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2K Games has announced that Shaq is the Legend edition cover athlete for their upcoming NBA basketball sim NBA 2K18. Shaq was one of the most dominant forces in NBA during his long career and he really never went away after he retired. He sits on the panel for TNT’s Inside the NBA program and will likely be a fixture in and around the NBA for the rest of his days.

Big Aristotle (as some call him) is not gracing the cover of NBA2k18 after an 11 year absence. This time, though, he is limited to the special editions. The cover athlete for the main game will be announced as a later date (likely after the NBA Finals are complete).

The special editions will allow players to get into the action on September 15th of this year. The standard version of NBA 2K18 comes to Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 19.

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Capcom has announced the third character in season 2 of Street Fighter V.

The characters name is Ed and he is a young man who, in the game’s narrative, was kidnapped as a young boy and experimented on by S.I.N. to be turned into a replacement body for the ultimate villain M. Bison.

OK. I’ll admit it. The story part doesn’t make a huge amount of sense, but it really doesn’t matter. The reality is that Ed is a strong boxing focused brawler character with a series of sweet moves that can be seen in his trailer below.

He is the third character to be released during this second season alongside Akuma and Kolin. The DLC season pass can be purchased for $29.99 and will include a total of five characters by the end of the year. We don’t know who the other two characters are, but EVO is coming up this July so we are almost certain to get details then.

 

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The Star Wars Celebration was held in Orlando, FL this past weekend. They made several announcements including showing off a new trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. They also showed off details about the upcoming release Star Wars: Battlefront II.

The Official Reveal Trailer

Single Player!

One of the biggest complains levied against Star Wars: Battlefront was that it was an online only experience and didn’t have any sort of a single player campaign. The series has always been about interesting characters going on wild adventures so it was definitely odd that the first major Star Wars games in years was just a series of multiplayer arenas.

All of that is being fixed in the sequel. Star Wars: Battlefront II will have a campaign that is being written by Walt Williams (Spec Ops: The Line) and Mitch Dyer (a former games journalist from IGN).  The story will mark a significant change from previous Star Wars games. This is because players will take on the role of a tie fighter pilot immediately following the events of the Battle of Endor at the end of Return of the Jedi.

Multiplayer Across All Eras

EA also announced that the multiplayer scenarios in the game will span all of the different movies. This is pretty exciting because the last Battlefront game focused almost entirely on the original trilogy. I know that most people are less than enthusiastic about the original trilogy, but there were a number of very cool environments and battles that would make great maps. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

It also sounds as though EA will be ditching the season pass strategy that they employed in the first game. This hasn’t been confirmed, but EA officials have been quoted as saying that they don’t want to  splinter their community the way that they did before. Instead, it appears that they might be following the lead of games like Overwatch that deliver all of their extra content at no additional charge.

The Release Date!

Star Wars: Battlefront II will release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 17th, 2017.

 

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

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

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

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

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Nintendo held a press event in Tokyo on January 12th, 2017 where they announced all of the pertinent details for their upcoming console, the Nintendo Switch. We learned several of the broad strokes about the console in a video that Nintendo released in the fall.

We knew that the Switch hardware consisted of a tablet that could be played on the go using a pair of detachable Joy-Con controllers or docked using a special cradle and played on a TV. They left a lot out of the initial video, and while we still don’t know everything, we now know a heck of a lot more.

Here is what we know now:

The Release Date

The Nintendo Switch will launch on March 3rd, 2017. It was available for preorder at several retailers initially, but quickly sold out.

The Price

The Nintendo Switch will sell, in North America, for a suggested retail price of $299.99. Nintendo will also sell a suite of accessories like additional controllers, cords, and docks separately.

The Modes of Play

The Nintendo Switch can be played in three different ways.

First, you can play in home console mode. This is where the console is docked and you play the game using either the Joy-Cons in the special Joy-Con grip or with a Switch Pro Controller.

Second, you can play in tabletop mode. This is where the console is not docked by is propped up using a built in kickstand. Players can then play games using the Joy-Cons or the Pro controller.

Lastly, you can play in handheld mode. This is where the console is not docked and players attach the two Joy-Cons to either side of the tablet and play it similarly to a 3DS or a PlayStation Vita.

