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Historically, summer has been a slow time for video games. Publishers would often push their games off to the fall to have their games incorporated into the Holiday rush. That doesn’t happen so much anymore. There are so many video games being released each year that there really isn’t any dead time. This June is no exception.

Below is a list of some of the best video games being released to consoles and PC in the month of June. All of them are rated T for Teen or lower by the ESRB.

Silt 

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – June 1

Silt is a black and white, atmospheric adventure game that is a cross between Limbo and Song of the Sea. It’s rated T for Teen by the ESRB, but it has a creepy vibe that might shake some kids.

Card Shark 

Switch, PC – June 2

I didn’t think I would ever be writing about a game like this. Card Shark is a game set in 18th Century France and you play as a gambler trying to win games of cards to get access to the King. The key here is that you win by cheating.

Souldiers 

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – June 2



We’ll have to play it and find out if it is any good. But, Souldiers is the combination of Souls-like combat, Metroid-like map exploration, and RPG elements. You choose one of three classes and progress through a fantasy world full of traps, monsters, and other hazards. I’ve been looking forward to this one since it was announced and was pretty bummed when it was delayed from its original release date in May, but the time is almost here!

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy 

Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC – June 2

Unexplored 2 is an Open World, Roguelite RPG that is all about exploration. It has a gorgeous hand-drawn art style, snappy combat, and a massive world to explore.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords 

Switch – June 8

It’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan. The Disney + TV shows are (mostly) well-loved and there are plenty of great video games to play. Star Wars: KOTOR 2 is a blast from the past that is being pulled forward into the Switch for a new generation of players to enjoy. The only question that remains: Which side of the Force will you choose?

Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles 

Switch – June 10



Demon Slayer is a very popular anime right now so a video game adaptation was inevitable. This has already been available on PC, Playstation, and Xbox, and is now being brought to Switch. This one earns its T rating with anime blood splatter and some foul language. With that said, the action in the game is no better or worse than the anime so if your kids are watching the show (on Netflix) then you can feel comfortable letting them play the game.

Mario Strikers: Battle League – EFG Pick of the Month!!!

Switch – June 10

I have to be honest. I never thought I would see the day when Nintendo would release another Mario Soccer game, but here we are. Mario Strikers: Battle League is a 5 v 5 soccer game that features Mario characters and over-the-top action. It isn’t a traditional soccer game though. This is a battle soccer game with full contact, an electric fence, and most of the weapons from Mario Kart. Our family has been counting down the days since its announcement and it’s almost time to take the pitch!

Redout 2 

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – June 16

F-Zero and Wipeout are well-loved franchises that are mostly dead in the water right now. Redoubt 2 is a new entry in the Zero-G racing genre and it is FAST. If you liked those games in the past, or think your kids might, then this looks like a great option.

Fall Guys

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch – June 21 

Fall Guys is finally coming to Switch and Xbox! It’s been a huge hit on PlayStation and PC and I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t continue that success elsewhere. As an added bonus: It’s now a free-to-play game that everyone on those consoles can enjoy!

Wreckfest 

Switch – June 21 



Wreckfest is a destruction derby simulator with a whole bunch of game modes. There isn’t much to say about it beyond that. If you like the idea of crashing cars into each other, then this is a game to keep on your radar.

Sonic Origins 

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – June 23

This is a collection that includes Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Sonic CD in one package. They are remastered with improved visuals and animations and a bunch of other perks (like being able to play as either Tales or Knuckles in any of the games). The original versions of the games are included in the package as well.

Capcom Fighting Collection 

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – June 24

This is a massive collection of Capcom fighting games. The cynical among us might assume that This is just a collection of Street Fighter games, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The collection also includes a number of Dark Stalkers games (some of which were never released in North America), Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, as well as Cyberbots and Red Earth (two fighting games that were never even released on consoles before!) Fighting game fans should keep their eyes peeled for this one.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes 

Switch – June 24

Fire Emblem is an immensely popular strategy RPG series that, somehow, blends perfectly with the bombastic one vs many combat in Musou games. My oldest is a massive Fire Emblem: Three Houses fan and Three Hopes is presenting an alternate universe story with many of the same characters.

DNF Duel 

PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) – June 28

DNF Duel is a wild fighting game from ARC System Works where each of the characters are adventuring classes from a dungeon crawler like Ranger and Berseker as opposed to named characters.


What do you think? Are you picking any of these games up this June? 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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The Engaged Family Gaming team has the mission to provide information and support families who want to play video games with their kids (and board games too). We work hard to provide parents with the tools they need to make informed decisions about their children’s gaming. To facilitate this, we help parents who might not be “gamers” themselves learn to understand the games their children are playing and help them find great video games for their kids.

The “EFG Essentials” is a core collection of games we frequently recommend across different genres. The purpose of these essentials is to provide a starting point for families to engage with high-quality games. Below are our EFG Essential games for kids on the Nintendo Switch.

