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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 PS4.

Minecraft

  • ESRB rating: E 10+
  • Survival
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, and Everything that has an electronic signal

 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.)

Marvel’s Spider-Man

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Action-adventure
  • Exclusive

Spider-Man was our game of the year in 2018, and would easily hold its own against other games of the year that we’ve announced in the past. Insomniac Games was the perfect developer to bring the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to life. They were able to capture the true essence of what makes Spider-Man a fun hero to watch and to play: the traversal.

Swinging around New York City looking for backpacks, finding crimes to fight, and battling with super villains was a blast from the very first second until its emotional end.

Madden 2020

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Sports Game
  • PC, Xbox One

Madden 2020 is the singular NFL title for all your gaming needs. If you are looking for a high quality football simulation with all the applicable NFL licenses this is going to be your go to.

MLB The Show 20

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Sports Game
  • Exclusive

The exclusive Major League Baseball property across all platforms, MLB The Show 20 is an exceptional baseball simulation.  For the first time in the fifteen game series, the game includes all the actual Minor League Baseball teams and actual player names.

NBA 2K20

  • ESRB Rating E
  • Sports Game
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Google Stadia

The NBA 2K games are far and away the most consistent and best performing NBA property on the market today.  This is truly a basketball simulation that allows you to play as any of the current NBA teams, customize your own, or even play as some of the iconic teams of the past.  One final note on the 2020 version is that it allows you to play as any of the twelve teams in the WNBA.

WWE 2K19

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Sports Game
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One

In WWE 2K19, you can take your dream of becoming a WWE superstar and make it a reality. With over 200 superstars from throughout WWE’s history to choose from, you and your family will enjoy laying the Smackdown on each other in a family friendly way. You can choose from legends such as Dusty Rhodes and Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake to current superstars like Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins. In WWE 2k19, you get the opportunity to play through the career of Daniel Bryan or start up your own company in the WWE Universe mode. WWE 2k19 is the pinnacle in sports entertainment video games and is a great addition to any gaming library of wrestling fans.

Rocket League

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Sports Game
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS, Classic Mac OS, Linux

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 trach crashing into a massive steel ball and trying to score a goal.

The Messenger

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

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.

Steamworld Dig 2

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Platform Game/Metroidvania
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS, Classic Mac OS, Linux, Playstation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Stadia

Image and Form games is a small game development studio from Sweden. They have made several games in various genres that feature steam-powered robots as the characters. Steamworld Dig 2 is all about … digging. You are constantly digging deeper into a planet in search of resources and secrets. This is a wonderful exploration game that everyone should try! (The rest fo the Steamworld games are worth a look too!)

Overwatch

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • First-person Shooter
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Overwatch is a great alternative for parents looking to let their kids play a multiplayer shooter. It features cartoonish graphics, a diverse cast of characters, and a number of game modes that keep things interesting. One of the things we love about Overwatch is that the cartoonish aesthetic helped keep the ESRB rating down, and makes this more of an Avengers-like experience than a Saving Private Ryan one.

Ratchet and Clank

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

Playing as anthropomorphic feline carrying robot pal as a backpack whilst laying waste to your enemies with a Sheepinator, never gets old.  The latest installment released in 2016 remains a high-quality installment to the family-friendly platforming game genre, even 4 years after the fact. 

Kingdom Hearts All-in-One

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Action Role-playing
  • Also Available On: Xbox One

The Kingdom Hearts All-In-One package includes 10 different Kingdom Hearts experiences dating back to the PlayStation 2. This is an amazing value for Disney fans who are looking for an Action RPG series to sink their teeth into. Once you finish this amazing collection you can pick up Kingdom Hearts 3. 

Stardew Valley

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Simulation
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Playstation Vita

Stardew Valley is a remarkable game. It is a farming and life simulator where you play as a younger person who inherits relatives 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. 

