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2015 was an excellent year for family gaming. There was no shortage of games for our kids to play at any point in the year, but five games really stood out as the very best that 2015 had to offer.

The Engaged Family Gaming Game of the Year for 2015




I have to admit that I didn’t think much of Splatoon when it was announced. I had serious doubts that Nintendo would be able to deliver on a purely multiplayer shooter. I remember telling my wife that I was going to play the test fire so I could write about it, and an hour later I was sold. The controls were intuitive, the art style was adorable, and I could not wait to jump into the game and mess around.

Several hundred hours later our family has spent many evenings passing the controller back between the all-together-too-short and yet not-long-enough three minute matches. We found ourselves scheduling family game time during the regular Splatfests. I can’t remember another game convincing anyone in our family gaming on a schedule besides WoW (and that isn’t looked on fondly by my wife).

At the end of it all Splatoon was the clear winner. We are sad to hear that Nintendo is no longer going to support it with DLC or new maps, but we are looking forward to the potential for paid DLC and the inevitable sequel. I mean… Spla2n is just too obvious.

Honorable mentions

Ori and the Blind Forest


Ori and the Blind Forest is both hauntingly beautiful and maddeningly frustrating. The story and the challenging platforming can BOTH make you shed tears, but the ultimate payoff as you progress and learn to navigate the gorgeous world is worth every second.

This is not a game for the youngest among us, but if you have an older child who has mastered other platformers and is looking for a challenge, then this is an awesome (and inexpensive) option!

Super Mario Maker


A lot of the reason I share video games with my children is that I want them to experience some of the same joys that I did when I was a kid. The Super Mario Bros. series is such a huge part of that nostalgia factor that Super Mario Maker was almost guaranteed to find its way onto my Games of the Year list. The fact that it executes on the promise of delivering a near infinite number of Mario levels to play sealed the deal.

If I’m being honest, the only thing that kept Super Mario Maker out of the top spot is that it is still far too difficult to discover new and interesting levels that aren’t punishingly hard.


Star Wars Battlefront


2015 was the year Star Wars came back (for many of the people who thought it was gone in the first place). Episode VII is breaking records left and right and Star Wars Battlefront is happily riding that wave of excitement and nostalgia all the way to the bank (12 million copies have been sold so far!)

The good news is that it isn’t all about sales numbers and nostalgia. Star Wars Battlefront is a perfectly accessible shooter that gives fans of the series a chance to inhabit a rebel or storm trooper in several famous Star Wars locales and battles

This one caught us off guard as well, but we loves every second we spent playing it and can’t wait to see what else EA and DICE have in store.


Yo Kai Watch


Anyone who calls Yo Kai Watch the “Pokemon Killer” doesn’t really understand the lasting power of the Pokemon brand, but that doesn’t mean that Yo Kai Watch is a bad game; far from it.
The main complaint against Yo Kai Watch is the combat system where your critters attack on their own. This leaves you to manage them in different ways by activating super moves and healing them with items. I felt like the battle system was similar to the one employed in Final Fantasy XIII. I was given a break from micromanaging my party and left to control the ebb and flow of the battle. This is a VERY different experience that some people simply do not like, but it is a novel approach to a role playing game that is not utilized often. The bottom line? This is a great game that should not be overlooked. 

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The Game Awards took place on Thursday December 3rd, 2015. The week before my son and I recorded a podcast where we both made our predictions regarding all of the game related awards that were given out. Below are the results of the awards as well as our scoring! Our competition was much more competitive than we expected it to be!