Minecraft

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Survival
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One

Minecraft is one of the best selling games of all time, and one of EFG’s family games of the last decade. It is so well known that I questioned whether or not to include it here. But, it is too important of a game to leave off. 

Minecraft holds a special place in a lot of kid’s hearts because it is so flexible. It can be so many different games for so many different people. It can be a survival game, a creative outlet, a multiplayer battle game, and more. It even ends up being the equivalent of a popular TV show considering how many hours of the game are consumed globally each month (Hint: It’s a lot.)

Super Mario Odyssey

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

Super Mario Odyssey is a great Mario game that just about anyone can play and enjoy. In this edition, you can throw your hat at enemies to take control of them and you take over their bodies to use their powers. There is plenty of content here and collecting all 999 power moons is a challenge that does not get old. This is a must-buy for all Nintendo Switch owners

Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Racing
  • Exclusive

The Mario Kart series has slowly grown to be the biggest game in their stable of exclusives. Ever iteration is met with thunderous excitement and delivers fun that the entire family can enjoy! Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive version of the very best that the franchise has to offer.

Every track is masterfully created (or recreated) and the music is jazzy and fun in all the right ways! Not only that, but the deluxe version includes the DLC that introduced Link and Isabelle to Mario Kart and made the case for the next game to just be called, “Nintendo Kart.”

This is the first game I recommend to families who buy the Nintendo Switch. It is an absolute must own.

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Action Role-playing
  • Exclusive

Long time EFG fans will know that this is one of my favorite games of all time and that means that the games above it have to be pretty significant in order to leave Breath of the Wild in the 4th spot. That isn’t to say that this isn’t one of, if not THE, best video games Nintendo has ever made though.

Breath of the Wild was our game of the year in 2017 and it faced stiff competition from Horizon: Zero Dawn.

It earned its place because it took the Legend of Zelda franchise in a bold new direction by eschewing the linear path of item collection and temple dungeon completion in favor of an open world that could be tackled in any order. Open world games are by no means new, but this was a welcome addition to Zelda and I can’t wait to see where they take it next.

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Puzzle Game
  • Exclusive

Captain toad Treasure Tracker is a simple puzzle game that can be challenging but is very accessible. This was originally a minigame in Super Mario 3D World that was so in-depth they made it into a full game. We love spending time solving these puzzles.

It’s a top-down puzzle platformer without a jump button. Your goal is to get to the star usually at the top of the level, so you have to figure out how to get to the top. Definitely a fun time for all Puzzle game fans.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Fighting Game
  • Exclusive

The phrase, “Let’s settle it in Smash!” is very common in our house, and I can’t imagine that it is uncommon elsewhere.

The Super Smash Bros. series has been around since the Nintendo 64 era and it continually grows in scope and in popularity. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lives up to his name and its fan base is huge as it is the best selling fighting game of all time. There are obviously members of the Super Smash Bros. community that prefer earlier games like Super Smash Bros. Melee. But, as far as we’re concerned it is the best game in the series.

It’s often difficult to recommend fighting games to anything other than fighting game fans. Smash is the exception I can recommend this game to anyone that owns a Nintendo switch and feels comfortable that they will enjoy it.

Super Mario Maker 2

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platformer +
  • Exclusive

Super Mario Maker 2 is one of the best creative tools for young and adult gamers alike. This game lets you create Super Mario levels using art styles and mechanics from across the history of Nintendo. It has a well-made tutorial that offers plenty of new ideas. Players can browse player-made content by individual creators or select an endless mode that selects levels based on difficulty. Super Mario Maker 2 is easily the best level creation experience for the Nintendo Switch.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Role-Playing
  • Exclusive

Pokemon Sword and Shield are great Pokemon games and are great RPGs. With a team of six Pokemon, you will travel the Galar Region on your quest to become the champion. Though the campaign is short the post-game content is enough to last hundreds of hours. You can catch all the Pokemon, make a competitive team, and participate in online tournaments, or you can battle your friends. 

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is one of the best 2d platformers available on the Nintendo Switch. This is actually a rerelease of the original game that was available on the Wii U. It has been polished, and a new gameplay mode featuring Funky Kong has been added to help make the game more accessible to newer/younger players. Funky Kong moves through levels on his surfboard so he doesn’t take damage from spikes and can hover while he comes down from jumps. 

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

One of the best games from the Wii U can now be played on your Nintendo Switch! This includes the original Super Mario 3D World and adds in a whole new adventure with the Bowser’s Fury add on. Bowser’s Fury is an open world type Mario Game 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.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Simulation
  • Exclusive

Animal Crossing New Horizons is a life sim game where you move to a deserted island with a group of animals. The goal is to spend time on your island making it beautiful, befriending other animals on the island, and earning money (bells). The available tasks change with the seasons, but there is always something to do. This is a must-have for Switch owners looking a relaxing game.

