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Exciting things happen in the world of video games every single day. Everything happens so quickly that it can be tough for a parent to keep track of. Between work, carting the kids to everywhere under the sun, cooking, cleaning, and maybe (just maybe) getting a chance to sleep for a few hours parents just don’t have the time to keep up with everything happening in their child’s hobby.

If the above paragraph describes you, then we have an answer for you. Every Friday morning EFG will be publishing a digest of all of the video game news that is relevant for families. So kick back with your morning coffee and enjoy!

 

Mighty No. 9 gets a new release date

Mighty No 9 logo

Mighty No. 9 will be released on Feb. 9, 2016 in North America according to an announcement by Deep Silver (the game’s publisher). It was a huge Kickstarter success, but the momentum has dulled in recent months as the development as sputtered.

Mighty No. 9 will be available both digital and on disc for PlayStation 4, Wii U and Xbox One. It will be released digitally on the same day for Linux, Mac, PlayStation 3, Windows PC and Xbox 360.

I can’t wait to play this game, but I am sad to admit I am not very optimistic that it will be released on this newly announced date either. We’ll just have to wait and see.

 


Nintendo 3DS selects announced in UK

Nintendo UK announced a set of 3DS games being reprinted and discounted called the 3DS selects. Historically, games in this lineup (for the Wii and Wii U) have been sold at a reduced price.

The games listed in the announcement are: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Star Fox 64 3D, Nintendogs +Cats, Mario Tennis Open, Yoshi’s New Island, and Mario Party Island Tour.

We don’t know if this program will continue in the US, but it is very possible as we approach the Holiday season.

 


Project Spark for Xbox One goes completely free on Oct 5!

Project Spark

Microsoft has announced that Project Spark, the free-to-start game creation program will be transitioning to fully free starting on October 5th. The means that DLC that was previously behind a paywall will be available to everyone.

The update includes HUGE boosts in the maximum terrain and maximum prop limit, more than 200 new assets, as well as an increase to 100 total upload slots for each creator.

Anyone who spent money on the game before it transitions to free will release a credit on their account between thirty to sixty days from October 5th.

Project Spark is a very robust game creation program that presents its users with a change to make some pretty in depth experiences. If anyone in  your family is interested in game design then this is worth a look. Just be ready for a steep learning curve.

 


Mario Tennis Ultra Smash Gets a Release Date!

 

Mario Tennis Ultra Smash will serve up another set of Mario Tennis action on November 20. It supports up to four players and will retail for $49.99.   We don’t know much else about the gameplay but here’s hoping it’s an ace!  


  Super Mario Maker sales figures

Super-Mario-Maker

It was revealed this week that more than 1 million units of Super Mario Maker have been sold around the world since its launch on Sept. 11. The addition of 1 million new “fan” developers has resulted in the more than 2.2 million new Super Mario courses. Those courses have been played 75 million times. 


 

Rare Amiibo Back in Stock Soon!

 

Nintendo tweeted out an interesting picture the other day revealing that several rare amiibo will be back on store shelves soon! They include Little Mac, Greninja, Shulk, Lucario, Fox, and Captain Falcon!

 


Zangief announced for Street Fighter V!


Minecraft Story Mode Trailer Released!

 


Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival Release Date

WiiU_AnimalCrossingamiiboFestival_scrn01_TV_E3_bmp_jpgcopy

Nintendo updated the product page for Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival with a release date, a bundle and a price point!

 

Release Date: November 13, 2015

Bundle: Includes the game, 2 Animal Crossing Amiibo, and 4 amiibo cards.

Price: $59.99

 

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Sony held their inaugural PlayStation Experience at the beginning of December. They opened the event with an E3 Style keynote address loaded with trailers and announcements. I was excited to watch it with my kids. We went in with a plan to make a game of it. They knew there would be trailers played that they could not see so when those trailers were on they would run to another part of the house as quickly as possible to play with LEGOs until something family friendly came on.

