Family coming around this Christmas? Get them off the sofa and moving with some motion controlled video game goodness.
Christmas is just around the corner and with it come all of the usual festivities, some good and some rather forgotten. The good old fashioned family Christmas is one of those traditions that a lot of people would rather forget. Having all of the relatives around for a big meal then an awkward afternoon of watching TV and listening to your uncle snore in the corner is not most peoples idea of fun. But this year could be different.
With motion control now available on all of the major consoles, there is no reason not to get the whole family moving and enjoying some good party games. Let’s face it, aside from the drunken partying after a night on the town, or when trying to entertain the younger members of your family, family gatherings are the only time that party games will get played. But which party games will be worth picking up on your console? Fear not, GGUK have the perfect guide to Xmas party fun.
So first up, let’s take a look at what has become the ultimate casual console and provider of party games galore, the Wii. The reality is that the vast majority of “party games” on Wii are not really worth even considering, offering simple games that revolve around waggling the Wiimote as hard as possible. But, on the pure party game front there is one exception:
Offering up a huge number of mini-games, various different modes to enjoy and even the chance to get more interactive than ever before in a video game, Wii Party really is the best choice for Christmas party fun. Nothing will be more likely to get those relatives out of their roast dinner induced comas than the chance to show the youngsters how it is done across the selection of mini games that are easy to play by anyone. With different ways to string the mini games together into something a bit more competitive, including modes specifically for pairs, and a random estimation of how long each game will take, it is easy to set up an afternoon of gaming fun no matter how many players there are. For something a bit different, but still a lot of fun, check out the House Party games that use the Wiimotes in a different and more interactive way.
Whilst Wii Party ticks all of the boxes regarding pure party gaming, some families may prefer to indulge their competitive streaks and keep the action moving. For these families, our recommendation would have to be:
Mario Kart Wii
The important thing when deciding which games to play with the family at Christmas is accessibility, making sure that all members of the family can enjoy the fun, no matter what their gaming skill levels are. And nothing can be easier than grabbing a plastic wheel and racing around a track. Mario Kart Wii will give everyone the opportunity to compete on more or less the same level. It may not be the best Mario Kart game ever, but everyone from the young to old will be able to enjoy hurtling around the Mushroom Kingdom, throwing banana skins and launching turtle shells to ensure the top spot on the final podium. Guaranteed to raise the competitive spirit.
Owners of the PS3 console will likely have much less experience of the party game genre. The new Move motion controller only launched a little while back and have so far not really had that much support. But if you are the owner of some of these controllers, there are a few choices to get the family moving. The most obvious would be:
Start The Party
As the party game that launched at the same time as the Move controller, Start The Party will show up to four players what the Sony motion control system is capable of. A selection of mini games that will see the players swatting bugs or brushing the teeth of a crocodile, one thing that this game offers over anything on the Wii is the use of the camera to put the player in the action. It may not be as deep or fully featured as the party games on the Wii, but Start The Party is certainly fun and the best offering on the PS3.
My personal favorite of the Move games, Sports Champions is the standard compilation of motion controlled sports. This is guaranteed to get people moving away from the sofa, although may be a little involved for the older and younger players. With a selection of six different activities, including archery, beach volleyball and Frisbee golf, there should be something here to appeal to most of the family. If the people coming around this Christmas are an active sort, then this will surely be a better afternoon activity than watching a Bond movie, and it will even help work off some of that excessive Christmas indulgence. Certainly not ideal for everyone, but one of the better Move specific games out there.
Then we have the newest shiny piece of plastic on the shelves, Kinect for Xbox360. This unit offers full body motion control, meaning no messing around with complicated buttons and simple to enjoy for all members of the family. A word of warning though, if you are limited for room, then Kinect is not for you. Single player does not require too much room, but playing multiplayer in a party environment will require some serious space, not just for the Kinect unit to work properly, but also to avoid the risk of accidentally slapping an elderly relative and causing a “Christmas incident”. Our first recommendation is a no brainer as everyone will have the game if they bought their Kinect brand new:
Well, it may not be the best Kinect game, but the fact that it is free with the main Kinect unit makes it very attractive and the easiest to whip out on a christmassy afternoon. Using the Kinect’s full body motion control, players will find themselves steering a water raft using their weight and floating around in zero gravity, trying to pop bubbles, amongst other activities. It may not be a proper party game, but the relatives will be impressed with the way that Kinect translates their movements onto the screen. Again, much like Sports Champions for Move, less active relatives will find that the game may be a bit too physical, but watching others play is almost as much fun.
There are a few different games that I could have chosen as the second recommendation for Kinect, such as Dance Central or Kinect Sports which are both great games for the festive period. But Kinect JoyRide offers the ultimate in accessibility, enabling anyone to play with ease. Players race around tracks and steer by simply holding out there hands and grasping an imaginary steering wheel. That is pretty much all they need to do. Don’t get me wrong, this game is no Mario Kart. But in a party atmosphere, it will certainly make everyone sit up and take notice. Also, it is one of the least active Kinect games, making it ideal for the less active family members.
So there you go, two recommendations for each of the major consoles using motion control. Of course, there are plenty of non-motion controlled games out there that can be enjoyed by all of the family, more on those in a minute. But for the first time, motion control is available to all major console owners, making this a motion controlled Christmas. Surely waving around arms or even entire bodies is preferable to watching repeated movies or breaking out the Trivial Pursuit?
But not everyone will be able to enjoy a motion controlled Christmas. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to get the family playing video games though, as there are a fair few that have been around for a while and are rapidly becoming traditions in there own right during the festive season.
For the quiz families there is the Buzz series of quiz games on PS3. With new question packs being offered on PSN to keep it fresh, Buzz offers the ultimate family quiz experience. If music is more your thing, get everyone rocking out with one of the Guitar Hero or Rock Band games. There is nothing quite like getting the whole family to jam with their own musical instrument controllers, as long as you can agree on what music to play. Then, for the family that watches X-Factor together, get up and show everyone your singing skills with games such as Lips on Xbox360, SingStar on PS3 and We Sing on Wii. With loads of different packages available and the chance to download new songs for the Xbox360 and PS3 games, singing with the family need never get old.
Whatever your gaming preference during this festive season, get everyone involved and share the video game love.