the routes leading up the the Second gym. Electric type and grass type Pokémon are both super effective against water type Pokémon. Sobble, gets its chance to shine in the third gym where it is super effective against the fire type Pokémon there. 

Grooky

If they choose Grooky, then it means they selected a grass type Pokémon.

Grooky!

This means it will not be very effective against the grass type Pokémon in the first gym you come across. This makes it very important that you collect a flying type or bug type Pokémon in the very early game as they are both super effective against grass types. One good flying type Pokémon the capture is Rookidy. This is a flying type Pokémon that will remain strong throughout your time with the game. Grooky is super effective against the water type Pokémon in the second gym. The third gym will be particularly difficult because the fire type Pokémon there are super effective against your starter. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to catch water type Pokémon on the way up to and leading away from the second gym. Water type Pokémon are super effective against fire so you’ll want to make sure to catch and use one.

This choice is ultimately a matter of taste. There are players who will swear by one type or another and others that will choose a different type every game based on which Pokémon is the cutest.

What do you think? What Pokemon are you choosing?

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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Fortnite is one of the biggest games in the world. In fact, the only reason it isn’t THE biggest game in the world is that Minecraft is still a thing. I know a lot of parents have allowed their kids to play this new gaming juggernaut and feel lost because they don’t really know how to use the parental controls. Below are the most important Fortnite parental controls that a parent will need to know if their child is playing on iOS or Android.

Editor’s note: If you want a deeper dive into Fortnite we have two guides on our site. The first is a general overview for parents that want to know what the game is all about. The second guide contains tips for new Fortnite players (or for parents to give to their kids if they get frustrated early on.

 

Turning off Voice Chat

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by pressing the + button

Open the Options Menu by highlighting the box with the Gear in it and pressing the A button.

 

Navigate to the Audio tab (The icon looks like a megaphone with sound waves coming out of it) by pressing the R button

Navigate to the “Voice Chat” option and toggle it On or Off by pressing the left or right buttons on the D-pad.

 

Note: There are a number of other audio options that you can adjust in this menu as well.

 

Automatically Reject Friend Requests from Strangers

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by pressing the + button

Open the Options Menu by highlighting the box with the Gear in it and pressing the A button.

 

Navigate to the Account tab (The icon looks like a pawn in chess) by pressing the R button

Navigate to the Automatically Reject Friend Request option and toggle it  On or Off by pressing the left or right buttons on the D-pad.

 

Chat Profanity Filter

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by pressing the + button

Open the Options Menu by highlighting the box with the Gear in it and pressing the A button.

 

Navigate to the Account tab (The icon looks like a pawn in chess) by pressing the R button

Navigate to the Chat Profanity Filter option and toggle itOn or Off by pressing the left or right buttons on the D-pad.

 

Lifetime Refund Requests

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by pressing the + button

Open the Options Menu by highlighting the box with the Gear in it and pressing the A button.

 

Navigate to the Account tab (The icon looks like a pawn in chess) by pressing the R button

Highlight the Submit a Request button and click it using the A button.

 

Note: You only get three Refund Requests EVER. Make sure that you talk to your kids and figure out how the accidental purchase was made so you can limit those situations in the future.


Where these tips useful? 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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

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Fortnite is one of the biggest games in the world. In fact, the only reason it isn’t THE biggest game in the world is that Minecraft is still a thing. I know a lot of parents have allowed their kids to play this new gaming juggernaut and feel lost because they don’t really know how to use the parental controls. Below are the most important Fortnite parental controls that a parent will need to know if their child is playing on iOS or Android.

Editor’s note: If you want a deeper dive into Fortnite we have two guides on our site. The first is a general overview for parents that want to know what the game is all about. The second guide contains tips for new Fortnite players (or for parents to give to their kids if they get frustrated early on.

Turning off Voice Chat

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by highlighting the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars) and pressing the X button. 

Open the Options Menu by pressing the options button. 