The Adventure Pals

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Platform Game
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC

The Adventure Pals from Armor Games is an absurd jaunt through a bizarre world where almost nothing makes sense. Turtles can do backflips. Whales complain about “hashtag body shaming.” The hero’s best friend, Sparkles the giraffe, can use his tongue like a propeller to slow their collective fall. The villain wants to turn everyone into hot dog monsters. Every single one of those sentences is true. And here’s one more: This game is just as fun as it is ridiculous.

Shovel Knight Treasure Trove

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Wii U, 3DS

This wily Kickstarter from 2013 is still alive and kicking. Shovel Knight does an amazing job of taking all of the things that we love about old school platformers like Mega Man, Duck Tales, and even Castlevania and smashing them together into a wonderful, cohesive whole.

Shovel Knight is a fun protagonist whose adventures are silly more often than not, but packs some serious challenge. The other games in the treasure trove are all wonderful and feature different knights from the first game in their own wild adventures; each with their own mechanics and stories.

It’s hard to find a better value than Shovel Knight Treasure Trove and it is easy to recommend it to anyone, especially folks looking for an old school challenge!

Super Mario Party

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Party Game
  • Exclusive

The most recent update to the Mario Party franchise brings back to 4-player board game mode that has been so beloved as well as introducing a 2 vs 2 mode with grid based maps.  You can test your skills against the others in your living room as well as see how you stack up against others across the globe in the new Online Marathon feature.  Nintendo has also leveraged the ability to link two Nintendo Switch systems side by side on a table to play arena games or mini baseball.  This is going to be the party game that you want for game night.

Snipperclips

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Puzzle Game
  • Exclusive

Snipperclips is a two-player puzzle game where players each take on the role of different shapes. The goal is to overlap parts of each other’s “bodies” and “snip” off the overlapping pieces. This will let you complete challenges like creating a bowl-like shape to carry a ball across a playing field. This is a fully cooperative experience that is unlike anything else that you’ve seen before. 

Rocket League

  • ESRB Rating:E
  • Sports game
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Rocket League is, quite literally, soccer as played by rocket-powered vehicles. It launched in in 2015 to great fanfare and has only grown as they added more game-modes like “hockey” and “basketball”

This is a great game to play (and watch) because of how wild the matches can be. There is just something exciting about watching race cars flying around a track and crashing into a massive steel ball and trying to score a goal. 

The Messenger

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Platform Game
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Simply put… The Messenger is a modern response to the Ninja Gaiden series from the NES era. Sabotage Studio is a team full of people who love that game and have gone out of their way to show their reverence in game form.

It isn’t an easy game, but the experience is well worth the effort. The soundtrack alone is worth spending time with the game. But, exploring the different levels AND playing with time travel mechanics are rewarding.

This is definitely a game that needs to be on your radar.

Stardew Valley

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Farming Simulator / RPG
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mobile
Click the picture to purchase on the online Switch Store.

Stardew Valley is a remarkable game. It is a farming and life simulator where you play as a younger person who inherits a relative’s run-down farm. You need to build it up, explore the surrounding wilderness, meet people, get married, etc. It is a wildly engaging game that has been a sensation since it’s release. This is a great game to relax with. 

Tetris 99

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Puzzle Game
  • Exclusive

Tetris is an all time classic, but Tetris 99 surprised us by adding in a HECTIC battle royale mode. You play Tetris against 99 other players in a frantic race for survival. 

I have spent hours playing this game and building my Tetris skills. Everything moves at a desperate pace so the games move very quickly as well. Its definitely worth a look. 

Dragon Quest Builders 2

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Role-Playing
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC

The Dragon Quest Builders series paints itself in a much lighter tone than the Dragon Quest series.  Specifically, Dragon Quest Builders 2 integrates co-op multiplayer that shows promise for both epic exploration, combat, and construction to put it in league with Minecraft in terms of its possibilities. Unlike Minecraft though, the story of Dragon Quest Builders 2 is meant to also serve as a tutorial and narrative focus for its block based construction.  This is in contrast to the much more open world that is traditional Minecraft. The play dynamic will give some structure to keep the sprawling options presented in a meaningful way and keep the more casual fan engaged in the gameplay.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

Buy Kirby and the Forgotten Land on Amazon.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is, without question, the best game in the franchise. This time around Kirby takes his adventure into 3D and it is a LOT of fun. When it was first revealed everyone assumed that it was going to be an open-world game like Breath of the Wild. It becomes clear very quickly that it shares more in common with Super Mario Odyssey. That’s not a bad thing though! Each level in Forgotten land is beautifully crafted with all manner of secrets to find and challenges to complete.

Kirby games have always been on the easy side and Forgotten Land is no different. It’s perfect for younger kids who are easing into gaming.

Pokemon Legends Arceus

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

Buy Pokemon Legends Arceus on Amazon.

