Family Video Games, Chapter 1

If you’re a gamer, you probably have a special place in your house where you can fire up your games and settle in—all alone. But why not share the fun with your kids? Here are some family friendly video games you and your kids can play together.

Rayman Legends (Wii U, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation Vita and Windows)
Rayman is back in all his glory in this follow-up to Rayman Origins. This time, Rayman is out to jump, punch, bounce, and float his way through 120 levels of 2.5 dimensions of platforming fun. (2.5 dimensions means that it’s a 2D game, but characters hop from front to back or creatures will slink from area to area, which makes for some very interesting game play.) Legends is one of those easy-to-play-but-hard-to-master games, but no matter where you are, it’s a blast. When running from dragons or just trying to hop off a cliff before it crumbles away, the most rewarding moments in Rayman are when you get that wonderful end-of-level Rayman dance. The Wii U version includes a free Challenges app.

Hot Wheels, World’s Best Driver (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and PC)
When you think of Hot Wheels, you probably think of small cars and big fun, with every surface in your home becoming a track and tiny cars that become middle-of-the-night tripping hazards. But now, you and the kids can play the Hot Wheels video game. You start by selecting a team—each one specializes in a certain driving style: tricks, speed, drifting, and off-roading. Unlike some games where differences between cars are purely cosmetic, here you can actually feel the difference in the way the cars handle. In multiplayer mode, players take turns with the controller, which can frustrate the little ones. But once they’re used to it, this is a really fun game for everyone. Oh, and don’t put those Hot Wheels cars and tracks away—technology is great, but building and racing is too.

Turbo: Super Stunt Squad (Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3)
This entry from D3 features characters from the movie Turbo. It’s a stunt-based game, kind of like the skateboarding games of yester-year, but replacing the humans and skateboards with speed-boosted snails. Initially only a few levels are open. Each is based on a human environment (for example, a nail salon or the kitchen in a fast-food place), but from a snail’s perspective. On each level, collectibles and upgrades help unlock new abilities and open up new levels to explore and conquer. Each character has a unique feel and special talents, such as Turbo’s Tuck and Roll, and Skidmark’s Nitro Boost. Can be played co-op or solo.

Disney Infinity (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii U, Wii, and Nintendo 3DS)
Take a toy-to-video-game crossover and add some Disney magic (and player creativity) and you’ve got a fun family-friendly game that children and parent can enjoy together. Disney Infinity is essentially a toy box that you can stock with as few or as many play sets and character pieces as you’d like. Each play set is based on a popular Disney film. The starter pack comes with three sets and three characters: Captain Jack from Pirates of the Caribbean, Sully from Monsters University and Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles. All three are a blast to play either solo or with another player (unfortunately, if you want to play co-op, you’ll need to buy additional characters, but they’re pretty inexpensive). Sorry, no mixing-and-matching: Captain Jack will not be visiting Monsters University.

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