First, ask yourself what’s appropriate: Are titles featuring cartoon violence, toy weapons or simulated combat kosher? Then think about what type of games make sense: Collections of frantic, bite-sized mini-games; teeth-gnashing head-to-head puzzlers; fist-pumping sports simulations; or grand-scale strategic engagements? Afterwards, you’ll also want to consider which control schemes you prefer, i.e. titles played on traditional gamepads, or motion controlled amusements that require you to get up and moving. Once you’ve picked the evening’s contenders, and set some limits, here are a few genres that make great choices for group play to consider:
- ACTION/ARCADE – Butt-bounce your way through titles together via cooperative play options. Alternately, go head-to-head against loved ones in fast-paced, whimsical affairs from pumpkin tosses to turkey shoots.
- CARD/CLASSIC – Virtually all your favorite board and card games are available in electronic form. Better yet, these titles remain as playable and addictive now as they did decades ago when first invented.
- MUSIC, RHYTHM AND DANCING – Burn calories while strumming along or busting a groove to today’s top pop, rock and rap songs. Such offerings – which may require the use of plastic instruments or dance mat controllers – let you literally jam to radio’s greatest hits, or shake a leg along with the beat. Many popular music and dance games offer a great mix of competitive options and cooperative routines, and some even allow for up to 20 players to play at once.
- PARTY – Crazy, competitive, and whimsical experiences specifically designed for the enjoyment of large gatherings are common fixtures at family gatherings. These titles typically offer a collection of different mini-games, and require family members to perform many different quick, hilarious activities in order to score points.
- PUZZLE – Test your brainpower and reflexes against one or more opponents; the quicker you form set shapes or clear screens of blocks, the harder rivals must work to catch up.
- RACING – Quench your need for speed zipping along fantasy or real-world courses at maximum velocity. Most of today’s racing options allow up to four players to compete simultaneously on one screen (still more can play online), and many even provide the use of zany weapons (turtle shells, bombs, banana peels) as well.
- SPORTS – Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, wrestling… If you can name it, there’s a virtual rendition. Fans will find all sorts of zany, arcade-style spoofs up for grabs in addition to pro-level simulations.
Tomorrow I’ll be wrapping up this series with some important guidelines for creating the kind of high-tech family game night that your family will remember fondly for decades to come.