I was sad to find out that they spent most of the time playing LEGOs instead of sharing the experience with me. I thought it would have been more evenly divided, but it ended up being very skewed in favor of scary, M-rated content.

I want to be clear here; I am not upset with Sony for this. It was their event and they never advertised it as a family event. It was a great show on its own and I am very much looking forward to playing games like Bloodborne and Uncharted next year (after my kids go to bed). But, after all of that my biggest takeaway had nothing to do with Sony at all.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and it left me very excited for Nintendo in 2015.

Nintendo had an amazing 2014 lineup that included a new Donkey Kong game, Mario Kart 8, and two new Super Smash Brothers games. 2015 looks like it will top all of that when they release new games for Yoshi, Kirby, Star Fox, AND Link while also introducing the world to Splatoon. Also, 2015 is the 30th anniversary of a little game you might have heard of called Super Mario Brothers. I can imagine we wont see some amazing things come out of that!

Normally, one would think that a lack of competition would be a bad thing. Right? If no one is pushing them to produce good games then the overall quality will drop. Honestly, that would be a concern for just about anyone, but Nintendo, as an organization, is obsessive with its quality. They will not release an imperfect game.

Instead, I see this as a very exciting opportunity for Nintendo to capitalize on. They have the opportunity to position themselves even more strongly as the ultimate family gaming machine. I don’t know that it will help even out the sales numbers compared to the competition, but it will go a long way to ensuring that the Wii U lifecycle continues!

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2014 was great for family gamers. There were a whole bunch of great games that came out, but 2015 is looking like it might be even better! Below are five of the games I am looking forward to playing this year!

 

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda Wii U

The Legend of Zelda for Wii U is my most anticipated game of 2015!

The release of a Legend of Zelda game is an event. The upcoming release later this year will not only be the first Zelda game on the Wii U, but it will be the first time that a Zelda game will feature an open world. The Wii U gamepad offers a lot of design space for new items so it will be great to see what Nintendo puts into the game by the time it is released.

There is still some doubt that Nintendo will delay it and move it into 2016, but I have faith that it will come out this year.

Mario Maker

mario maker wii u

Making levels for and with my children will be awesome!
Bring it on kids… Daddy’s pretty good at platformers!

2015 is the 30th anniversary of the release of Super Mario Bros. There are been dozens of games in the series, but Nintendo has always been in the drivers seat on game design. Mario Maker changes things up by giving players the keys and letting them design their own Mario levels using the design aesthetics from multiple Mario games.

The biggest reason I am excited? I canʼt wait to try and run through levels created by my children. That will be a treat.

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV

It’s not confirmed yet… but a man can hope. Right?!?!

We may not have an official release date yet, but Square Enix has been releasing information at such a rapid pace recently that I am very hopeful that we will see a release this year.

We also do not have a rating, but Final Fantasy games have had sections that were good to share with your kids in the past. I have great memories of playing some of critter heavy sections of Final Fantasy XIII with my sons. I am hoping that Iʼll be able to do the same with this one.

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Xenoblade Chronicles X for Wii U

Ok.. they are mechs as opposed to robots. But, I love them anyway!

Xenoblade Chronicles was a masterpiece for the Wii. It had one significant flaw though: It looked out of place without HD graphics. The sequel for the Wii U looks like it will fix that.

I also love giant robots and the trailers we have seen so far look like they will bring me a lot of them.

My only concern is that we don’t have a confirmed release date and we still haven’t heard one voice in english. It is only January so Nintendo has a lot of time left to go, but we need to hear something about this one soon or this might end being on my list of games for 2016 instead.

 

Ori and the Blind Forest

ori and the blind forest for Xbox One

This looks like it will be tough, but is beautiful enough for us to push through!

Ori and the Blind Forest was originally supposed to launch in 2014 but was delayed into early 2015. Meaning that is is ALMOST HERE! The launch trailer at last yearʼs E3 was stunning and I cannot wait to share this game with my kids (even if it means we are going to cry together).