Navigate to the Audio tab (The icon looks like a megaphone with sound waves coming out of it) by pressing the X button. 

Navigate to the “Voice Chat” option and toggle it On or Off by pressing the X button. 

 

Note: There are a number of other audio options that you can adjust in this menu as well.

 

Automatically Reject Friend Requests from Strangers

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by highlighting the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars) and pressing the X button. 

Open the Options Menu by highlighting the box with the Gear in it and pressing the X button. 

Navigate to the Account tab (The icon looks like a pawn in chess) by pressing the X button. 

Navigate to the Automatically Reject Friend Request option and toggle it On or Off by pressing the X button. 

 

Chat Profanity Filter

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by highlighting the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars) and pressing the X button. 

Open the Options Menu by highlighting the box with the Gear in it and pressing the X button. 

 

Navigate to the Account tab (The icon looks like a pawn in chess) by pressing the X button. 

Navigate to the Chat Profanity Filter option and toggle it On or Off by pressing the X button. 

 

Lifetime Refund Requests

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by highlighting the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars) and pressing the X button. 

Open the Options Menu by highlighting the box with the Gear in it and pressing the X button. 

Navigate to the Account tab (The icon looks like a pawn in chess) by pressing the X button. 

Highlight the Submit a Request button and click it using the X button. 

 

Note: You only get three Refund Requests EVER. Make sure that you talk to your kids and figure out how the accidental purchase was made so you can limit those situations in the future.


Where these tips useful? 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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

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Fortnite is one of the biggest games in the world. In fact, the only reason it isn’t THE biggest game in the world is that Minecraft is still a thing. I know a lot of parents have allowed their kids to play this new gaming juggernaut and feel lost because they don’t really know how to use the parental controls. Below are the most important Fortnite parental controls that a parent will need to know if their child is playing on iOS or Android.

Editor’s note: If you want a deeper dive into Fortnite we have two guides on our site. The first is a general overview for parents that want to know what the game is all about. The second guide contains tips for new Fortnite players (or for parents to give to their kids if they get frustrated early on.

 

Screenshots courtesy of SnapperCharbs Gaming!

Turning off Voice Chat in Fortnite

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by clicking the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars)

Open the Options Menu by clicking the box with the Gear in it

Navigate to the Audio tab by clicking the Audio Icon (The icon looks like a megaphone with sound waves coming out of it)

Toggle the “Voice Chat” option On or Off by clicking the arrows

Note: There are a number of other audio options that you can adjust in this menu as well.

 

Automatically Reject Friend Requests from Strangers in Fortnite

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by clicking the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars)

Open the Options Menu by clicking the box with the Gear in it

 

Navigate to the Account tab by clicking the Account Icon (The icon looks like a pawn in chess)

 

Toggle the Automatically Reject Friend Request option On or Off by clicking the arrows

 

Turn on Chat Profanity Filter in Fortnite

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by clicking the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars)

Open the Options Menu by clicking the box with the Gear in it

Navigate to the Account tab by clicking the Account Icon (The icon looks like a pawn in chess)

Toggle the Profanity filter option On or Off by clicking the arrows

 

Lifetime Refund Requests in Fortnite

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the Lobby screen by clicking the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars)

Open the Options Menu by clicking the box with the Gear in it

 

 

Navigate to the Account tab by clicking the Account Icon (The icon looks like a pawn in chess)

Click the Submit a Request button

 

Note: You only get three Refund Requests EVER. Make sure that you talk to your kids and figure out how the accidental purchase was made so you can limit those situations in the future.


Where these tips useful? 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!

 

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

 

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Fortnite is one of the biggest games in the world. In fact, the only reason it isn’t THE biggest game in the world is that Minecraft is still a thing. I know a lot of parents have allowed their kids to play this new gaming juggernaut and feel lost because they don’t really know how to use the parental controls. Below are the most important Fortnite parental controls that a parent will need to know if their child is playing on iOS or Android.