Game of the Year

  • WINNER: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Bloodborne
  • Fallout 4
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Super Mario Maker

Stephen’s Prediction: Fallout 4

Evan’s Prediction: Super Mario Maker

Score: 0-0

Developer of the Year

  • WINNER: CD Projekt Red
  • From Software
  • Kojima Productions
  • Nintendo
  • Bethesda Game Studios

Stephen’s Prediction: Nintendo

Evan’s Prediction: Nintendo

Score: 0-0

Best Independent Game

  • Axiom Verge
  • Her Story
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • WINNER: Rocket League
  • Undertale

Stephen’s Prediction: Rocket League

Evan’s Prediction: Ori and the Blind Forest

Score: 1-0

Best Mobile/Handheld Game

  • Downwell
  • Fallout Shelter
  • WINNER: Lara Croft Go
  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
  • Pac-Man 256

Stephen’s Prediction: Fallout Shelter

Evan’s Prediction: nil (We missed this one on the podcast! Whoops!)

Score: 1-0

Best Narrative

  • WINNER: Her Story
  • Life Is Strange
  • Tales From The Borderlands
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Until Dawn

Stephen’s Prediction: The Witcher 3

Evan’s Prediction: Tales from the Borderlands

Score: 1-0

Best Art Direction

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Bloodborne
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • WINNER: Ori and the Blind Forest
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Stephen’s Prediction: Ori and the Blind Forest

Evan’s Prediction: Ori and the Blind Forest

Score: 2-1

Best Score/Soundtrack

  • Fallout 4
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • WINNER: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Stephen’s Prediction: Ori and the Blind Forest

Evan’s Prediction:Ori and the Blind Forest

Score: 2-1

Best Performance

  • Ashly Burch as Chloe Price (Life is Strange)
  • Camilla Luddington as Lara Croft (Rise of the Tomb Raider)
  • Doug Cockle as Geralt (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt)
  • Mark Hamill as The Joker (Batman: Arkham Knight)
  • WINNER: Viva Seifert (Her Story)

Stephen’s Prediction: Mark Hamill

Evan’s Prediction: Camilla Luddington

Score: 2-1

Games for Impact Award

  • Cibele (Nina Freeman)
  • Her Story (Sam Barlow)
  • WINNER: Life Is Strange (DONTNOD Entertainment / Square Enix)
  • Sunset (Tale of Tales)
  • Undertale (tobyfox)

Stephen’s Prediction: Her Story

Evan’s Prediction: Undertale

Score: 2-1

Best Shooter

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
  • Destiny: The Taken King
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • WINNER: Splatoon
  • Star Wars Battlefront

Stephen’s Prediction: Call of Duty Black Ops 3

Evan’s Prediction: Splatoon

Score: 2-2

Best Action/Adventure Game

  • Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • WINNER: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider

Stephen’s Prediction: Rise of the Tomb Raider

Evan’s Prediction: Ori and the Blind Forest

Score: 2-2

Best Role Playing Game

  • Bloodborne
  • Fallout 4
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • WINNER:The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Undertale

Stephen’s Prediction: Fallout 4

Evan’s Prediction: The Witcher 3

Score: 2-3

Best Fighting Game

  • Guilty Gear Xrd
  • WINNER: Mortal Kombat X
  • Rise of Incarnates
  • Rising Thunder

Stephen’s Prediction: Mortal Kombat X

Evan’s Prediction: Rising Thunder

Score – 3-3

Best Family Game

  • Disney Infinity 3.0
  • Lego Dimensions
  • Skylanders: SuperChargers
  • Splatoon
  • WINNER: Super Mario Maker

Stephen’s Prediction: LEGO Dimensions

Evan’s Prediction: Skylanders Superchargers

Score: 3-3

Best Sports/Racing Game

  • FIFA 16
  • Forza Motorsport 6
  • NBA 2K16
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2016
  • WINNER: Rocket League

Stephen’s Prediction: NBA2K16

Evan’s Prediction: NBA2K16

Score: 3-3

Best Multiplayer

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
  • Destiny: The Taken King
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Rocket League
  • WINNER: Splatoon

Stephen’s Prediction: Rocket League

Evan’s Prediction: Splatoon

Score: 3-4

Most Anticipated Game

  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • WINNER: No Man’s Sky
  • Quantum Break
  • The Last Guardian
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Stephen’s Prediction: No Man’s Sky

Evan’s Prediction: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Score: 4-4


As you can see, the final score ended in a tie!  Neither of us are sure if that means he did very well or if I did super bad, but it is probably a little of both. What do you think? Did any of your favorites win an award? Sound off in the comments!