Some of the gameplay trailers have led me to believe that this will have some incredibly challenging platforming segments, but I am sure that my boys and I will push through it together.

 

What are you and your family looking to play in 2015? Sound off in the comments!

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Nintendo closed everything out by sharing an Online Event with the world on Tuesday. This marks the second year in a row that they have decided to forgo a formal press event in favor of a more personal presentation online. This is an interesting decision because we know that their last year’s performance has been sub-par. One would wonder if they would experiment with a full press event to at least see if it makes a difference. We’ll never really know how they make up their minds about these things.

With all that said, the event was a success. They spent approximately 45 minutes showing off upcoming titles. Here are some important things that we learned:

1. Super Smash Brothers WiiU and 3DS had better sell like crazy!

Super Smash Brothers will release for the 3DS on October 3rd and for the WiiU this holiday season. Nintendo showed a lot of titles off during their event, but very few of them will be coming out in 2014. As a result, they are putting all of their eggs in the Smash basket this year.

The good news is that Super Smash Brothers looks brutally good. The cast of characters is huge, the visuals are astonishing, and the fighting looks tight and well done. It is safe to say that it will help Nintendo sell more units, but it is impossible to know how much of a sales boost it will provide.

2. If Smash Brothers doesn’t help the WiiU there is always 2015.

The vast majority of the games announced at their event will be coming in 2015.

  • Mario Maker – a game that allows players to create and share their own Mario levels.
  • Star Fox (working title)
  • Project Giant Robot – a game where players create giant robots and fight with them.
  • Project Guard – a tower defense game
  • Splatoon – An interesting 4v4 multiplayer shooter where players squirt each other (and the world around them with different colors of paint.
  • Yoshi’s Woolly World – a Yoshi themed follow-up to Kirby’s Epic Yarn
  • Kirby and the Rainbow Curse – a claymation Kirby game
  • Mario Party 10 – A new Mario Party game
  • “Zelda U” – The next installment in the Legend of Zelda Franchise

This is an amazing mix of established properties and new products that should give people thinking about buying a WiiU (or who already own one) hope for the future.

3. The next Zelda game will have an open world (and will likely be the best looking Nintendo game ever).

Nintendo formally announced their development of the next installment in the Zelda series. Eiji Ounuma, the game’s producer, revealed during the presentation that he had always aspired to make a Zelda game with a vast open world. He lamented that they never had the hardware power to pull that off and had to produce very linear and closed in adventures. This is all being corrected in the newest version. Players will explore a vast open world full of possibilities for exploration.

They showed a trailer that is reportedly game play as opposed to a premade video. You can take a look at it here. Go ahead. I’ll wait!

Good wasn’t it? I know. We can’t wait for it either.

4. Nintendo will have its own NFC figurines similar to the Skylanders and Disney Infinity lines.

They will be called amiibos and will feature Nintendo characters like Mario, Link, Samus, and Princess Peach. The biggest difference between Nintendo’s figures and other figurines is that amiibos will work as supplemental products across multiple games in the Nintendo lineup like Mario Kart 8, Mario Party 10, and Super Smash Brothers.

We’ll be talking about them more over the next week or so. Keeps your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information!

5. There is more to come.

Nintendo was clearly holding back information about their games. We still don’t know the entire roster for Super Smash Brothers. We don’t know how the amiibo figures will work inside Mario Kart 8. We don’t even know if the character in the Zelda trailer was Link or not. Nintendo even went so far as to announce another major IP two days later at a private press event. I am all but certain we will be having small details sent our way for the rest of the year and beyond.

 

What about you? What did you think about what you saw? Sound off in the comments!

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E3 (The Electronic Entertainment Expo) is one of the biggest opportunities each year for game developers and publishers to make surprise announcements to help build interest in their games.

As a result, there is often wild speculation as to what we will see by the end of the week. The wildest speculation, however, is aimed directly at the five major press events at the beginning of the week.

All the big guys have posted their predictions already, but we here at Engaged Family Gaming would be remiss if we didn’t publish our own thoughts. We put our heads together and came up with three very solid predictions.