Editor’s note: If you want a deeper dive into Fortnite we have two guides on our site. The first is a general overview for parents that want to know what the game is all about. The second guide contains tips for new Fortnite players (or for parents to give to their kids if they get frustrated early on.

 

Turning off Voice Chat in Fortnite

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the main Fortnite page by tapping the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars)

 

Open the Options Menu by tapping the box with the Gear in it

 

 

Tap to the Audio tab icon (The icon looks like a megaphone with sound waves coming out of it)

Select the “Voice Chat” option and toggle it On or Off by tapping the arrows. 

 

Note: There are a number of other audio options that you can adjust in this menu as well.

 

Automatically Reject Friend Requests from Strangers in Fortnite

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the main Fortnite page by tapping the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars)

Open the Options Menu by tapping the box with the Gear in it

Tap the Account tab icon (The icon looks like a pawn in chess)

Toggle the filter “On” or “Off” by tapping the arrows

 

Turn on Chat Profanity Filter in Fortnite

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the main Fortnite page by tapping the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars)

Open the Options Menu by tapping the box with the Gear in it

Tap the Account tab icon (The icon looks like a pawn in chess)

Toggle the filter “On” or “Off” by tapping the arrows.

 

Lifetime Refund Requests in Fortnite

 

Open the Settings menu in the top right of the main Fortnite page by tapping the Menu icon in the upper right hand of the screen (three stacked horizontal bars)

 

Open the Options Menu by tapping the box with the Gear in it

Tap the Account tab icon (The icon looks like a pawn in chess)

Tap the “Submit a Request” button.

 

Note: You only get three Refund Requests EVER. Make sure that you talk to your kids and figure out how the accidental purchase was made so you can limit those situations in the future.


Where these tips useful? 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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

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The Holiday season is fast approaching! Games are coming out so fast that it can be very difficult to keep track. We take  time every year to list the very best family games of the year that came out on every console.

Take a look below for our list of the best video game gifts for PlayStation 4 owners!

(Full disclosure: These Amazon links are affiliate links. Purchases made using these links will help us earn revenue.)

Spider Man – PlayStation 4

Spider-Man may well be our game of the year this year. It is a fantastic game that features a character that kids love. It is rated T for teen and earns that rating thanks to frequent combat with gun toting enemies, but it is a great story that features interesting takes on long time villains and heroes. I can’t understate how wonderful the movement feels though. Web swinging through Insomniac Games’ s interpretation of Manhattan is invigorating. This is a must own for PS4 owners this year.

Dragon Ball FighterZ – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the best fighting games and the bestDragon Ball of the year. It is a three on three tag team brawl with a character roster than pulls from the deepest corners ofDragon Ball lore. It was developed by Arc System Works, a company known for high quality animation and flashy combat.Dragon Ball FighterZ is a beautiful game to watch thanks to its tag and assist system, but the real fun starts when you take the controls yourself. This is a very accessible fighting game that is great for tweens.

Ni No Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom – PlayStation 4, PC

Ni No Kuni 2 is an adventure role playing games set in a world with both anime and western fantasy appeal. The art style and thematic soul of this epic comes from Level 5 studios working with the same studio headed by Hiyo Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle). The story of a fallen leader’s return to power after a sudden betrayal features a supporting cast that would be just as home in Redwall or [The board game about mouse soliders?] The story and game play is more approachable to younger adult gamer than its original title, replacing an in game strategy guide and Pokémon style monster collection with a more organic tutorial and explanations centered around a steady cast of playable characters. This game was loads of fun to play and has themes and stories for both parents and children alike, if you can get through all of the puns that show up in the supporting cast and side missions. Definite Recommend for this holiday season.

Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2 – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Purchase these games on the PSN here!

Mega Man is a well loved character and Mega Man 1 through 10 are the reason why. These two collections include 10 devilishly challenging platformers that have inspired a generation of gamers. This is a must own for families that have an interest in gaming history.

Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

You can also purchase just the first collection digitally here!