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Black Friday 2015 is almost upon us and now is the time to into our war rooms and devise our shopping plans.

I have delved into the flyers for the major video game retailers and highlighted the juiciest deals of the bunch. Take a look below!


Sales start Thursday 6pm

NBA2k16, FIFA 16, Madden 16 – $27.00

Uncharted Collection PS4 Bundle – $299.00

3 month Xbox Live Gold – $12.50

3 month PS Plus – $10

PS4 and Xbox One Controller – $39.99

$35 Games – NHL 16,  Forza Motorsports 6, Destiny: The Taken King

$25 Games – Splatoon, Just Dance Disney Party 2016, Just Dance 2016, LEGO Jurassic World, Mario Party 10, Splatoon

$15 Games – MLB: The Show 2015, Minecraft Xbox 360, Rare Replay, Little Big Planet 3

$8 Games – Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare.

Disney Infinity 3.0 and Skylanders Superchargers -$37

Disney Infinity 3.0 and Skylanders Superchargers figures and vehicles – $9

LEGO Dimensions  -$79.00

Nintendo Wii U bundle including Splatoon and Smash Wii U – $249

30th Anniversary Mario Color Mario Amiibo – $12.96



Sales Start Thursday 6pm

Disney Infinity 3.0 and Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Pack -$34.99

Disney Infinity 3.0 and Skylanders SuperChargers figures – $11

LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack – $79.99

New Nintendo 3DS XL – $179.99

Video Games at $15, $20, $25, and $35

Guitar Hero Live – $59

Rock Band 4 – $199

Best Buy

Sales Start Thursday 5pm

Video Games at $19.99

Sports titles at $29.99

Action Games at $34.99

PS4 and Xbox One bundles $299.99

Guitar Hero Live $69.99 includes a free USB Microphone with purchase


Toys “R” Us

Sales start Thursday 5pm

Skylanders Superchargers figures buy 1 get one 80% off

All “R” Super buy games 2 for $25

Anki Overdrive Free Expansion car with Anki Overdrive Starter Kit

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One bundles – $299.99

Nintendo Wii U bundle including Splatoon and Smash Wii U  – $279.99

New Nintendo 3DS XL – $179.99

Xbox Live Gold 3 month Subscription – $14.99

Angry Birds Star Wars for 3DS – $1

Deep discounts on video games of all varieties


Closed on Thanksgiving

Sales start Friday at 5am

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Bundles – $299.99

$50 off all new Xbox One bundles

$50 off all new PlayStation 4 bundles

LEGO Jurassic World $29.99

WWE 2K 16 – $49.99 with a free Stone Cold Steve Austin Funk Pop Figure

Rare Replay – $19.99

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare – $14.99

Disney Infinity 3.0 Starter Pack – $34.99

Guitar Hero Live – $69.99

LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack – $79.99

Skylanders Superchargers characters and vehicles – $9.99

Buy two get one free pre-owned products

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Lets face it. The toys to life genre is EXPENSIVE. It can get out of control for parents who just can’t keep up with all of the different figures and games that seem to be coming out every day! Below are some strategies that will help you keep a handle on costs while still letting your kids enjoy the games.

Play the game with your children.

This is a recurring theme on our website in general, but it bears repeating here because it is especially relevant. Many of the toys to life games, especially Skylanders, present players with obstacles that can only be overcome by characters of specific elements. These are all bonus objectives like puzzle rooms to get things like loot and stat-boosting hats.

The best way to know what your child NEEDS vs what they would like is to play with them. You’ll be able to see and recognize where their collection is falling short so you can work together to complete it.

Do your homework.

There are tons of websites out there dedicated to explaining what toys are out there and how to get them. We even got in on the action and published buying guides for Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and LEGO Dimensions this year. This is the next best thing to playing with your kids in regards to know what they need. You can very easily find out what is available with a little web research.