The Battery Life

The console will charge while docked, but while being used undocked in either tabletop mode or in handheld mode the battery will last between two and a half to six hours depending on the game being played and its hardware requirements. (Put simply, that means that more graphically intense games like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Skyrim will drain the battery faster than simple puzzle games.)

Online Multiplayer

Nintendo will be offering a premium service for online play in its games. The service will work using a separate smart-phone or tablet device and will allow for friend-finding, matchmaking, and voice chat. The premium service will also grant players access to one virtual console game per month from either the NES or the SNES. We do not know the price for this premium service at this time, but it is worth noting that the service will be free initially.

Joy-Cons

The two controllers that come with the console are far more advanced than we thought they would be when the console was first announced.

They include a feature called HD Rumble which is intended to help players feel more specific sensations than just shaking. For example, you will be able to feel ice cubes rattling around in a glass, or the pressure of objects as your grip them. Each Joy-Con also functions as a game controller that can be used for multiplayer games as well. They even come with a wrist strap that slides on and not only helps with motion controls, but also makes the Joy-Con larger and easier to wrap your hands around.

 

Stay tuned for more coverage of the Nintendo Switch as we get closer to launch!

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The Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is now over and it was a HUGE success. A lot of great games were shown and several companies made big announcements. We compiled a list of the 9 biggest family game stories of E3 2016. Take a look below!

 

1!

This announcement may end up being the most impactful announcement of the whole show when we look back on E3 2016 in a few years. Sure. We saw Project Scorpio announced by Microsoft, but Minecraft has progressed into more than just a game. It is a cultural movement that has swept up huge swaths of our society. One of the few things preventing it from growing even farther is the fact that so many people are stuck in their own walled gardens.

The idea of kids being able to play together when one of them is on on their parent’s laptops while another kid is playing on a second hand iPad is AMAZING. This could make a game that already engages just about every school kid in America and help them engage with it on a different level: with their friends.

https://engagedfamilygaming.com/news-updates/minecraft-to-be-updated-with-cross-platform-play/

2!

SPIDER-MAN!!!! I don’t really need to say much else here. Spider-Man is among the most well loved superheroes there is and it has been a crime to see him so underrepresented in GOOD video games over the years.

We don’t know much about the upcoming Spider-Man title from Insomniac Games, but they are experience game developers who have made some wonderful games in the past. Here’s hoping they can knock another one out of the park.

Spider-Man is Getting a New Video Game!

3!

Ever Oasis is an adorable looking Action RPG being made by a JRPG legend. It is slated for a 2017 release and my boys and I are already hungry for it. This looks great!

Nintendo Surprises Everyone with New RPG Ever Oasis

4!

Legend of Zelda is an iconic franchise. We saw this game announced at the Game Awards a few years ago and it immediately captivated the gaming world. There isn’t much more that I can say other than that I am super excited for it. We will talk a lot more about this game as it gets closer to its release next year.

Until then? Click the link on the article and take a look at the footage. Just let it soak in.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is Coming!

5!

Horizon: Zero Dawn is one of my most anticipated games right now. It features a strong female protagonist and is easily one of them most gorgeous games I have ever laid eyes on. Check out the new gameplay video inside!

Horizon: Zero Dawn Has a New Gameplay Demo

6!

Crash Bandicoot is a big part of gaming history and my family is very excited to see him come back.

Crash Bandicoot is Coming Back!

7!

VR is coming and it is coming fast. The one thing that it is missing is a set of games that will draw people in. Part of me suspects that appealing to Trekkies is one heck of a way to get some people in to the VR market.

Ubisoft Blows Trekkies Minds With Star Trek: Bridge Crew

8!

When Electronic Arts  signed their contract with Disney to have exclusive rights to produce Star Wars games for ten years they knew that a countdown timer had started. They only had a decade to squeeze ever dollar out of that deal.

We are just starting to see the results of that deal and it means that we will get a AAA Star Wars game every year for the foreseeable future.

Electronic Arts is Bringing Fans a LOT of Star Wars!

9!

Electronic Arts is making FIFA into an RPG. How crazy is that?

FIFA is already one of the most popular game franchises in the world so it wouldn’t be terribly shocking if they didn’t bother to innovate, but this is a significant move for them.