Pokemon games have shared the same formula for twenty-five years. Arceus bucks that trend by taking players back in time within the Pokemon Universe and serving up an action game. Players go on a wild adventure in the ancient Hisui region during a time before Pokemon trainers were common. Some might think that a break from the norm would be a problem, but Arceus ends up being a refreshing change of pace for longtime fans.

The core gameplay loop in Arceus is very fun. You venture into one of several different biomes within the region and run around capturing pokemon. You do this by sneaking up on them in tall grass and throwing pokeballs. You can even do it on the run! Once you run out of Pokeballs (or your bags are filled up with other materials) you return to base to get credit for the work you have done. Then you resupply and head back out! It’s a great experience.

Yoshi’s Crafted World

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

After Yoshi’s Wooly World, Nintendo has done it again and added a cute aesthetic to a Yoshi’s Island game. This time around the levels look like a child made them out of craft supplies including cardboard, paperclips, paper cups, and tape. While you traverse the levels, there are the typical Yoshi collectibles, hearts, flowers, and red coins. The collectibles are what really make this game a challenge. You can go through the levels, or you can try and collect everything. At certain points during the game, you will need to replay levels to search for certain items in the background and foreground. Each level also has an opposite view where you much search for a Poochy puppy. While the game can be tedious with replaying levels, sometimes multiple times with different objectives, this is a great stepping off point for your young children to play a platformer.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition S

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Role-Playing
  • Also Available On: PS4, PC

Dragon Quest XI is the most recent edition to an ongoing series of role playing games by Square Enix. The series is known for the art style of Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball.  Dragon Quest is a series that consistently comes out with a reliable turn-based combat system that has seen nothing but simple improvements. 

Its place as an EFG essentials is based on its ease of entry in an ongoing, fantasy story. The fantasy elements that many other games work off of got their start here with a chosen warrior of light and a band of friends and heroes rally to fight the darkness. 

Dragon Quest has had a consistent following in Japan since its first incarnation on the NES in the 1980’s. That following was earned by creating a game as much storybook as turn/quest based game.

Luigi’s Mansion 3

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Action Adventure
  • Exclusive

Luigi doesn’t get the spotlight very often. That honor is normally reserved for his brother Mario. The Luigi’s Mansion series is the exception. These spooky adventures feature Luigi while he tries to rescue his lost brother from King Boo. Luigi’s Mansion 3 and includes a lot more variety in the environments than previous editions because it takes place in a massive haunted hotel. This will be a great game for kids who love to explore and solve puzzles. (Note: This game is definitely more silly than it is spooky so don’t be super concerned about kids getting scared.)

Addendum: Fortnite

At this point almost every kid on Earth has played Fortnite. But, we wanted to include it here for the sake of completion. It is a worthy recommendation though. Fortnite is huge. It is a great alternative for more mature shooters since it there is no blood and most of the action is over the top and silly as opposed to violent.


The EFG Essentials are reviewed and updated every few months to make sure we have the most current information for our readers. Last updated on 08/01/2021.


The EFG Essential Guide Collections

Check out our other Essentials Guides for great collections of games!

https://engagedfamilygaming.com/parent-resources/efg-essentials-great-video-games-for-kids-on-xbox-one/

https://engagedfamilygaming.com/parent-resources/efg-essentials-great-video-games-for-kids-on-ps4/

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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Nintendo announced the voice cast for the upcoming Super Mario Bros. animated film during the September Nintendo Direct. It will release in theatres on December 21st, 2022 in partnership with Illumination (The company behind the Secret Life of Pets and the Minions).

The Announcement Video

Miyamoto was on hand to announce the voice cast. Video Source: IGN YouTube

The Cast

The full cast list that has been announced so far is below including links to their respective IMDB pages is below.

Anya Taylor-Joy

Anya will be immediately recognizable as the lead from the Netflix show Queen’s Gambit. I’ll admit. I didn’t give this casting choice a second thought until I watched clips from her role as Gina Gray in Peaky Blinders. I felt like she talked more with her facial expressions and her hands in Queen’s Gambit (which you obviously can’t do while voice-acting). I’m not worried at all after watching her play Gina. It’s going to be fun to watch her play off of Bowser (or at least I assume it will be Bowser. We have no idea what the plot details are).

Princess Peach (voice)
Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt needs no introduction, but it is worth remembering that he has done voice work before. He played Emmet in both LEGO movies.
Mario (voice)
Jack Black

Jack Black’s voice is immediately recognizable and will do a wonderful job bringing Bowser to life. Remember that Bowser is often played off as a somewhat childish and incompetent villain while also being a giant dragon… turtle…. thing. This is perfect casting.
Bowser (voice)
Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen doesn’t often play rules that are suitable for kids. But, He can play the lead role well. If Nintendo is hoping to spin off Donkey Kong movies (which they would be foolish not to), then Seth is a good call.
Donkey Kong (voice)
Keegan-Michael Key

Obama’s Anger Translator is playing Toad.