Final Fantasy XV

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Action Role-playing
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, Stadia

The Final Fantasy Series is a benchmark in which all role playing games are weighted against. Final Fantasy 15 is one the best stand alone role playing games of the PS4/Xbox One era.  The Final fantasy series incorporates fantasy and futuristic elements into a compelling story.  

Final Fantasy 15 is coming of age story, as the young prince Noctis grows from a brash teen to an adult and wielder of magic powers. His journey is assisted by three friends that are as much mentors as they are friends, each with stories in their own right. 

With a steady, fast pace in mind, Final Fantasy 15 handles action in the third person view. It has simple commands mapped to the controller ahead of time. Combat happens in real time, players can choose to pause the action for an opportunity to plan and strategize that is an anchor point of the RPG experience. 

The Final Fantasy Series represents a collection of stories through gaming history. All of the games are great in their own right, and everyone has a favorite that can be endlessly argued

FIFA 2020

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Sports Game
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Stadia

Soccer (Football for our international readers) is the most popular sport on Earth. It stands to reason then that the digital version would be wildly successful as well. If your kids play soccer, then they likely have this game on their wish lists every year. I can’t say that I blame them. FIFA does amazing work each year in crafting as authentic and fun of an experience that they can. This year’s biggest addition is the Volta football mode which celebrates street soccer. It’s wild, and exciting… everything a true fan would want to see

Tetris Effect

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Puzzle
  • Also Available On: PC, Oculus Quest

Just like the original Tetris, Tetris Effect requires you to place tiles in order to clear lines.  This update though adds themes and music through different levels based on the beat of music.  It also adds a mechanic that allows you to place several blocks at once and a VR compatibility which varies greatly from your standard Tetris game.  This is a high quality addition to one of the most popular gaming titles ever.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Action Role-playing
  • Also Available On: PC

Horizon: Zero Dawn is an open world action and adventure title that takes place in land so far removed from a global catastrophe that civilization has reset again in the ruins of ancient cities. The game encompasses a rich story, beautiful landscapes, and solid voice acting.  In addition there is the thrill of hunting giant robot dinosaurs.

The Story of Horizon: Zero Dawn centers around Aloy, a young woman raised as an outcast, and her struggles to navigate and explore the lands beyond her home. She discovers a small piece of technology, advanced to the point of magic for her. What comes of this technology is a sprawling narrative that links her world to a distant past, which is better described as our distant future. 

This game also features puzzling environments to climb and explore, and colossal robot beasts to hunt, all while using weapons and tools primitive in construction featuring futuristic materials.

Rocket League

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Sports Game
  • Also Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, macOS, Linux

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 trach crashing into a massive steel ball and trying to score a goal. 

Hollow Knight

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Platform Game/Metroidvania
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS, Linux

Hollow Knight is an independently developed action game that blends the best of Castlevania and Dark Souls into a beautiful and family friend title. You take on the role of a wanderer who is brought to the entrance of The Hollowness from unknown circumstances. 

The Hollowness is an interconnected dungeon with multiple entrances and exits to each beautifully crafted zone. Every part of the Hollowness is built to be both journey and destination, with levers and gates revealing back tracking paths to the surface, and many difficult challenges focusing on platform based movement and fair, but brutal combat. 

Hollow Knight is built to unfold by itself in a very organic path. Exploration and curiosity open up alternate paths and entire sections of the world. Your skills and the story are shown rather than told and are left for you to discover through environment and inference rather than straight and simple exposition.

LEGO Games

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Action Adventure
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS

From Harry Potter and Star Wars to Marvel and DC, LEGO has consistently captured the imagination of kids 0-99.  That they have somehow managed to consistently do this with their video games titles is somewhat remarkable.  Most of their games follow the same basic format of providing you familiar characters to interact with your environment while collecting blocks either by battling enemies or destroying objects in the world around you.  This has proved a winning formula time and time again and has provided tens of thousands of hours of entertainment to its fans.

