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What's a family to do? Family Video Games
The dawn of the video game age is upon us. There was a time, long ago, when families sat together at the table or in front of the television and enjoyed laughter or comfortable silence. Now, the 'rents work long hours, the kids have homework or hang out with their friends. When you finally get the whole gang together, no one can agree what to do (or they're too engrossed in their Facebook farm on their iPhone or Blackberry).
So what's a family to do when they want to have family time together? You may be surprised, but the answer is play a game together. The answer isn't a new one, really; when board games were standard, some folks did have a family game night. The idea is still the same, just the medium is different. But there are so many video games out there - some for kids, some for adults, and some for the in-betweeners. So what's a family video game that everyone will enjoy?
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Console games & the 360
The question first starts with what do you have? Do you owe any games consoles, like the XBox 360 or a Wii? For 360, there's the fan favorite Rock Band. Sing and play like a real band, but without the messy breakups. With older kids, you can create the family band and go on the game's tour mode; if playing with younger kids, you can rotate instrument and singer positions (teaches the kids about sharing); you may also find out if you have a budding musician in the making. With the variety of flavors, you'll be able to introduce your kids to the music you grew up with (like the Beatles or The Who), while your kids can show you what's hip in today's world (MIranda Cosgrove, the upcoming No Doubt download, and the upcoming Green Day expansion)
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There are of course tons of family fun games for the Nintendo Wii, but most of these seem to be two player, which works if there's a 'boys day' or a 'girls day' at home, but not when the whole family is home. A favorite is Mario Kart Wii. If you've played any version of Mario Kart, idea is the same, however you can actually have a wheel and the tracks are more colorful and challenging. A greater bonus is if you have created different Miis on the console. You can see some of them on certain tracks and at a certain level, you'll be able to choose your own Mii as a driver.
Is everyone a Star Wars or Indiana Jones fan? Lego has a game for you. You may think it's childish, but there's humor in both that parents will find funny too. Pick the Lego Star Wars complete saga to play through all six movies and play in co-op mode for all. The game has replayability as there are many things to be found, characters to be unlocked, etc. Besides, why would you want to make Lego Chewy mad?
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Now, if the family doesn't have a console, but everyone has a computer, that's a little tougher as you have to choose games that are age appropriate for your kids. If you have pre-teens or teens, you may want to invest in games that can be played over a network, like Civilization or Age of Empires. There are also many free and paid massive multiple online games (MMOs or MMORPGs) that you can play together.
For younger children, you may just share the computer for that time. It may require some rearranging, but if you have a large monitor and a wireless keyboard and mouse, you can sit across the room and play along with your kids.
Family game night has changed slightly, but there are still games in which the family can play together. The medium is different, but the fun that you have together is still the same.