Mega Man X is one of the best platformers on the Super Nintendo and it spawned a series of sequels that kept ramping up the action. Capcom released two Mega Man X collections this year. The second collection falls flat, but collection 1 included Mega Man X through X4 and is a great value.

Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion – Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Adventure Time may have come to an end on September 3rd, but there are still adventures to be had. Pirates of the Enchiridion is a great way to keep the fun going. It is an open world RPG where you explore the land of Ooo one last time with a party of classic Adventure Time characters. The animation is of particular note here as it captures the irreverent nature of the show perfectly.

Sonic Mania Plus – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Sonic Mania was a big deal when it came out initially. Many critics lauded it as the best Sonic the Hedgehog game in decades. (Some went so far as to say it was the best Sonic game of all time). Sonic Mania Plus is a re-release that also includes two new characters: Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. They both move differently from Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles and have different powers.

Dragon Quest 11 -PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Sometimes you just want to play an epic-length, gorgeous, JRPG. Dragon Quest XI is just that. DQXI is a simple game that rewards exploration and experimentation. The cast of characters is interesting and different enough that everyone will have their favorites. This will be a great game to help spend some of the cold winter days that will come after the Holidays.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the spiritual successor to the popular PS3 title after two offshoot titles launched for the PS Vita. The game is a tactical strategy game set in an alternate, and more fantastical, version of Europe during the Second World War. The game unfolds in a series of journal entries placing the battles in context of a series of well told cut scenes and storyboards. Game play alternates between battles where you control each character in a unit as you advance and fight your way to an objective, and coordinating and upgrading your ever increasing squad in an offstage headquarters. This is a family friendly title that bridges the gap between the popular title XCOM 2 and Mario + Rabbid’s Kingdom Battle. It also has a playable demo with a save that can be rolled over to the full title. A strong title for strategy or warfare fans.

Mega Man 11 -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

It’s been eight years since the release of a new official Mega Man game and we have been long overdue. Mega Man is one of the essential franchises that gave birth to the platforming genre, and this newcomer to the Mega Man family is a most welcome addition. It promises new mechanics and challenges that will push the series to new heights. If you are a fan of the series or a fan of retro platforming games, then Mega Man 11 is a no brainer.

Starlink: Battle for Atlas -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

Starlink: Battle for Atlas was my game of the show at E3 this year. I was stunned to see a toys to life game (not called Skylanders) in 2018 and I loved it.

This is releasing this holiday season on all three major consoles and on PC, but the best place to play Starlink is going to be on Switch where it will feature exclusive content based on the legendary Star Fox franchise.

Just Dance 2019 -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

What is there to say about Just Dance that hasn’t been said before? This is becoming one of the most venerable franchises in gaming. Just Dance is released every year with new dance routines and new songs to very little coverage from gaming sites. Just Dance 2019 has a large audience and you’ll know if your family falls into it. Do you love music? Do you love dancing? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then this should be on your radar.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy – Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Spyro is more than just a Skylander. He was the mascot for a whole bunch of 3d platformers. His games where some of the first in the genre though so they are both well loved and in need of a fresh coat of paint. Vicarious Visions has rebuild the first three Spyro games with loving detail. I went hands on with the Spyro collection while I was at E3 and I loved what I saw so far. This is going to be a great gift for your family. This is especially true if you are a parent who loved the Spyro games in the past and want to share them with your kids.


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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

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The Holiday season is fast approaching! Games are coming out so fast that it can be very difficult to keep track. We take  time every year to list the very best family games of the year that came out on every console.

Take a look below for our list of the best video game gifts for Xbox One owners!

(Full disclosure: These Amazon links are affiliate links. Purchases made using these links will help us earn revenue.)

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the best fighting games and the bestDragon Ball of the year. It is a three on three tag team brawl with a character roster than pulls from the deepest corners ofDragon Ball lore. It was developed by Arc System Works, a company known for high quality animation and flashy combat.Dragon Ball FighterZ is a beautiful game to watch thanks to its tag and assist system, but the real fun starts when you take the controls yourself. This is a very accessible fighting game that is great for tweens.

