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Stephen Duetzmann

Stephen and Linda are here for board game week! This week they talk about Dungeon Academy from The Op, Unbox Key to the Kingdom from Restoration Games, and then talk about how they evaluate Kickstarter campaigns!

Click here to give the podcast a listen!

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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Stephen and Amanda have a lot of great ideas for what Microsoft should do after they finish buying Activision/Blizzard!

Click the link to give the pod a listen!


Music from https://filmmusic.io

“Android Sock Hop” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)

License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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Stephen and Linda have a LOT of board games to talk about. Give them a listen!



Music from https://filmmusic.io

“Android Sock Hop” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)

License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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!

The EFG Essentials

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Join Stephen, Amanda, and Linda as they talk about their most anticipated video games and board games of 2022!

Click to give the podcast a listen!



Music from https://filmmusic.io

“Android Sock Hop” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)

License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)


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!

The EFG Essentials

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Stephen

I’m an elder millennial (1980) so I was around for some of the first online games. Our family computer wasn’t very powerful, so I was limited to text based games. The first online game I played for any length of time was Dragonrealms. Its a text-based MUD (that is still up and running) operated by a company called Simutronics. Since it was all text it was very focused on the roleplay and I loved every minute of it. 

Mike

Dragonrealms. A text based multiplayer RPG, I learned how to type *reaally* fast because of that game and it was my first exposure to reading and writing computer code through computer scripts. Never really got beyond entry level content, but it was my first roleplay experience outside my immediate friends and family.

John

Word Of Warcraft,  I apparently don’t know how to ease into anything as a rule.  This applies to running obstacle course races, taking up new hobbies or jumping into one of the largest MMORPGs ever.

Jonathan

DOOM because when it came out my friends and I mowed the lawn for this guy that had his house wired for gaming and we had voice chat and everything.


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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The PlayStation 5 is still incredibly difficult to find as a result of shortages. This shortage is likely to continue well past the holiday season. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any available though. Start looking early if that is on your family’s wish list. 

The good news is that the PlayStation 4 should be readily available and still has life left in it for families who don’t have a console yet. Noteworthy titles you’ll want to find on deep discounts for the PS4 are Marvel’s Spider-Man, Horizon: Zero Dawn Complete Edition, and the Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Collection. 

Below is a list of games that are great gift ideas for PS5 owners. 

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

Buy here!

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is on my shortlist for the game of the year 2021. It is just that good. This is a new game in the franchise that has been built from the ground up to take advantage of the PS5 technology. The levels are designed in such a way that you use rifts to travel through completely different spaces within levels with no load times. It is wild to experience all the different ways that Insomniac takes advantage of the tech. 

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Buy here!

Kena punches way above its weight class. It is a budget title that has gorgeous graphics. It looks and plays like it was made by one of Sony’s high-profile studios. But, it is actually the first game from a company known for fan animations. This is another game in contention for game of the year and it will likely be on our PS5 essentials list for a very long time. 

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Lots of games have tried to clone Super Smash Brothers to find success. But, we haven’t seen anything like All-Star Brawl before. Game Mill Entertainment has combined the deep roster of Nickelodeon licenses like Spongebob, Avatar, and Ninja Turtles with retro gameplay that is reminiscent of Super Smash Bros. Melee. 

This is also as close to the original as one can get without owning a Nintendo Switch and actually buying Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 

Everyone of a certain age will have memories of playing Tony Hawk on their PS1 in their dorm room. (Ok. Might just be me.) This is a well-done remaster of the first two games of the series. It is gorgeously remade and includes some quality of life improvements that will help us share the game with our kids as we remember it (as opposed to how it actually was). 

PlayStation Plus/PS Now

Buy here!

Look. The reality of our situation this year is that it might be tough to find games in boxes to wrap up and put under the tree. Gift cards for PlayStation Plus and PS Now should be readily available though. These are “practical” gifts (or at least as practical as anything game-related could be). But, they will be appreciated nonetheless. 

Essential PS5 Games

If you are looking for more recommendations than what we list here, then check out our PS5 essentials list.

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 has done it again. They have released multiple iterations of the Nintendo Switch console and had them on store shelves at the same time. This can be super confusing for parents who just want to buy a Nintendo for their kids. 

We’ve got just the solution! Below is a handy guide to the three different versions of the Nintendo Switch console and our thoughts on each one!

The Original Nintendo Switch

MRSP: $299.99
Weight: .66 lbs or .88 /w Joy Cons
Screen: 6.2 in LCD Screen @ 1280 x 720 pixels
Resolution: 1080 p resolution to TV // Up to 720 p in handheld mode

Battery Life: 4.5 – 9 Hours /w up to 3 hours max charge time

The original model of the Nintendo Switch is still available and is a great system. It is a handheld tablet that can be docked to allow gameplay on the television. Generally speaking the OLED edition (listed below) is the better option for new adoptees. But, this is worth grabbing if it is available!

Nintendo Switch Lite

MRSP: $199.99
Weight: .61 lbs (integrated joy cons)
Screen: 5.5 in LCD Screen @ 1280 x 720 pixels
Resolution: (Implied up to 720 p in handheld mode but not listed on the site)

Battery Life: 3 – 7 Hours /w up to 3 hours max charge time

The Switch Lite is a handheld version of the console that can’t be plugged into the TV. It is lighter, less expensive, and perfect for younger kids who are looking for a replacement for a 3DS. It plays all the same games with less of an investment. 