Plants vs Zombies: Neighborville

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Tower Defense
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One

Parents regularly approach the EFG team looking for alternatives to more violent M rated shooters on the market. We regularly suggest the Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare series. This is the latest entry to the series, but any of them are worthy additions to your collection. 

Everything about this game is all bright colors and goofy characters.  There is even a Disco Zombie character! 

Everybody’s Golf

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Sports Game
  • Exclusive

The latest installment in the series “formerly know as Hot Shots Golf” published specifically for Sony platforms.  Everybody’s Golf is a cartoony arcade style golf game that allows for single player or online multiplayer game play.  The gameplay is refreshing and simple allowing for easier accessibility to players of all ages. In keeping with the theme Sony has also decided that if you need a break you can feel free to drive your golf cart anywhere you like.  This is typically frowned up by the “establishment” for those that would like to know and infinitely entertaining.  Go out, play golf with everybody, and have a great time.

Journey

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Adventure Art Game
  • Also Available On: Playstation 3, PC, iOS
Journey Video Game Review - Video Game Review of Journey on ...
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Journey is one of the best games to come out in the last decade. It is a relatively short experience where you guide a cloaked wanderer through a desert, but the way that this game handles multiplayer will take your breath away. 

No Man’s Sky: Beyond

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Survival
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One

No Man’s Sky released in 2016 and wasn’t very well received. However, Hello Games has been releasing regular, free updates since launch. It is almost unrecognizable from its original form now. It still have the exploration mode, but it has base building, a creative mode, multiplayer, and more!

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Role-playing
  • Also Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS

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.

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 Essential Guide Collections

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

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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Sony held their E3 2018 PlayStation Showcase on Monday June 11th at 6pm PST.  They had previously announced that they were going to focus on four larger releases: Spiderman, Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and The Last of Us Part II. It became readily apparent within a few minutes of the beginning of their presentation that they weren’t going to stick to that promise. Below is a list of the announcements that they made.


Ghost of Tsushima 
Last of Us Part 2
Black Ops 4
God of War New Game +
Black Ops 3 on PS+
Tetris Effect
Days Gone
Twin Mirror 
Ghost Giant
Beat Saber
Destiny 2: Forsaken
Control
RE2 remake
Trover saves the universe
Kingdom Hearts 3 (Pirate World) 
Death Stranding
Nioh 2
Spiderman
Deracine 

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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It seems like everyone is starting their own premium gaming service these days. It can be tough for parents to be able to tell the difference between Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, and all the others. We can’t let that stand here at EFG so we wrote up a big ol’ guide for all of the premium services so our readers can tell them all apart and understand the costs and benefits of each one.

Take a look below for our guide to PlayStation Now!

The Pitch

PlayStation Now (PSNow) is a Netflix-esque streaming service for PlayStation 4 and PC. Subscribers have unlimited access to stream a collection of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 games over the internet on their PlayStation 4 console or PC.

How Does it Work?

Subscribers have access to the massive catalog of games for as long as their membership lasts. The games are streamed over the internet so there is no downloading involved. This makes the service.

How Much Does it Cost?

PlayStation Now (PSNow) can be purchased in 12-month, 3-month, or 1-month increments.

12 Month subscription – $99.99

3 Month subscription – $44.99

1 Month subscription – $19.99

Advice

PlayStation Now (PSNow) is entirely dependent upon the strength of your internet connection. The games are streamed over the internet so they will run poorly if you can’t get a good enough connection. Sony customer support recommends that your internet service has a download speed of at least 5mbps (megabytes per second) to use the service. Tests performed by other sites like ArsTechnica have shown that it takes closer to 9 mbps to really take advantage of it.

Troubleshooting

Sony technical support has provided a few tips for folks who have the recommended download speed and are still experiencing issues with the service:

Use a Wired Connection

Many homes have their consoles hooked up to the internet via a wireless connection (wifi). This does hamper the quality of the connection between your PS4 and the modem. One way to correct this is by using an ethernet cable to connect your PS4 to the modem directly. This may not be possible for everyone, but it is at least worth mentioning.