Pay attention to the pre-owned section at GameStop and other retailers.

This wasn’t an option even a few years ago, but GameStop has seen the strength of the Toys to Life market and has pounced on it. Even better? Lots of kids are aging out of their Skylanders collections and trading them in to GameStop to help pay for new consoles. This leaves them with a lot of stock that is often heavily discounted. Our family was lucky enough to clean up at a buy 2 get 3 free sale a month or so back.

When in doubt don’t buy just one.

Many toy retailers like Toy ‘R Us, Target, and Walmart offer discounts from time to time where you can buy one and get one half off (or something similar). This adds up if you are planning to buy a lot of these toys for your kids.

Don’t buy the games and figures on release day.

This may not be possible for people who have older kids, but if you are just getting into the Toys to Life game market and your kids are younger, then I HIGHLY recommend starting with the previous year’s version of the game. You might not be able to use the shiny new figures, but you’ll be able to get the game much less.



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Available on the following platforms:

Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U


Starter pack: $100 – Comes with toy pad, game, Batman, Wyldstyle, Gandalf, Batmobile

Pricing structure:

Level packs: $30

Team packs: $25

Fun packs: $15

The following level packs are available now:

Back to the Future (Marty McFly, DeLorean, Hoverboard)

Portal (Chell, Companion Cube, Turret)

The Simpsons (Homer, Homer’s Car, Taunt-o-Vision)

Team packs out now:

Jurassic World (Owen, ACU Trooper, Velociraptor, Gyrosphere)

Scooby Doo (Scooby, Shaggy, Mystery Machine, Scooby Snack)

Fun packs out now:

Chima Cragger with Swamp Skimmer

Chima Eris with Eagle Interceptor

Cyborg with Cyber Guard

Wonder Woman with Invisible Jet

Lego Movie Bad Cop with Police Car

Lego Movie Benny with Benny’s Spaceship

Lego Movie Emmet with Emmet’s Excavator

Lord of the Rings Gimli with Axe Chariot

Lord of the Rings Gollum with Shelob the Great

Lord of the Rings Legolas with Arrow Launcher

Ninjago Nya with Samurai Mech

Ninjago Zane with Ninjacopter

Wicked Witch with Winged Monkey

Release dates for future products:

November 3, 2015

Level Pack – Doctor Who (The Doctor, K-9, Tardis)

Team Pack – Ninjago (Cole, Kai, Boulder Bomber, Blade Bike)

Fun Pack – Lego Movie Unikitty with Cloud Cuckoo Car – November 3, 2015

Fun Pack – Bart Simpson with Gravity Sprinter – November 3, 2015

Fun Pack – Krusty with Clown Bike – November 3, 2015

January 19, 2016

Level Pack – Ghostbusters (Peter Venkman, Ecto-1, Ghost Trap)

Team Pack – DC Comics (Joker, Harley Quinn, Joker’s Chopper, Quinn Mobile)

Fun Pack – Doc Brown with Traveling Time Train – January 19, 2016

Fun Pack – Doctor Who Cyberman with Dalek – January 19, 2016

Fun Pack – Ninjago Sensei Wu with White Dragon – January 19, 2016

March 31, 2016

Fun Pack – Aquaman with Watercraft

Fun Pack – Bane with Drill Driver

Fun Pack – Superman with Hover Pod

Fun Pack – Ghostbusters Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with Terror Dog

May 31, 2016

Fun Pack – Ghostbusters Slimer with Slime Shooter

Fun Pack – Ninjago Lloyd with Golden Dragon

The Cost to “Catch ‘Em All!”:

If you were to pick up everything on its release day the total cost would be $725.

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Available on the following platforms:

 Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii, PC, iOS (toy box only)


Starter pack: $65 – Comes with base, game, Twilight of the Republic playset (based on Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano

Star Wars Saga Bundle: $90 (PS4 and PS3 Only) – Comes with a base, the game, the Twilight of the Republic playset (based on Star Wars: The Clone Wars), the Rise against the Empire playset (based on the original Star Wars trilogy), and the following figures: Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Boba Fett.

