Top 10 Video Games for Families This Holiday Season

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Led by FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com, international panel of experts kicks off month-long celebration of with list of top family games for the holidays.

Many parents these days are so concerned about video games as a time-wasting, sedentary activity that will damage their young kids’ minds that it’s easy to forget that many offer a great way for families to connect and play together.” - Johner Riehl

Led by FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com founder Johner Riehl, an international alliance of top experts from around the globe has banded together to recommend top video games for families this holiday season and declare November as Family Video Game Month.

In an attempt to build awareness for games that can be enjoyed by families worldwide, experts and authors from the UK, Canada and the US will be highlighting great games for families at http://www.FamilyVideoGameMonth.com, as well as via Twitter and Facebook. There will also be giveaways of some of this holiday’s best family titles. The family video game experts also include the founders of GamerPops.com, GamePeople.co.uk and MrsVideoGame.com.

“Many parents these days are so concerned about video games as a time-wasting, sedentary activity that will damage their young kids’ minds that it’s easy to forget that many offer a great way for families to connect and play together,” said Johner Riehl, editorial director for FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com. “Our panel of experts is dedicated to highlighting the right kind of games for families, and has named our top holiday titles as a way to kick off Family Video Game Month and promote video games as an acceptable and fun part of a family lifestyle.”

In addition to highlighting games for families, the panel is also focused on educating parents about the tools and resources available to help guide them in choosing age-appropriate games for their families. The panel recommends families download the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) mobile app, which allows parents to access a game’s ESRB rating information along with its “rating summary” - a brief account of content that a parent would want to know about, including specific examples.

“Not every game is meant for kids, but with the ESRB’s ratings and rating summaries, parents have access to all the information they need to make sure a game is suitable for their child’s age,” says ESRB president Patricia Vance. “But picking an age-appropriate game is only half the battle, as parents also want to bring home the most fun and exciting games as well. That’s why we’re happy to see this panel of video game experts providing their top choices for families this holiday season.”

TOP 10 FAMILY GAMES FOR HOLIDAY 2011 (In Alphabetical Order)

Here’s a look at the top choices for families this holiday season, as selected by experts from FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com, GamerPops.com, GamePeople.co.uk and MrsVideoGame.com.

Camping Mama - Nintendo DS – ESRB: E (Everyone) with Comic Mischief – $29.99 – With minigames that combine elements of camping, crafting and cooking, Camping Mama lets kids enjoy the great outdoors from the warmth of indoors. Great for ages 7 and up.

Disneyland Adventures - Xbox 360 Kinect - $49.99 –ESRB: Rating Pending – Expected to be E (Everyone) - Disneyland Adventures provides a fun, easy way to interact with familiar Disney characters and playworlds, from Main Street to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, letting families live the Disneyland experience via Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect camera system. Great for ages 4 and up.

Everybody Dance - PS3 Move - $39.99 – ESRB: T (Teen) with Sexual Themes - This all-new dance game for PlayStation Move is able to bring together the best of other popular dance titles, as well as add cool new features like a 20-player tournament or a Dance Party mode where you can simply set the time limit and have the game generate a playlist for you. Great for middle-schoolers and up.

Just Dance 3 - Wii, Xbox 360 Kinect, PS3 Move - $39.99 – ESRB: E 10+ (Everyone 10 and up) - The franchise that put dancing games back on the map is coming back for more in Holiday 2011, and this time up to four players will each have their own routines to perform. With a forgiving scoring system, Just Dance 3 looks to remain the best choice for families who are looking to let young preschoolers play along, as long as you are mindful of a couple songs with potentially questionable lyrics. Great for all ages.

Mario Kart 3DS - Nintendo 3DS - $39.99 – ESRB: Rating Pending – Expected to be E (Everyone) - The ultimate competitive racing game that’s able to be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels. With new items and customizable carts, you may need to make sure to buy a copy of Mario Kart for every family member with a 3DS. Great for ages 7 and up.

Rayman Origins - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 - $59.99 – ESRB Rating – E 10+ (Everyone 10 and up) with Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence and Suggestive Themes - With a beautiful art style and a unique sense-of-humor, Rayman Origins lets up to four players work together to complete levels, allowing them to jump in and out of the action whenever they like. Great for ages 10 and up.