Reduce the Number of Applications Using the Network

Your home network only has so much data that it can download from the internet at once. Applications that are sharing that download speed and can hinder each other’s performance. Its like traffic coming into your house. We’d get everywhere faster if we were the only car on the road.

Some applications you might consider shutting down are:

  • Streaming video applications (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube)
  • Cloud backup or sync applications (Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud)
  • Content downloads (BitTorrent, software, games, movies, or music)
  • Video/audio communication apps (FaceTime, Skype)

Try Off-Peak Hours

Your download speed can also be hurt if you try to use a shared (or public) connection during the busiest hours of the day. Try using the service during off-peak hours like evenings and weekends so there may be fewer people using the service.

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 Access

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Live Gold

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Plus

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origin’s Access


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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By: Drew Habersang

***Mild spoiler warnings for those who want to stay spoiler free – I’ll be discussing game elements and largely avoiding plot, but there will be a few very small reveals – consider yourself warned.***

God of War -is back and it is better and more different than ever! 

In the previous games, Kratos ascended to Godhood in an all out one man war of vengeance against the Greek pantheon who betrayed him. This time around, Kratos is battling the Norse Gods and their underlings, but for entirely different reasons.

For those of you not familiar with the franchise thus far, don’t sweat it. The latest entry in the series is a soft reboot that leaves enough room for newcomers to get somewhat familiar with the story. Rest assured, you’ll have a deeper more meaningful experience if you’ve played the previous three playstation releases, but it’s hardly a requirement.

Until this release, apart from a few minor variations, the series has stayed close to the form and style of the first game. And, while fans would no doubt have been entirely fine to leap into another round of God-slaying, this game takes a decidedly different tone. Like many popular franchises that have gone the soft reboot route, the new God of War includes a number of open-world RPG elements. Kratos has evolved from the previous games and now has levels, armor, loot and different equipment, and his equipment will affect Kratos’ ability to take on various threats in their unique environments. Enemies in the new God of War have levels as well and these scale as Kratos levels up.


Note that, while these shifts constitute massive changes, the core of the game remains unchanged. Kratos is still absolutely brutal death dealer, but the tone of the game has changed considerably. The modulation in tone is largely thanks to the addition of Kratos’s son, Atreus. Kratos’s unhinged fury has been tempered into patient calculating resourcefulness. These changes are largely observable through Kratos’s relationship with his son, Atreus. Kratos has in no way abandoned the violent tendencies that made him a horrifying revenge-monster. However, with his young son Atreus to protect and guide, we also get to see Kratos patiently (most times) mentoring his son as they both discover more about the world around them and each other.
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Kratos as a dad is spectacular and his relationship with his son is the emotional core of the game. This almost goes without saying, however, this is where to storytelling really excels. What could have easily been an overwrought predictable maudlin “escort journey the game” is instead handled with deftness and subtly. My favorite scenes are spare in dialogue and disarmingly sincere. Kratos still wrestles with his past. The game acknowledges this, yet gives him a way to redemption by way of his son, Atreus.  If nothing else, Kratos is determined to guide his son toward a different path than the one Kratos chose for himself.


The original game was intentionally bawdy and fantastically violent. In this latest iteration, the quick-time sex events (seriously) and over-the-top violence have been replaced with something far more sincere – Kratos holds his son’s tear streaked face in huge blood-stained hands as they both cope with unspeakable grief and it is, without a doubt, a most natural and necessary evolution.

I’ve loved every game in the God of War series but this one managed to incorporate emotional scaffolding upon which new stories can be built.

I’m already chomping at the bit for the follow up.


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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It seems like everyone is starting their own premium gaming service these days. It can be tough for parents to be able to tell the difference between Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, and all the others. We can’t let that stand here at EFG so we wrote up a big ol’ guide for all of the premium services so our readers can tell them all apart and understand the costs and benefits of each one.