That’s all I need to say about this.

Toad (voice)
Charlie Day

I didn’t know that I wanted to see Chris Pratt and Charlie Day play off of one another. But I do. I really really do.
Luigi (voice)
Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen is one of my favorite character actor’s from SNL. He does a great job being a guy who is a little out of touch with things… and I can’t wait to see what they do with Cranky Kong.
Cranky Kong (voice)
Kevin Michael Richardson

Kamek is the wizard Koopa that is often seen as a parental figure for Bowser. I never imagined one to have such a deep voice. But, I would listen to Kevin Michael Richardson read the phone book. So this sounds great to me.
Kamek (voice)
Sebastian Maniscalco

I guess they decided to make Spike Italian. Sure! Sounds great to me!
Spike (voice)
Charles Martinet

Charles Martinet has been the voice of Mario for years. So he is being rightfully included in the voice cast as a cameo. I imagine that it will be somewhat like the cameos that Stan Lee did in Marvel movies before his, unfortunate, passing.
(voice)

The Internet Sure Did Have “Feelings” About Chris Pratt

The internet erupted with opinions the second the announcements were made. The biggest rift however was between commenters who had opinions about Chris Pratt and his casting as Super Mario.

The crowd speaking out against him is divided into two camps.

The first group is speaking out against him because of his social views. He is a member of a church that has taken some VERY strong Anti-LGBTQ stances. He hasn’t spoken out in support of these beliefs, but he hasn’t exactly spoken out against them either. I, personally, don’t know what’s going on inside his head. And I have a difficult time judging him for things he hasn’t said, but I can’t blame people who feel that way. Either way, it definitely explains some of the outcries.

The second major group is one that is angry that Nintendo didn’t choose Charles Martinet to be the voice of Mario in the movie since he has been the voice of the character for decades in the video games. I can’t agree with this at all. I love Charles’s work. He has provided the voice for Mario for my entire life. HOWEVER, Mario doesn’t talk in his games. He emotes. He expresses joy, frustration, fear, and excitement. I cannot IMAGINE listening to him actually speak in the Mario accent for 2 hours or more. I think it might actually hurt.

Why Cast Celebrities At All?

I’ve seen this argument pop up online as well and I just find it odd that Super Mario Bros is where we draw the line? This has been done for decades. Major Hollywood studios are far too risk-averse to cast voice actors who are, essentially, no names with the larger public.

Go and test it. Ask on Facebook if any of your friends know who Charles Martinet is. Then do the same with Chris Pratt. The studio’s decision will be pretty clear at this point.

What do you think? Sounds off in the comments.

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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The Nintendo Switch is wildly popular, and Nintendo is pairing it with an online subscription service similar to both Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus. Their service, called Nintendo Switch Online, launched in the fall of 2018 and is a great value for families looking to get more out of their Switch experience. 

The Pitch

Nintendo Switch Online is an annual subscription service that is required into order to play Nintendo Switch games like Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online. It also includes bonus features like access to cloud saves, and access to a suite of NES and SNES games. Subscribers also get access to exclusive sales offers and Switch online exclusive games like Tetris 99. 

Nintendo Switch Online is an annual subscription service that is required into order to play Nintendo Switch games like Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online. It also includes bonus features like access to cloud saves, and access to a suite of NES and SNES games. Subscribers also get access to exclusive sales offers and Switch online exclusive games like Tetris 99. 

How Does it Work? 

Nintendo Switch Online is a subscription based service that can be purchased annually, or in smaller increments. The service needs to be maintained in order to continue the benefits and maintain access to the features. 

The service includes: 

Online Play – Online multiplayer gaming using the Nintendo Switch Online platform

NES and SNES – Nintendo Switch Online – Nintendo Switch Online members have access to curated library of more than 60 NES and Super NES classic games. The collection initially only includes NES games, but was updated a year later to include SNES titles. The curated library of games will grow over time. These games also include online competitive/cooperative play with friends. Certain games (like Super Mario Bros.) even include the ability to virtually pass the controller back and forth.

Save Data Cloud – Subscribers can back up their save game data to the cloud. This makes it easier to retrieve their save data if they lose their Switch or start to use a new one. It is worth mentioning that some games aren’t compatible with cloud saving. The most noteworthy examples are Pokemon Sword and Shield and the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons. 

Smartphone App – Nintendo has released a smartphone app (available for iOS and Android). It syncs with the subscriber’s Nintendo account and includes some minor enhancements for different Switch games. You can also use it to use voice chat with your Nintendo friends as you play. (Certain games, like Fortnite, circumvent Nintendo’s app and allow voice chat through the game software itself. This isn’t universal though.)

Special Offers – Subscribers will have access to exclusive sales and product offerings. They have included controllers, discount game vouchers, and even an exclusive game (Tetris 99). 

How Much Does it Cost?

Nintendo Switch Online can be purchased annually, quarterly, or monthly. The service also has a 7 day free trial. 