Pricing structure:

Playset price: $35

Figure price: $14

Power disc set price: $10

Toy Box Expansion price: $20

Disney is also selling the game digitally. You can buy in on your console for a lower price and use the base that you already have, but it won’t come with any of the new playsets or figures (obviously).

The following Star Wars figures are also available now:

Obi Wan Kenobi


Ezra Bridger

Kanan Jarrus

Sabine Wren

Zeb Orrelios

Han Solo


Darth Vader

The following Disney Originals figures are also available now:

Sam Flynn


Mickey Mouse

Minnie Mouse






The following play sets is available now:

Inside Out (includes  Joy and Anger figures)

Rise against the Empire (with Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia)


Star Wars playsets and figures are being spread out as we build up to Star Wars episode VII launch. The release schedule is as follows:

November 3rd

Boba Fett

Darth Maul

The Force Awakens Playset – December

Disney Infinity is a showcase for all of Disney’s different properties. Below is a release schedule for Marvel and “Disney Original” figures, playsets, and power discs.

Upcoming Disney Originals characters:

Spot – November 3

Judy Hopps – Sometime in 2016

Nick Wilde – Sometime in 2016

Peter Pan – TBA

Upcoming Marvel figures:

Hulkbuster Iron Man – November 3

Ultron – November 3

The Cost to “Catch ‘Em All!”

If you were to pick up everything on its release day the total cost of everything announced so far is $609. You can technically save $10 or so if you already own 1.0 or 2.0 buy purchasing the game digitally and then purchasing the Twilight of the Republic playset separately.

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Toys to life games are everywhere and they are intimidating. We’re taking some time today to break everything down and explain the differences between the “big three” toys to life games that will be competing for your hard earned holiday dollars this year. (We also have an article all about how to save money no matter what game you choose!)

Skylanders Superchargers

ESRB Rating – E 10+

What is it about exactly?

Skylanders Superchargers (along with all the other games in the series) is a story based game where players take on the role of a Portal Master and command mighty heroes called Skylanders as they protect the skylands from the forces of evil.

If that sounds somewhat cheesy to you… that’s actually pretty fair. The plotline isn’t exactly a paragon of originality, but this is a game designed for children. It executes the standard fantasy adventure tropes well enough and the writing is good enough to earn a few chuckles.

The gameplay hook is straightforward and frankly that is one of the strengths of the series. The different characters are each aligned with a different element and you use them to battle your way through a series of different levels. You are encouraged to switch things up when the different levels present you with zones that give bonuses to characters of a specific type (Fire type characters might be stronger near a lava flow for example). There are also some secret areas that cannot be accessed without a character of a specific type.

As I said before the true strength of Skylanders comes from its simplicity. It is accessible to new players without a lot of effort because the game itself is relatively simple and there are very few buttons to have to deal with

Can my kid play it?

There is no doubt about it. Skylanders may still be a pretty simple game to play, but it has gotten more complicated as the years have gone by. In the original game (Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures) you couldn’t even jump. The newest game gives you vehicles to drive, fly, and navigate.

All of that said, the controls are the only part of the game that is tough to follow and that will come with practice.

What exactly do I need to buy to make this game work?

The Skylanders Superchargers starter pack comes with all of the figures that you need to complete the game, but in order to fully experience the game you need to have a figure of each element, a plane type vehicle, and a boat type vehicle.

The best way to ensure that you are buying things that your kids need is to actually play the game with them. This way you’ll see it first hand and won’t make any costly mistakes.

Take a look at the buying guide for Skylanders Superchargers that we have published right here.

Disney Infinity 3.0

ESRB Rating – E 10+

What is it about exactly?