Take a look below for our guide to PlayStation Plus!

The Pitch

PlayStation Plus is a subscription service for PlayStation that is required in order to play online multiplayer games over the PlayStation Network. The service also includes periodic discounts on digital purchases through the PlayStation Network. It also includes a suite of free PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, PlayStation  Vita, and PlayStation VR games that are available for free each month.

How Does it Work?

PlayStation Plus is a subscription service that must be maintained in order to keep using it. The service grants its members access to the following:

  • Online Multiplayer gaming using the PlayStation Network platform
  • A suite of free games available for download each month for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. These games can be downloaded to the PlayStation 4 hard drive at any time, but you can only play them if you have an active PlayStation Plus subscription.
  • Periodic discounts on digital games sold on the PlayStation Marketplace. The games you purchase using a discount made available during a PlayStation Plus subscription will remain playable even after the subscription expires.

How Much Does it Cost?

PlayStation Plus can be purchased yearly, every three months, or monthly.

Advice

There isn’t much advice to give. If your family owns a PlayStation 4 console then this is required for online play. It is, however, a pretty good value because over the course of a year the free games available through the program will add up to a significant value.

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 Access

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Live Gold

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Now

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origin’s Access


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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

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There were a lot of awesome games that came to the PlayStation 4 this year. Take a look at the games we recommend for Holiday gifts this year!

Horizon: Zero Dawn



Arguably the best game of 2017 for young adult gamers. Horizon: Zero Dawn is a story of life and struggle over the remnants of a future civilization. Robotic animal creatures roam a landscape filled with the remnants of a fallen civilization.  Players experience the story of Aloy, a young woman trying to survive and understand the great tragedy of her land.

I linked the Complete Edition above. It will be coming out on December 5th and will include the DLC pack that is launching in November.

 

Star Wars Battlefront II



Star Wars is on everyone’s mind right now. How can it not be with Episode 8 looming this holiday season?

Star Wars fans will want to take a look at Star Wars Battlefront II this holiday. It isn’t available for purchase yet as of the time that I published our gift guide, but most early indications from a public beta have been positive. There have been some concerns raised by critics about the micro-transactions that are available in the game, but we don’t have all of the details from the final version of the game yet. We’ll need to wait and see if they end up being a true problem.

 

Everybody’s Golf



Everybody’s Golf is a casual golf game that the whole family can play. You create goofy characters and play on relatively wild courses. The action is simple enough that just about anyone can play with a little practice. The $40 price tag doesn’t hurt either.

 

Destiny 2


Destiny 2 is an amazing multiplayer shooter experience set in a cool sci-fi universe. It is also a great compromise for parents looking to find a shooter for their kids to play that isn’t as grim as Call of Duty: WW2 or Battlefield 1.

 

Crash Bandicoot Collection


Crash Bandicoot was Sony’s attempt to compete with Super Mario. He never quite succeeded in supplanting him, but there are a lot of people who look back on his games fondly. The N-Sane Trilogy is a collection of the first three Crash Bandicoot games that have each been lovingly remade from the ground up and made available in a $40 collection.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX



Kingdom Hearts 3 is coming soon. (They say its coming next year, but I’ll believe that when I see it.) Players need to get ready for it and this is a collection of every meaningful game in the series so far.

Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age


A sprawling tale about the never ending cycle of war and intrigue. FF12 is the last game in the series from the PS2 era and was recently re-released for PS4 with an HD upgrade. Zodiac Age is the smooth update and rebalancing of an already great game. It even includes some features that never made it to the States on its initial debut.

Minecraft



I know I sound like a broken record, but Minecraft should be on top of everyone’s shopping list. It may be one of the best selling games of all time, but there are plenty of kids who don’t have it.


Be sure to check out the rest of our holiday gift guides for 2017!