 

1. Nintendo will announce a Super Mario Galaxy HD Collection

The WiiU just isn’t moving units right now, but the system itself isn’t the entire problem. Instead, players are faced with a severe lack of games to play on the hardware. Third party publishers are not bringing major games to the console and Nintendo has been slow to release its own titles. There have literally been entire MONTHS without a major WiiU release. This is a significant problem because it devalues the experience.

Nintendo has a chance to alleviate some of this problem by releasing remastered versions of their successful Wii games. Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are perfect examples of games that would be well received by fans and would help fill that gap.

This collection would be a day one purchase in my house and would be a great way for younger children to experience one of the best Mario games in history.

 

2. The hardware manufacturer’s will cut the prices for last generation consoles.

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are selling well, but they don’t even come close to having the massive install bases of their predecessors. Many companies are still making what are called “cross-gen” games meaning that they are produced for both current and previous generation consoles. As a result, there is value in capitalizing on the old tech with late adopters.

We predict that at least two of the three hardware manufacturers will drop prices.

 

3. The Last Guardian will finally be shown… again.

The Last Guardian, a PlayStation exclusive title being developed by Team ICO, has been in development for the better part of a decade. But, it has only been shown at E3 once (2009!) The previous games released by Team ICO were some of the most artful games every made so virtually the entire gaming world has been hungry for The Last Guardian since it was shown off.

You might be asking yourself…. Why is Engaged Family Gaming making a prediction about a game that hasn’t been shown off since 2009? Why do we even really care?

Good question. The last game developed by Team ICO was Shadows of the Colossus. This game was transformative for the video games industry because it clearly demonstrated that emotion and story could be conveyed through the game mechanics themselves. If they could do that in 2005, then one can only imagine what they have managed to pull off since then.

We predict that The Last Guardian will be shown off and that we will see a release date somewhere in 2015. (Although we would be more than happy to see a 2014 release date.)

 

 

What about you? Do you have any predictions you would like to share with us? Post them in the comments and we can circle back after the show and see how we all did!

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Editor’s Note: This article was previously published on Pixelkin.org. Make sure to check them out when you get a chance.

Horizon: Zero Dawn has already been delayed, but that didn’t stop Sony from presenting a new gameplay demo for the game during their E3 2016 Press Conference.

The game was shown off a year ago at E3 2015 and it wowed the crowd with its unique take on a post fall Earth. We were introduced to the young girl Aloy and we had a chance to watch her fight a giant mechanical dinosaur. We had no idea WHY everything was happening, but to see an archer fend off a robot T-rex looked worth the price of admission all on its own.

Fortunately, though, the developers have given us a greater understanding of the story in recent weeks. As we understand it now: Aloy is an outcast. She arrived at a young age with no explanation and was raised by a man in her adopted tribe. Eventually, for reasons we do not know, it is decided that she is no one and they force her to leave. After that she embarks on a quest to find out where she came from and in turn she appears to find out what happened to the world of the “old ones.” (Spoilers: Old ones refers to us.) While on this quest shenanigans ensue. I’ll admit that I am not ready to take the plot seriously yet, but I am very excited to play this game nonetheless.

Sony also gave us a look at a section of gameplay during their E3 2016 press event. The demo was less than ten minutes long, but we saw her navigating a vast open world teeming with life (both mechanical and flesh). She is as agile as ever, but this time around we saw her using a special earpiece to scan nearby enemies for weaknesses and use a special staff she has to help “override” the mechanical creatures she finds. At one point she is even able to turn one of the creatures into a mount. The demo culminates in a battle with a creature called a “corruptor.” The fight is difficult and requires a lot of careful dodging while switching out weapons and different kinds of arrows. The combat was tense and the music and sound design helped maintain the intensity as well.

Horizon: Zero Dawn will be released on February 28, 2017. We will have more news as we get closer to release so keep your eyes on Pixelkin.org as we get closer to release.

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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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