Disney Infinity 3.0 is, at its heart, a game about creation and play. The main feature of the game is the toy box. This is a game mode that gives players a blank slate within which to create their own play spaces. There are several tools and templates available to let players create all kinds of worlds in which to play. This is going to be either a blessing or a curse for each family depending on whether your family wants a direct story driven experience or, essentially, a toy.

Parents who were gamers in their youth will remember how awesome some of the licensed Disney games were back in the day. Games like Aladdin for the Sega Genesis and Ducktales for the NES. Those days are long gone for a number of reasons, but the Disney Infinity series is part of Disney’s plan to deal with it. The strategy moving forward it to take advantage of the games platform and art style to let their development teams work efficiently and create playsets for all of their different licenses. Each playset consists of a unique game experience based on the license. This helps your family cusomize the experience. Not interested in the Inside Out game? Skip it. Obsessed with Star Wars? There are three playsets announced so far.

This is the 3.0 version of the game so it does iterate on the previous versions. In the past it suffered from trying to be too many games at once. That is less of a problem now that Avalanche, the company behind Disney Infinity, has contracted other developers that specialize in things like melee combat and driving.

Can my kid play it?

The Toy Box mode is incredibly complex at a high level. Creating things using the game tools can take a lot of practice to get used to. As a result a lot of younger kids might just use it like a sand box and mess around. My kids once spent a good hour and a half spawning as many enemies as they could fit on the screen and then battling them with different characters. I know another family whose kids spent half an hour just repeatedly jumping off the edge of their world into the abyss beyond only to respawn a second later and do it again.

The play sets are much more direct and feature gameplay themed after their licenses. The Star Wars sets specifically are story driven experiences. They are challenging, but there is nothing in them that will make them unplayable.

What do I need to buy?

Disney Infinity is a standout in this category because you don’t really need to buy anything in order to play the game. You obviously need to make sure that your kids have a character that they like to use. That will help them complete and earn everything in the base game. After that it is all about the playsets. Each playset and character that you purchase unlocks more assets for the toy box as well.

If you want to know all of the details take a look at the buying guide that we published here.

LEGO Dimensions

ESRB Rating – E 10 +

What is it all about?

This is the newest entry to the Toys to Life category and it has been pretty successful so far. The LEGO series by Traveller’s Tales has been very successful over the years and LEGO Dimensions is an extension of that success.  This a story driven game similar to Skylanders that follows the standard formula in most LEGO games. The difference is that instead of focusing on one property like Harry Potter or Star Wars it includes just about everything that Warner Brothers managed to license. You can play as a Ghostbuster alongside Homer Simpson in a level built based on Dr. Who. These absurd crossovers define the entire game and help deliver some hilarious jokes.

The main hook for the game is the LEGO mini sets that come along with the various level sets and figures. I have seen a lot of parents express concern that their kids will lose the mini figures or incorporate them into their regular collections. The good news for those parents is that each figure or vehicle includes a small round base that carries all the relevant data so they don’t have to worry.

Can my kid play it?

In short: Yes. LEGO Dimensions is built on the same framework as previous LEGO games. There may be some puzzles where they might struggle if they haven’t played a lot of games before, but there is nothing that is insurmountable.

What do I have to buy?

We have a buyers guide that we have previously published, but at the end of the day this is another game where the Starter Pack is enough to be able to experience the main story of the core game. There are a HUGE number of extra characters and level packs that either have been or will be released that will either unlock additional content inside the main game or will actually add additional stages to the game.


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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 some of the biggest video game news that your family needs to know. So kick back with your morning coffee and enjoy!

Star Wars: Battlefront Was EA’s Biggest Beta Event Ever


9 million people played the Star Wars: Battlefront Beta over this past weekend (I was one of them!) making it their biggest beta event ever. The event featured two team based gameplay modes. One featured teams competing to capture escape pods full of supplies. The other took place on Hoth and involved the rebels trying to prevent Imperial AT-AT walkers from reaching their base.