Nintendo Switch OLED Edition

MRSP: $349.99
Weight: .71 lbs or .93 /w Joy Cons
Screen: 7 in OLED Screen @ 1280 x 720 pixels
Resolution: 1080 p resolution to TV // Up to 720 p in handheld mode
Battery Life: 4.5 – 9 Hours /w up to 3 hours max charge time

The most recent edition to the Switch line is the OLED model that came out this fall. It functions similarly to the original model in that it can be used both handheld and docked to play on the TV. This newer model includes an OLED screen that is brighter and clearer so playing games in handheld mode looks better. 

This is definitely the model to look for if you haven’t owned a Switch before, but it isn’t worth buying as an upgrade if you already own one.

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 specializes in family-friendly games and 2021 is no exception. They released a LOT of great games this year AND a new edition of the Nintendo Switch. Below is a list of some of the best!

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond + Shining Pearl

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl launched for the Nintendo DS back in 2006. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl bring the originals into the modern era including new features and quality of life improvements while maintaining the same story, Pokemon, and overworld map as the original. These games feature a familiar chibi art style while exploring and switch to battle animations akin to Pokemon Sword and Shield. These are must-haves for the Pokemon fans in your home. 

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

The 2020 release of this exceptional WiiU title is a fantastic addition to your Switch library. This title includes the original Super Mario 3D World and adds in a whole new adventure with the Bowser’s Fury add-on. The addition of Bowser’s Fury, an open-world type Mario Game, is something that people of all ages can enjoy. If you have a little one, you can even have them play along with Mario as Bowser Jr.  If you know someone that loves Mario games, this would be a great addition to any library.

Mario Party Super Stars

Mario Party Super Stars is the 12th home console installment in the Mario Party that has entertained fans for more than two decades. This version contains 100 mini-games that pull from the previous versions of the game and also includes 5 boards from the N64 versions of Mario Party.  If you know someone who enjoys party games this is going to be the one on their list.

Bravely Default II

This turn-based JRPG is the third installment in the Bravely series from Square Enix.  Unlike the previous two installments, this is a completely new storyline with new characters and a new world.  It features several new classes, including a “cat-o-mancer”, and also has a feature that encourages you to take a break from the game in order for your minions to bring back rewards while you get up and move around.  This would be a great addition to someone’s JRPG library.

Miitopia

Miitopia is an RPG where you build a team using Miis (Remember those things we used to make on the Wii and 3DS?). The story is simple and the mechanics are accessible. This is a great introduction to the genre for younger gamers and an opportunity to tell some really funny stories. (Bonus points if you ad Shaq to your team!)

New Pokemon Snap

Released in April 2021 New Pokemon Snap is an on-rails photography game that is the sequel to the 1999 N64 game.  Travel the Lental region and take photos of your favorite Pokemon and add them to your Photodex.  Any Pokemon fans will enjoy this installment and it is a must-have in any collection. 

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass

Buy here!

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass is getting a little more expensive this year. So the Nintendo fan in your life will appreciate getting this service as a gift. Don’t fret though. This isn’t just a subscription to play games online. It will give them access to some of the best games Nintendo has ever made!

EFG Essentials

If you are looking for more recommendations than what we list here, then check out our Switch essentials list. 

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!

The EFG Essentials

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Stephen

The very first thing I do when I get stuck in a game is search for a walk through on YouTube. The information is plentiful and can often help me find the answer to even the stupidest questions. (I get stuck on weird stuff on account of being hilariously bad at video games.

Mike

The pause button is your friend, both literal and figurative. You put the controller or keyboard down and you walk away. Nine times out of ten, the reason you are stuck is because of something that is completely beyond your control or something that is readily fixed. Drink some water. Have a snack. Look it up on your phone. Try again. And if it is already night time, consider sleeping on it and trying again the next day.

John

As a father with busy kids and a full time job I frankly don’t have a lot of time to be stuck in games, specifically video games.  If I am stuck for more than 30 minutes in one spot  I am not averse to lowering difficulty ratings if that is the problem or using the magic that is the internet to look up the solution to a puzzle.  I play games to relax and have fun, not pull my hair out.

Linda

With board games there are so many more options these days.  When I am stuck and do not understand a rule or step, my first move is to go back to the rules, and reread.  When we are able to play with our game group, there are two people who are excellent at deciphering rules. Sometimes if it is a small thing as a game group we make a call about how to proceed and just keep playing.  

Another tool that we use with more complicated games, are Youtube videos.  There is a huge library of videos teaching how to play a huge range of games.

Jonathan

If it’s because of needing to level up i’ll go back and grind. If I can’t find a key I turn to youtube a lot now as I have grown too old and tired…#facts

Mike Melkonian

There was a time when consulting a game guide felt shameful to me, but now I go straight to a walkthrough if I have trouble with a game! Time is limited when you have a family and full time job, so I’m content to merely imagine what being frustrated at a puzzle or boss fight would feel like. Of course, I’m going to tell the kid to figure it out on his own! No reason they should have it any easier than we did back in the day.


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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Stephen

See my review for Turbo: Super Stunt Squad.

Mike

There is an adage that there are no bad games, only bad experiences. A lot of fun times can be had with some definitively bad games. When I owned my very own PS2, I went to the electronics cabinet of the local game store bristling with birthday money. I had narrowed down to two choices: Devil May Cry…. and Eve of Extinction (E.O.E.)

You do not remember EoE? That is fine. Neither do I. I just know that I spent full retail on a forgettable action/brawler with frustrating quick time events, instead of quite possibly one of my favorite PS2 games of that year.

John

Starfox 2, go figure that it never got published in real life.  The Switch made me glad that I never plunked down real money for this game as an individual.  It is confusing, awkward and has no business being in any game lineup.

Jonathan 

I have zero love for 99% of the Atari games. They are so rudimentary now that other than missile command or pong I can care less.


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!

The EFG Essentials

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