It has me very excited to play a game about soccer, which is impressive.

Take the Journey in FIFA 2017!

 

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Pixelkin.org as part of their E3 2016 Coverage! Give them a look when you get a chance. They cover family games just like we do.

A few years ago Electronic Arts signed a deal with Disney giving them exclusive rights to produce and publish Star Wars games for ten years. They are a prolific publisher so it was plain to anyone paying close attention that a wave of games would be coming quickly following the announcement. That oncoming wave has officially crested and anyone watching today’s EA Play should be running for cover.

EA has contracted with a number of different developers to produce a wide slate of games across a variety of genres and platforms. Take a look below for the projects in progress.

Amy Hennig/Visceral

When Amy Hennig left Naughty Dog we knew it had to mean big things. She is the woman responsible for the Uncharted series and is a master at developing interesting characters and telling stories through action games.

EA has confirmed that her game is currently planned for release in 2018 and will feature a new adventure, a new story, and new characters. When you consider the depth and breadth of the Star Wars universe this could be just about anything and I am super excited to see it.

The speculation machine is already working overtime I am sure. Here’s hoping that the Visceral PR team is ready for the scrutiny that Star Wars fans are used to applying every word in every press release.

Respawn

They hadn’t even finished work on TitanFall 2 when a press release went out stating that they would be making a third person action game set in the Star Wars universe. Today we got confirmation that their new game will take place in a whole new timeline.

I’m not sure why they chose the word “timeline,” but that could have been awkward word choice, or it could carry huge implications about the game and where/when it takes place.

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Star Wars Battlefront has been insanely popular. It sold a reported 14 million copies over the last holiday season in spite of some average to middling review scores based on its content. The reality is that a casual shooter targeted at Star Wars is almost guaranteed to be a success.

EA confirmed that a followup to the wildly successful game will launch in 2017 and will include much requested new content. The only two pieces of content that I have seen regularly requested are a single player campaign and content regarding the new movies. If they put that into a new game alongside the standard iterative upgrades that normally follow sequels? I think we’ll have an even bigger success story on our hands.

Capital Games

They have been toiling away at their small studio working on the mobile game Star Wars – Galaxy of Heroes. They were shown off on stage as part of EA’s suite of upcoming Star Wars games so it appears that work will continue on the title into the future.

BioWare

BioWare has been working on The Old Republic for a few years now and shows no signs of slowing down. The MMORPG was a mild success when it involved a monthly fee, but once it went free to play it began to grow. There have been several expansions to the game so far, so it stands to reason there will be more. This is especially true when you consider the exploding popularity of Star Wars in general.

We still don’t have details for all of the games, and likely won’t for a few years, but it is very exciting to see this much energy being pushed into the franchise. Star Wars fans have had a rough time of things in the past. Its good to see they are having their day again.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Pixelkin.org as part of their E3 Coverage. They are another site that reviews games for families much like us. Check them out when you get a chance!

Electronic Arts held their E3 Play press event on June 12th, 2016. They brought a new trailer for Madden NFL 17 as well as information regarding significant updates to the game’s Franchise Mode.

The most significant update comes in the form of the “Play the Moments” feature. This works by giving players in Franchise mode the chance to take the helm at critical moments throughout the game, while simulating the rest. Focusing on critical red zone drives, key third down stops on defense, and late game scoring opportunities will keep the games moving and will let players complete a season over the course of a weekend.

Madden17PlaytheMoment

The updates aren’t all on the field though. There are improvements between games as well. Players will be able to use Franchise gameplanning to help tailor their strategy to help take advantage of their teams’ strengths or their opponents’ weaknesses. This influences practices in between, and play selection during, each game.

The Big Decisions system also allows players to take on the role of a General Manager for their favorite team and decide when to bring players back from injury, signing free agents, and even negotiating contracts with players. This is an unprecedented level of control for players and, if implemented correctly, might even give some insight into the decisions some of our favorite teams have made over the years.

These sure are big updates, but don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at this video from Mike and Mike (of ESPN Radio fame) where they lay it all out on the table.

The bottom line? Madden NFL 17 looks stunning and includes some highly sought after feature updates. This is going to be a great year to be a Madden fan!