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Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is being released as a digital exclusive for the PS4 on May 23rd. This game is part of a long running RPG series with a blend of Sci-Fi and Fantasy themes wrapped around an action based combat system. This game is rated T for Teen for animated blood and some mild violence but is otherwise family friendly to play around younger gamers. This is about as intense as most Avengers or Star Wars movies for sake of comparison.

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time was an RPG where you could get very deep into the weeds with crafting mechanics and mini games, but the combat system features three computer controlled characters while you controlled a character with two buttons that can be assigned various attacks for a simple and fun experience.

 

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is a game a remember well even though it came out more well more than a decade ago. Laser aiming devices and shotgun blasts were used alongside magical dimension doors. Space ship captains fought side by side with court wizards and quirky animal sidekicks. This game takes an escalating story that spans galaxies and adds a final mid game twist that redefined the perspective of the entire series before and after it.

Square Enix is adding additional features to Star Ocean: Till the End of Time like adding trophy support, the ability to share screenshots and video, along with remote play. A word of caution to trophy seekers is that this game has some optional content that is incredibly difficult and will either having you pull out your hair or pull out a game guide. Expect some cameos and references from other Tri-Ace/Square Enix titles in the deeper parts of the game as reward for those willing to complete the grind.

What do you think? Is this a game you’ll


proteine poulet
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Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are all going to be releasing new console hardware by the end of 2017. This means that we will be reading a LOT about technical specifications for game consoles for the next 18 months.

The next pieces of hardware from Microsoft and Sony (the Xbox Scorpio and PlayStation 4 Pro respectively) are, essentially, upgrades to their existing consoles. They will still work the same and play (for the most part) the same games. The difference is going to come in their ability to produce higher fidelity graphics than their predecessors.

We are going to see a lot of cheerful videos and carefully worded press releases that are going to be chock full of technical terms that might be confusing to a layman.

We want you to be able to make educated decisions about the games your children play. And, with that in mind, we felt that it would be a good idea to publish a glossary of technology terms that might sound like gibberish to parents who aren’t super tech savvy.

Take a look below and be sure to let us know in the comments if there is something we missed!

Display

This is, for all intents and purposes, just a fancy term used for the monitor and TV that the console will be hooked up to. This is where you will see the images that are being created by the console in order to play games, watch shows, etc.

GPU

A lot of the descriptions for new consoles and PCs will include information about a “GPU.” This is an acronym that stands for the “Graphics Processing Unit.” That is the name for a special kind of circuit that is responsible for creating images that will be output to the TV or Monitor.

Refresh Rate

TV shows, movies, and video games are all presented to us as rapidly changing streams of still pictures. As technology has improved we have been able to display more images, commonly referred to as “frames” per second. This has helped move away from the jerky and borderline unnatural movement found in silent movies to the fast and fluid movements we see in modern television.

The number of frames per second that a piece of tech displays is often reported in “hertz” or “htz.” For example, a 60 htz television is able to display 60 frames per second. In general, this means that the animation will be smoother and more natural.

4k Resolution

The “Resolution” of a display is a numerical representation of how many individual pixels that a display can show.

As Sony and Microsoft launch their next wave of updated consoles, the push is to support “4k resolution.” This is shorthand, but it represents a resolution of 3840 pixels x 2160 lines.

In general, the more pixels that can be displayed within a given area the more clear the image is and the better it can be animated. Most of us likely experienced that sort of change when we watched HD television for the first time. We were able to see fine details like the numbers on players’ jerseys more easily.

This is important for video games especially because the display AND the console both matter. Playing a Super Nintendo game on a modern HD television won’t make it look like modern video games. It is still limited by the hardware.

HDR

HDR stands for High-dynamic-range Imaging. This is a term used in photography that represents a greater dynamic ranging of color than is normally possible. In other words, the colors that are displayed by the media are more true to real life than previously displayed. This means brighter whites and darker blacks as well as more clear colors in between.