Annual Subscription: $19.99

3 Month Subscription: $7.99

1 Month Subscription: $3.99

Nintendo Switch Online also has a Family Membership option where up to 8 Nintendo Accounts can share an online subscription for $34.99 annually. 

Advice

This service is a great value for families. The cost is relatively low at $20 a year and it includes a wide array of free games to play.

If your kids aren’t interested in the NES/SNES games and only play Fortnite, then this is a service you can likely avoid. Fortnite doesn’t require an active subscription to play.

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

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 set itself apart in the gaming console world by focusing on accessibility and family games. Features have been added to some games to make them more approachable for younger and inexperienced gamers. The Nintendo library includes many games rated E, but that does not tell you the difficulty rather it only is a measure of the content. The EFG Staff has put together a list of games that are more approachable to young gamers, specifically those who are beginning readers.

Games with Accessibility Features

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey is one of the best switch games available. Mario is well known and his games are well-loved

Odyssey takes steps to be more accessible by including an assist mode that tells you where to go and gives you more health. One of our editor’s sons played through the game and finished it at around age five. some of the platforming challenges were difficult, but since there were no game overs he never felt defeated. 

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 

Mario Kart is on this list for two reasons. First, it is an amazing game that everyone will want to play together. Second, unlike past Mario Kart games (I’m looking at you Mario Kart Wii) it has accessibility options that make the game much easier to play. You can turn on an Auto Accelerate, which makes it so you don’t have to hold down the A button to go. Having to hold a button the whole time can be very hard for small hands. Additionally, you can turn on auto-steering. This feature makes it so you cannot go off-road, and it keeps you facing forward. You can have both of these on at once or choose one.

Great Games With Reading Help Required

Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu/ Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee

Kids everywhere recognize Pokémon, with Pikachu and Eevee as some of the most well known. After Pokémon Go had such wide popularity, Nintendo took the feel of that and turned it into a console game. The quests are simple, and the game allows players to just run around, explore, and catch Pokémon. Unlike other Pokémon games, players do not battle their Pokémon to catch them. Instead, they can befriend them by feeding them berries, making them easier to catch with Pokeballs.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an interesting beast. It is perfect from a content perspective, but the game can be challenging depending on your personal goal within the game. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is about making a villager and building a community on a deserted island. You explore collect bugs and decorate. There is no real conflict in the game. All of the characters are friendly, anthropomorphic animals. Each day the player is given a small list of tasks to do. This is a great game to play in short bursts and still feel like you accomplished something. It also teaches kids about lists of tasks by rewarding them for completing said tasks each day.

The real challenge is going to come if more than one person wants to play the game. Each Switch as One island and everyone on that switch shares it; meaning if your five-year-old places a tree in front of your house, the tree will be there when you log on. This means that in order to progress everyone will need to work together. This can be challenging when you have players of different age groups.

Another challenge is that only one player gets to make decisions about the island. That happens to be the first player. One family in the EFG team had their 7 year old start the game before her mother. Due to the design of the game, it meant the 7 year old was the one making decisions and getting to experience the “story” Her mom was frustrated by not being able to do things with the island decision wise and ended up having to log on to 7 year old’s account to make progress the island. The lessons learned have been an asset to other families. Our advice it to carefully plan who is the first one to start Animal Crossing New Horizon. With careful planning the who family can enjoy playing on their island.

Games with Online Play

Nintendo does a great job to try and make their online game experiences as family-friendly as possible. Even with the best precautions, there is always a chance something inappropriate could be missed by the filters. Our recommendation is to just be aware that the filters are not flawless and to proceed with online play with that understanding. The following games have online play as a core component, but all these games have some aspects which can also be played offline.

Minecraft

Any five year old who has had exposure to older kids or youtube will be exposed to minecraft. The survival mode will be too challenging for most, but ht ecreative mode will be just right. The creative mode in minecraft makes you invincible lets you fly and gives you unlimited resources of any typee, this turns minecraft into a sandbox where you can build anything that your iomaginatiuon can cook up..Since all of the blocks in minecraft are the same size minecraft is a great place to learn about patterns and 3 dimensional shapes.

Super Mario Maker 2

Activate creativity by creating your own Mario levels from different Mario editions in this “sandbox” game. There are multiple modes of play including: Make and Play your own Mario Levels, Make Together (on the same screen),Play Together (on the same Switch), Story Mode, Online: Share and Download levels, plus compete or cooperate online too. For younger gamers the story mode, make and play your own levels, and play together are the best starting places. Those are also the safest, since players do not interact with any strangers.

Arms

Fighting games that are family friendly can be extremely hard to find. Arms portrays fighting in a lighthearted and approachable way for players of all ages. There are many different combinations of buttons and motions with the joycons to execute the different fighting moves. While the game walks you through each move once, players can go back and look up moves as they get more comfortable. This is a game that a novice (such as our board game editor ) or young gamer can jump right in an play.