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Electronic Arts held their EA Play event today as part of the E3 2016 event in LA. They made a series of announcements regarding games like Titanfall 2,  Battlefield I, and Mass Effect. They also made an announcement regarding a significant addition to FIFA 2017.

FIFA is one of the most successful video games in the world; fueled by the massive popularity of football worldwide. The series began back in 1993 on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and has grown by orders of magnitude since then. The newest game looks better than ever, but includes new features that just might make it bigger than ever.

Some of the technical updates are as follows:

Set Piece Rewrite – “New penalties, free kicks, corners, and throw-ins bring creativity and variety in every dead ball situation.”

Physical Play Overhaul – “U.S. Patent-Pending Pushback Technology changes the way players physically interact in every situation and introduces a new shielding system that gives fans more control when in possession or battling to win the ball.”

Active Intelligence System – “A brand new intelligence system gives players the ability to better define and classify space to make smarter decisions off the ball. Players will utilize several New Run Types like fake, direct, and stunted runs to stay even more active off the ball.”

New Attacking Techniques – “New options in attack give fans more ways to create chances and finish in front of goal. Send teammates in with a Threaded Through Pass and put exciting goals away with a Driven Finish or Downward Header.”

FIFA 2017 Alex HUNTER

Take the Journey with Alex Hunter – FIFA 2017

Those are excellent technical updates that fall well in line with previous iterative updates as the franchise has grown in the past. The most significant change, though, is the inclusion of “The Journey.” This is a game mode where players take on the role of Alex Hunter as he is drafted into the Premier league and begins his professional football career. Players will be in command as he plays games, makes plays, and deals with the trials and tribulations of his newfound success, wealth, and fame.

This appears to be a football themed take on the story of Frequency Vibrations in NBA 2016 and I am 100% ok with that. We will find out more details as the game gets closer to launch to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information about FIFA 2017 and the Journey.

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I wrote just the other day about how Nintendo would be releasing feature length animated films based on their properties. Hitting the publish button set me thinking about what Nintendo’s options were.

Needless to say I had thoughts and feelings. Take a look below to see what I thought about some of the options that came to mind. When you’re done reading about my thoughts I would love to hear yours in the comments!

Super Mario Bros.

Super Smash Brothers Characters - Mario

Mario – Super Mario Brothers

There is no sense holding this one till last for dramatic effect. Nintendo is apparently making “several” animated feature films so it is almost certain that a Mario movie will be among them. This is both exciting and terrifying in equal parts considering how terrible the Super Mario Bros. Movie was back in 1993.

Fortunately, movies (and just about everything else) have improved since those dark days so the likelihood of it being as terrible as the last go-round is very low.

All told the Mushroom Kingdom has the chance to be a very cool place to have a movie. It is full of vibrant colors, interesting landscapes, and odd critters. We’ve seen all sorts of crazy stuff in the various Mario games we’ve played so I can only imagine the stops Nintendo would pull out for a movie.

Metroid

Super Smash Brothers Characters - Samus Aran

Samus Aran – Metroid

Samus Aran is a cool character and her adventures definitely have a lot of potential. She explores interesting planets and battling space pirates!

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The main concern that I have, and the main reason why I think it won’t happen, is that Samus is a solitary character. Metroid games are about exploration while isolated from other characters. This doesn’t really do much to help make an interesting film.

With that said, Nintendo is expanding the Metroid lore through their new game Metroid Prime Federation Force so there might be something there that will make make a film possible.

The Legend of Zelda

Super Smash Brothers Characters - Link

Link – The Legend of Zelda

Nintendo would have to be very careful with a Legend of Zelda movie. The games have built a huge (and rabid) fan base over the years and they will not react well if it isn’t done correctly. To make matters even more complicated: it isn’t even super obvious what “correct” means for a Legend of Zelda movie.

It does have a lot of potential though. High fantasy is en vogue right now and most of it is geared towards adults. This would give families an option.

Animal Crossing

Super Smash Brothers Characters - Villager

Villager – Animal Crossing

This would just be adorable and would lend itself to just about any kind of story Nintendo wanted to tell. If Angry Birds can justify the script for a two hour feature film, then the charming characters from Animal Crossing can justify a trilogy.

What do you think about my suggestions? What suggestions do YOU have? Sound off in the comments!

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