EA “celebrated” this success in a very interesting way. They announced a Season Pass for Star Wars: Battlefront priced at $50 that includes 4 different DLC packs and a few other minor updates, but did not share any hard details. No one is required to purchase a Season Pass, but it is hard to swallow a company posting the highest priced season pass in history without more details.

Rocket League is getting some a “Timely” update on October 21, 2015

Rocket League is one of the surprise hits of 2015. It features multiplayer action where players play a game of large scale soccer using rocket powered cars. On October 21, 2015 it will be getting an addon in the form of the Delorean skin from Back to the Future.


HALO 5: Guardians Launch Trailer

Destiny Now has an online store Selling Emotes for Real Money

Activision has opened an in-game store inside Destiny for players to purchase vanity items like emotes and dance using real life money. The new update includes 18 such emotes that range from a “come at me bro” to  “The Carlton.” No. Seriously. Watch the video. It’s the Carlton.


PvZ Theme Park Attraction

A Plants vs Zombies themed attraction will be arriving to the Carowinds theme park in North Carolina in the Spring of 2016. They are calling it an Intra-active attraction that pits two teams of 32 players in competition of sorts.

“An intra-active experience means the game allows players to interact with the opposing team’s screen. Guests will step inside the state-of-the-artPlants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z Arena complex decked with 3-D technology, massive screens, surround sound and motion-based seats, to enjoy outrageous and imaginative encounters with their competition. Teams will compete in the Plants vs. Zombies universe during an almost five minute backyard battle, where they’ll shoot screens with blasters and track their scores as they go.”

Source: Carowinds Website



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There really isn’t any way around it. video games are an expensive hobby to get into. The consoles are all hundreds of dollars each and the games themselves can cost $60 or more! It is no wonder, thanks to prices like that, that parents are nervous to bring consoles into the house. Saving up the money for the console itself isn’t enough because games are coming out constantly.

Fortunately, families who own an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 have a few services available to them that can bring in a steady stream of games into the house that doesn’t require dropping a paycheck every month.

Xbox Live Gold

Xbox Live was originally designed as the Microsoft multiplayer service. It still serves that purpose today, but it has been expanded to include a suite of free to download games each month. Xbox Live Gold members are given access  one game each for the Xbox One and the Xbox 360 from the 1st to the 15th of each month, and then a second pair of games for the second half of the month. That adds up pretty quickly. Even better? The Xbox 360 games carry value for Xbox One owners because of the impending backwards compatibility update.

It is true that some of the Games with Gold are not family friendly, but it is infrequent that a month will pass by without at least one of the games being fine for families to play.

Xbox Live Gold members also get special discounts on games each week that can add up over time!

The service can be purchased monthly, but it is at its least expensive when it is purchased annually for $59.99 (or ~$45 on Amazon here.).

PlayStation Plus

Xbox Live came first, but PlayStation was the first company to start incentivizing people to purchase the service by giving away free games. They give out multiple games each month for PS4, PS3 and the Vita. Many of these games are available on all three systems are “cross buy” so it is not infrequent that you will be able to get a whole bunch of games

The service is required to enable multiplayer on the PlayStation 4, but this is largely an afterthought once you consider the value added by the instant game collection. Members also get special discounts on games each week that can add up over time!

The service can be purchased monthly, but it is at its least expensive when purchased annually for $49.99.

EA Access

EA Access works differently, but it is still  worth mentioning because it is a subscription gaming service that carries a significant amount of added value for some families. It is a program that is exclusive to the Xbox One that grants the following benefits.

  1. A 10% discount on the digital purchase of EA titles.
  2. The chance to play up to 10 hours of each EA title before it is released.
  3. Access to every game in the EA Vault. This is a list of games that is growing regularly. It includes all of the sports titles from the previous years as well as games like Plants vs Zombies:  Garden Warfare and Peggle 2. This is a value that will only grow with time as more and more games are released.

The service can be purchased monthly, but it is at its least expensive when it is purchased annually for $29.99.

As you can see, these services may seem intrusive, but they pack a huge amount of value.

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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


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


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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