Splatoon2

Splatoon 2 is a shooter that even young kids can play. The Squid kids (Inklings)shoot paint and try to cover the largest area. This competitive game has many new tools that open up the more you play and level up. Additionally, there is the option to play locally or online. This is one that anyone can jump in and play. The local play is a great way to get comfortable with the controls before joining a game online and participating in a turf war.


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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An update will be coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons that will, FINALLY, allow the transfer of save data between Nintendo Switch Systems. The update is coming on November 19, 2020, and will include two key components: Entire Island Transfers and Resident Moves.

Entire Island Transfer

The update will all players to transfer the entire island ( along with all residents on it) to a new Nintendo Switch system. The island itself along with all progress and customizations, animal neighbors, and the island resident representative will be moved to the new Switch.

This will help families who are replacing a Nintendo Switch. But, make note that you need to have access to both the original system and the new system to do the island transfer. So make sure to do that before you get rid of the old system.

Resident Move (Single Player Transfer)

This announcement was a big surprise. The resident move feature will allow anyone, except the Island Representative, to move their resident and almost all of their progress onto a new island. This will allow all of the families who have been awkwardly sharing an Animal CrossingL New Horizons island to FINALLY play separately.

The things that will transfer to the new system are:

  • The resident
  • The resident’s house
  • Most items the resident is holding
  • Most items the resident has in storage

This is going to be a great help for families that want to move one player onto a new Nintendo Switch.

There are two important caveats:

  1. If there is already an island populated on the new system, then the resident you are transferring will move to that island. In that case, all of that resident’s island progress and their animal neighbors will remain on the original Nintendo Switch.
    1. You must have access to both the original system and the new system to use this feature.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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The free Holiday update is on its way into Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Below is a list of the major features that will be available in Animal Crossing starting November 19th.

Turkey Day

On Turkey Day, which will take place this year on Nov. 26, the first-class chef Franklin will arrive and host a gathering in the plaza. You can help Franklin collect ingredients to go in the dishes that will be on display in the plaza. You can even receive a gift from Franklin as a thank you for helping him cook.

The United States celebrates Thanksgiving on the 26th of November, however a lot of families are forgoing their usual celebrations as a result of the ongoing pandemic. I have a feeling that the Animal Crossing Turkey Day update will be a welcome distraction for a lot of families this year.

Toy Day

It’s the time of the year when island residents rejoice … The month of Toy Day is nearly at hand! You might notice your island and plaza gradually becoming more festive with holiday-themed decorations over the coming weeks.*** Keep an eye out for decorated trees, too. Shaking these may drop ornaments which will allow you to craft holiday furniture recipes. From Dec. 1 to Dec. 25, you’ll be able to purchase toys from Nook’s Cranny and find holiday-themed clothing at the Able Sisters shop. When it’s officially Toy Day on Dec. 24, Jingle will pay a special visit to your island to spread holiday cheer. If you help him deliver presents, you’ll also receive a gift!

Toy Day is Animal Crossing Christmas. This event does extend until Christmas day so kids who get their game on Christmas day will be able to take part in some of the fun!

Reactions and Hairstyles 

Nine new Reactions will be available with this update, which can be obtained by redeeming Nook Miles at the Nook Stop terminal located in Resident Services. Six new hairstyle options can also be acquired by redeeming Nook Miles, so get ready to express yourself and let your personality shine!

The new reactions include the ability to sit down. That’s a big deal. (It’s true.)

Home Storage Upgrade 

If you’ve expanded your in-game home to its largest size and paid off your debt, you’ll now be able to apply for a home storage expansion by speaking to Tom Nook at Resident Services. Congrats on achieving the next level of home ownership. This will expand your home storage to 2400 slots. Think of all the items you can now store and access from the comfort of your island home!

A lot of players struggle with storage over time (I know I do). This gives players a way to help alleviate that (at least for the time being). It also gives players a reason to pay off their final loan.

Island and Resident Data Transfers 

Two new features are arriving to offer expanded flexibility for your island and resident data. The whole island transfer feature will enable you to move your user save data, along with the island itself and all the residents, to another system. This service will be facilitated by the free Island Transfer Tool app in Nintendo eShop. For players who are not the island’s Resident Representative, a single-player transfer feature allows you to transfer resident data to another system. This includes your resident’s name, appearance and equipment, along with your inventory, home and storage. Additional details about the benefits and limitations of these new data transfer services can be found at https://animal-crossing.com/new-horizons/#transfer.

This is a very, very big deal for families who are looking to get players who have been awkwardly sharing an Animal Crossing: New Horizons island.

EFG has an article with more details about Island and resident data transfers here.

Seasonal Items to Celebrate New Year’s Eve 

New seasonal items will be available starting Dec. 1 at Nook Stop. Between Dec. 26 and Dec. 31, there will also be several festive items to commemorate New Year’s Eve. In addition to the update content, you can look forward to a countdown event starting at 7 p.m. on Dec. 31. With Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can meet in-game to ring in the new year with friends, family and your island residents!