 

 

Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

You can purchase a combo pack of these two games on the Microsoft Store!

Mega Man is a well loved character and Mega Man 1 through 10 are the reason why. These two collections include 10 devilishly challenging platformers that have inspired a generation of gamers. This is a must own for families that have an interest in gaming history.

 

 

Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Mega Man X is one of the best platformers on the Super Nintendo and it spawned a series of sequels that kept ramping up the action. Capcom released two Mega Man X collections this year. The second collection falls flat, but collection 1 included Mega Man X through X4 and is a great value.

 

 

 

Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion

Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Adventure Time may have come to an end on September 3rd, but there are still adventures to be had. Pirates of the Enchiridion is a great way to keep the fun going. It is an open world RPG where you explore the land of Ooo one last time with a party of classic Adventure Time characters. The animation is of particular note here as it captures the irreverent nature of the show perfectly.

 

 

 

Sonic Mania Plus

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Sonic Mania was a big deal when it came out initially. Many critics lauded it as the best Sonic the Hedgehog game in decades. (Some went so far as to say it was the best Sonic game of all time). Sonic Mania Plus is a re-release that also includes two new characters: Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. They both move differently from Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles and have different powers.

 

 

Valkyria Chronicles 4

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the spiritual successor to the popular PS3 title after two offshoot titles launched for the PS Vita. The game is a tactical strategy game set in an alternate, and more fantastical, version of Europe during the Second World War. The game unfolds in a series of journal entries placing the battles in context of a series of well told cut scenes and storyboards. Game play alternates between battles where you control each character in a unit as you advance and fight your way to an objective, and coordinating and upgrading your ever increasing squad in an offstage headquarters. This is a family friendly title that bridges the gap between the popular title XCOM 2 and Mario + Rabbid’s Kingdom Battle. It also has a playable demo with a save that can be rolled over to the full title. A strong title for strategy or warfare fans.

 

 

Mega Man 11

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

It’s been eight years since the release of a new official Mega Man game and we have been long overdue. Mega Man is one of the essential franchises that gave birth to the platforming genre, and this newcomer to the Mega Man family is a most welcome addition. It promises new mechanics and challenges that will push the series to new heights. If you are a fan of the series or a fan of retro platforming games, then Mega Man 11 is a no brainer.

 

 

Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

Starlink: Battle for Atlas was my game of the show at E3 this year. I was stunned to see a toys to life game (not called Skylanders) in 2018 and I loved it.

This is releasing this holiday season on all three major consoles and on PC, but the best place to play Starlink is going to be on Switch where it will feature exclusive content based on the legendary Star Fox franchise.

 

 

Forza Horizon 4

Xbox One

The Forza Horizon series has always been a hit and they keep getting better. The fourth entry in the series takes players to the countryside of England. It also adds seasons to the game that will pass every real world week. Xbox One families should definitely look at this one

(This game is also available for download if you are an Xbox Game Pass Member!)

 

 

Just Dance 2019

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

What is there to say about Just Dance that hasn’t been said before? This is becoming one of the most venerable franchises in gaming. Just Dance is released every year with new dance routines and new songs to very little coverage from gaming sites. Just Dance 2019 has a large audience and you’ll know if your family falls into it. Do you love music? Do you love dancing? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then this should be on your radar.

 

 

Spyro Remastered Trilogy

Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Spyro is more than just a Skylander. He was the mascot for a whole bunch of 3d platformers. His games where some of the first in the genre though so they are both well loved and in need of a fresh coat of paint. Vicarious Visions has rebuild the first three Spyro games with loving detail. I went hands on with the Spyro collection while I was at E3 and I loved what I saw so far. This is going to be a great gift for your family. This is especially true if you are a parent who loved the Spyro games in the past and want to share them with your kids.


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. 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.

Mac

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!

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. 

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

Rewards

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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

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