Family-Friendly Video Games

  • EyePet | Ages 3+ 1 of 10
    EyePet | Ages 3+
    After “hatching” a virtual pet for you, EyePet ingenuously uses the PS3’s camera to show you onscreen with the cuddly critter. From there the possibilities are wide open: You can talk to, play with, or, yes, even pet your EyePet, and you can also draw objects on paper and watch them come to life in your pet’s world as the camera captures them in yours.
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  • Lets Draw! | Ages 3+ 2 of 10
    Lets Draw! | Ages 3+
    Nothing can replace crayons and paper, but Let’s Draw! for the Nintendo DS gives those classic tools a run for their money. Draw and color your own creations, save them to show Mom and Dad, and bring them to life with sound and animation. Kids can then play simple games, such as car racing, with the same characters they just created. Plus, thanks to voice instructions, younger kids can master the game without even knowing how to read.
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  • Fantastic Pets | Ages 3+ 3 of 10
    Fantastic Pets | Ages 3+
    Love pets but hate allergens? This game uses the camera and hands-free play of Xbox 360’s Kinect controller to bring a non-sneeze-inducing companion into your family room, where you can virtually pet, play with, and raise the creature. No dogs or cats here, either; we’re talking unicorns, dragons, and other mythical — and totally customizable — creatures.
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  • uDraw Studio Game + Tablet | Ages 5-8 4 of 10
    uDraw Studio Game + Tablet | Ages 5-8
    uDraw isn’t a game; rather, it’s a drawing tablet — similar to the Wacom you use at the office — that brings the experience of tapping and sketching with a Nintendo DS stylus to your Wii. You can’t play just any Wii game on it, of course, but with a handful of titles (including the new SpongeBob SquigglePants) available, you have some, er, colorful options.
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  • Toy Story 3 | Ages 5-8 5 of 10
    Toy Story 3 | Ages 5-8
    It might seem odd to find a video game based on a movie in a round-up of games that help nurture your kids’ creativity, but don’t sell Toy Story 3 short. Anything but passive entertainment, the game features a “sandbox” world in which kids can explore and create their own adventures, all alongside characters they already adore. The game’s available on the Wii, PS3, Xbox 350,D DS, Sony PSP, and PCs, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one for your console!
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  • Create | Ages 5-8 6 of 10
    Create | Ages 5-8
    Colorful, inviting, and simple enough for younger players to ease into, Create (for the Wii, PS3, Xbox, and computers) follows the old-school logic of the family game Mousetrap. In addition to designing your own levels, you have to find novel ways to place objects around the screen to complete objectives that get progressively crazier as the game continues.
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  • Little Big Planet 2 | Ages 9+ 7 of 10
    Little Big Planet 2 | Ages 9+
    Literally a game within a game, Little Big Planet 2 for PS3 lets you choose the way you want to experience it. Either jump, hop, and object-grab your way through the standard levels or create your own eye-popping games using built-in tools that rival anything a big-league video game developer might use (except these are way easier to manipulate).
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  • Super Scribblenauts | Ages 9+ 8 of 10
    Super Scribblenauts | Ages 9+
    For creative geniuses who are more verbal than visual, Super Scribblenauts lets you solve puzzles and change objects across its 120 levels simply by entering any noun or adjective in your vocabulary. Not to fear, Mom and Dad; the Nintendo DS game filters naughty words, turning things like “boobies” into a picture of, what else, a blue-footed bird.
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  • Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter | Ages 9+ 9 of 10
    Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter | Ages 9+
    Most adventure games simply drop you into the boots of a lead character, but in Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter for the Wii or the DS, you use on-screen painting and pasting tools to create and equip your own action hero. From there you embark on a dramatic quest to restore color to a world that’s been reduced to black and white and rescue its denizens along the way.
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  • Portal 2 | Ages 9+ 10 of 10
    Portal 2 | Ages 9+
    Portal 2 proves that if it looks like a shooting game and plays like a shooting game … it might not be a shooting game after all. True, you carry a blaster through this imaginative sci-fi adventure, but you use it to creatively move objects and open holes (read: portals) that enable you to evade enemies and slip through the walls of a world that’s also a puzzle. Kids can play this game on the PS3, Xbox, or a PC.
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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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