New Years Eve is coming and Animal Crossing is going to help us celebrate the end of 2020 (thank goodness).

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!


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We’ve been waiting a long time for a proper Nintendo Direct. It looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer, but we DID get a big news drop with the release of a Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct. It was 16 minutes long and was loaded with Super Mario Bros. news.

The Video

The Video Games

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

This was the biggest announcement from the direct. It isn’t perfect, but its a great package that includes Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy (just the first one). It will only be available for a handful of months so you’ll want to make sure you pick it up.

Optimized versions of 3D Mario games Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy are coming to Nintendo Switch in one package. In addition to having higher resolutions than their original versions, the games have been optimized for a smooth gameplay experience on Nintendo Switch. Super Mario 3D All-Stars also includes an in-game music-player mode to play the music and songs from all three games. Players can also listen to music on their Nintendo Switch systems when the screen is off. A limited production of Super Mario 3D All-Stars launches exclusively for the Nintendo Switch family of systems on Sept. 18 and will be available until approximately March 31, 2021.

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

I have no idea how to feel about this. I think it looks amazing. This is the evolution of the toys-to-life genre that we needed. But, I’m not sure how well it will work. This is a remote controlled car that you control with your Switch. You can theoretically build tracks and race Koopa kids on those tracks. It all sounds amazing, but I’m going to need to see this in person before I’m sold.

Created in partnership with Velan Studios, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit brings the fun of the Mario Kart series into the real world by using a Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite** system to race against opponents using a physical Kart. The physical Kart responds to boosts in-game and in the real world, stops when hit with an item and can be affected in different ways depending on the race. Players place gates to create a custom course layout in their home, where the only limit is their imagination. Race against Koopalings in Grand Prix, unlock a variety of course customizations and costumes for Mario or Luigi, and play with up to four players in local multiplayer mode.*** Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, which is available in a Mario Set or Luigi Set, launches on Oct. 16 at a suggested retail price of $99.99.

Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros.

This is cute. It’s a handheld device that includes, essentially, a new version of Super Mario Bros. There are 35 easter eggs and tweaks added to the game. I don’t think this will be worth the $49.99 for anyone but the most hardcore collectors, but this is neat to look at.

This new collectible device is inspired by the original Game & Watch systems first released in 1980. The original handheld device included a game, and could also be used as a watch to tell time. The original Game & Watch series sold more than 43 million worldwide. Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. features a modern +Control Pad. In addition to playing classic games Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2) and a special version of Ball with a Mario makeover, Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. also functions as a clock, with 35 little touches to discover, including some guest appearances from Mario’s friends and foes. Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. launches on Nov. 13 at a suggested retail price of $49.99.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

Super Mario 3D World has been overlooked for years because it came out for a console that no one owned (The Wii U). I’ve been waiting for a port since the Switch launched because it could breathe new life into it. You don’t want to sleep on this game. It is an amazing 3d platformer and a great party game. Our kids spent a lot of time playing it on the Wii U and we’re excited to give it another go with new content.

Multiplayer mayhem pounces onto Nintendo Switch! This enhanced of Super Mario 3D World, which originally launched for the Wii U system, features co-op gameplay both online* and through local multiplayer in a variety of creative levels. Additional details about what new things this game has to offer will be revealed later. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury launches for Nintendo Switch on Feb. 12, 2021. New amiibo figures Cat Mario and Cat Peach will also be released at the same time as the game.

Super Mario Bros. 35

Tetris 99 is one of my favorite games of the last few years. I never thought I would be a battle royale fan, but it turns out that I am a sucker for a unique way of applying the genre. Nintendo is releasing another battle royale version of an NES classic on October 1st with Super Mario Bros. 35. Players will play levels that START like they are from Super Mario Bros. on the NES against 34 other players. Defeating enemies sends them to your opponent’s screens. Racing through levels increases your chances of winning. This sounds like it is going to be glorious chaos. The only potential downside is that this is going to be a limited experience. The game will be going away on March 31, 2021.

Welcome to Super Mario Bros. … with 35 players! In this competitive online battle game, 35 players will compete to be the last Mario standing … or running. Enemies defeated will be sent to other players’ courses, but that also works the other way around! Players can activate special items to try and outpace their opponents. Super Mario Bros. 35 launches on Oct. 1 as a digital-only game exclusive to Nintendo Switch Online members.* The game will be playable until March 31, 2021.

Super Mario All-Stars

This is one of the best collections of games ever made. Its certainly the best SNES cartridge ever released. Bringing it to the Switch Online games list is pretty great idea. Its already available to subscribers so go… drop what you’re doing and play!

The classic Super NES game that includes upgraded versions of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3 with enhanced 16-bit graphics is joining the catalog of games available with Nintendo Switch Online … later today!*

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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