Sesame Street Once Upon A Monster – Xbox 360 Kinect - $49.99 – ESRB Rating – E (Everyone) - A sort of interactive storybook, Sesame Street Once Upon A Monster follows Cookie Monster and Elmo through various adventures, using full-body Kinect controls to help progress the story. Big, exaggerated motions will be necessary for preschoolers and parents as they giggle their way through Once Upon A Monster. Great for ages 3 to 6.

Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS – $69.99 – ESRB Rating – E 10+ (Everyone 10 and up) with Cartoon Violence - This cool blending of real-life toys with video games requires players to place collectible figures on the game’s “Portal of Power” in order to appear onscreen. But once they do, they can be transferred to any friend’s game as well, regardless of the system. For ages 10 and up.

Sonic Generations - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS - $49.99 – ESRB: E (Everyone) - One of the greatest easy-to-play games is back, combining 3D elements from recent Sonic games with classic side-scrolling gameplay from Sonic games of yesteryear. The speedy blue hedgehog is as easy as ever to play and enjoy for kids of all ages. Great for ages 7 and up.

Twister Mania – Xbox 360 Kinect - $49.99 – ESRB: E (Everyone) - Players will use their bodies to fit inside onscreen shapes to make them disappear from puzzles, or challenge other teams to match the shapes that they can make. Blending competitiveness, cooperation and over-the-top Let Loose fun, Take Shape seems like the perfect game for any family gathering. Great for ages 5 and up.

November is Family Video Game Month

Throughout the month of November, the panel will also be releasing more information and recommendations for additional family-friendly games, highlighting a new title every day. Each will focus on a different game genre, looking at games that are educational, great for parties, competitive and cooperative. We’ll also be taking a closer look at some games that may surprise you to find out are family-friendly. There will also be giveaways, discussion and more, so please visit http://www.FamilyVideoGameMonth.com and make sure to follow us on Twitter (@FamilyVGExperts) and Facebook (facebook.com/familyvideogameexperts) to learn more about different family-friendly game options, and find out how to enter giveaways throughout the month for games like Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure, Sesame Street Once Upon A Monster, Nicktoons MLB, Everybody Dance and more.

About the Panel of Experts

Johner Riehl – http://www.FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com - “Family Game Guy” Johner Riehl is founder of FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com, a resource for parents that provides information on games that are appropriate for families. TWITTER: @FmlyFrndlyVdGms

Andy Robertson – http://www.GamePeople.co.uk – Also known as GeekDadGamer, Andy is founder of GamePeople.co.uk and host of the Family Gamer TV web series. He’s one of the best known family-game experts, with numerous appearances on BBC Radio 4 and other national magazines in the UK. TWITTER: @GeekDadGamer

Mary Heston – http://www.MrsVideoGame.com – Author of the Kindle books "Violent Games - Violent Children?" and ""Screen Time!" which review the current research on video games and their effect on our kids. Mary is founder of the site Mrs. Videogame, a place to encourage parents to get into gaming with their kids, As an online safety advocate and social media director with Wired Moms ( @wiredmom ) Heston advocates the importance of families playing together. TWITTER: @MrsVideoGame

Greg Picken and Jeff Peeters – http://www.GamerPops.com – These co-founders of GamerPops.com are Canada’s leading authority on playing games with kids. Both consider themselves gamers, and their mission is to show other gamers and parents that video games can appeal to all ages and skill levels.
TWITTER: @GamerPops

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNTIES AVAILABLE:
For more information about Family Video Game month, to register for giveaways and to keep track of all the latest information on family-friendly games this holiday season, please contact us directly or visit http://www.FamilyVideoGameMonth.com. Here you’ll find updates and links from all our family game experts, including GamerPops.com, MrsVideoGame.com, GamePeople.co.uk and FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com.

If you’d like to speak to any of these experts about our Top 10 list, Family Video Game month or anything else related to family-friendly video games, please contact:

Johner Riehl
FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com
858-220-5626
johner(at)familyfriendlyvideogames(dot)com

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