This is a feature that will be made available as part of the Xbox One S and will be available on all PS4 models. But, it is not something that everyone will be able to take advantage of. This is a feature that needs a cutting edge TV in order to work.

Teraflop

Project Scorpio by Microsoft is the upgraded version of the Xbox One that will release next year. Microsoft has described it as having “6 teraflops.”

A teraflop is a unit of measure for the power of a console or other computing device. This is an acronym that represents the number of calculations that a machine can process in one second. The breakdown of the acronym is as follows:

Tera” means Trillion

FLOP” stands for “Floating-Point Operations per Second”

For example, a processor that is measured as having “6 Teraflops” is capable of solving 6 trillion math problems in one second. To put it simply: The more calculations a processor can make the better the graphics it will be able to output.

Internal vs External Memory

Video game consoles are, essentially, specialized computers. Everyone knows what a hard drive is, because the computers we use at work, at home, and at school all have them. Video game consoles are no different.

The Xbox One and PS4 both launched initially with 500 GB (Gigabyte) internal hard drives. While this might seem like enough it fills up quickly if anyone in the household purchases games digitally. The newer versions of these consoles will include hard drives of up to 2 TB (Terabytes) of internal storage space.

For sake of illustration 1 Terabyte is the data equivalent of an 8 foot stack of CDS. That SEEMS like a lot of room, but some games can be HUGE.

There are external hard drives that will work with the different consoles though. So if your console is full, then you should look into them!

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Sony held their E3 2016 press briefing and showed off a new trailer showing footage from a new Spider man game in development for the Playstation 4. Finally, Spider-Man is coming back to video games thanks to Insomniac Games!

This is exciting because the video game rights for everyone’s favorite wall crawler have been held by Activision. One might not think that is a problem, but they squandered that license by churning out games that were average at best.

Spider-Man is seeing a new resurgence in popularity thanks to his recent appearance in Captain America: Civil War and his upcoming solo film. This is the perfect time for Sony to move the license over to someone who will give the franchise the appropriate level of care.

Insomniac Games might just be the perfect developer for the job. Their last game was Sunset Overdrive and one of its primary features was the traversal. It was also one of the most fun parts of the game. I would get a quest that required me to go all the way across the city and I would actually get excited that I got to travel. This stands in stark contrast to most games where I would sigh and trudge my way over. They clearly know how to craft a traversal system that is fun to play with and Spider-Man would benefit greatly from that kind of attention.

One point of interest for Spier-Man fans is the new costume. It doesn’t appear to be very similar to any known costumes in the Spiderverse so far. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I have a feeling that it was done to help differentiate the game from the movie. They are not making a game based on the Spider-Man: Homecoming film so they need to work hard to make that distinction to avoid confusion where ever possible.

We don’t know any real details about release date yet, but I think it is safe to assume that they are pushing for a release around the time Spider-Man: Homecoming comes out next year.

Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information as we get closer to release.

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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Pixelkin.org. Make sure to check them out when you get the chance!

Sony announced during their E3 2016 press briefing that they are working with Activision to help bring Crash Bandicoot back to the masses.

Crash Bandicoot burst onto the gaming scene back in 1996 with his own 3D platforming game developed by Naughty Dog. He then went on to appear in more than a dozen games over the next 14 years. Crash never reached the same level of popularity as Mario or Sonic, but he was, and continues to be well loved by his fans. That love has inspired a loyal and vocal fanbase to call for his return ever since he vanished from the gaming scene.

Those loyal voices have finally won the day. Crash is coming back! Sony and Activision are raking the first three Crash games (Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped) from the ground up and releasing them on the PS4. They did not give a firm release date yet, but the three remakes are tentatively scheduled for 2017.

That wasn’t all Sony had in store though. they also announced that Crash would be finding his way into Skylanders Imaginators as one of the Sensei characters. His sky-chi attack will involve using his iconic yo-yo to pull enemies into him with a whirlwind like spin move.

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