GameZone's 2013 Holiday Gift Guide for Gamers - Kids and Family
There's nothing better than watching tears of joy from a child's face as they open that video game they've been wanting. The holidays are the perfect time to gift memories and family time to your kids. The following list of games, movies and toys are just things waiting to be bought. They're moments that you'll only get to experience with them for so long. It's watching them beat a Mario level for the first time. Or you helping them build a house in Minecraft. It's spending movie night together or racing around Cinderella's Castle located in the heart of Radiator Springs. Make memories this holiday season with these gifts...
This is the perfect game for the whole family to enjoy. Disney Infinity combines all of your favorite Disney and Pixar characters -- from Buzz Lightyear to Jack Skellington -- and lets you decide how you want to play. There are two components to Disney Infinity: Toy Box mode and the Play Sets. Play Sets are eight-hour adventures themed around a single movie. In these, you can only use characters that belong to that movie as you complete missions and unlock items for use in Toy Box Mode.
Toy Box mode is where all the magic happens. Players build their own worlds and adventures to play around in. Any character is useable here, and you can create your own race tracks, platformers, sports games -- you name it! Disney Infinity can get pricey if you want all of the characters (they are sold individually, like with Skylanders), but there are plenty of deals on the Starter Pack, which includes the game, the Infinity base, a power disc, three Play Sets (Monsters University, The Incredibles and Pirates of the Caribbean) and three figures (Jack Sparrow, Sulley and Mr. Incredible).
I have a four-year-old, and he spends most of his time in Toy Box mode, mainly because it's easier for him. He can create and play how he wants to, making his own games and stories. Sometimes we just run around in pre-made worlds and play tag. It's all about making your own fun.
Skylanders SWAP Force
Like the last two Skylanders games, SWAP Force uses figures that you buy separately. Skylanders SWAP Force is the best, prettiest, most-accessible Skylanders game yet. It's a fun action-adventure game that is appropriate for gamers of all ages. The catch with the new SWAP Force figures is that the top and bottom halves of the figures are interchangeable. You create new Skylanders by combining different tops and bottoms. Not only does that create new characters with unique skillsets, but it opens up new areas for Skylanders of different combinations to access. I play with my son, and while he can run around and fight enemies with me, the puzzles and some of the platforming parts are too hard for him. That said, Skylanders are as hot as ever, and any kid would love getting it for the holidays.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes combines multiple things that kids and adults will love: LEGO and the most popular super heroes that the Marvel universe has to offer. Featuring exciting action, puzzles, visuals and humor, Marvel Super Heroes takes everything that LEGO Batman 2 did and improves. There's over 100 characters to play as and you can replay each mission whenever you want to get more bricks and unlock more characters. Kids will also enjoy the game HUB, which is an open-world New York City. In-between missions, you can switch characters, perform tasks, complete side missions, race, or just explore. Coming off of all of the popular Marvel movies -- especially The Avengers -- there's tons to love about this game.
Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U is the best Mario game in quite some time. Its gorgeous graphics and vibrant colors are easy on the eyes, and it's a great choice if you're looking for a game multiple people can play at once. Supporting up to four players, the levels have an open layout that begs to be explored. Fun platforming and tons of power ups are a success for excitement. If you have a Wii U -- especially if you're one of the lucky 100 that got one for free by flying Southwest -- this is a must-purchase game!
A vibrant art style with a hand-painted quality to them. Upbeat, make you wanna get up and dance music. Some of the best platforming you can find in all of gaming. Rayman Legends has all of these things and more. Earning a 10/10 in our review, Rayman Legends is that bar that every other action platformer should strive to reach. It's available on multiple consoles, so there's many ways to access the awesomeness of Rayman Legends.
Wii Party U
Wii Party U, perfect for any Wii U owner with kids, is going to get your family active. Not as active as Wii Fit U might, but still pretty active. Wii Party U features a collection of mini-games for up to four players. I haven't played a ton of it, but one of the games I did play had my son and his friend running to a GamePad place on the floor, scooping water from a stream, walking to the TV, and then filling up a jar. They loved it. For young gamers, they're gonna have a riot with Wii Party U.
Whether you're getting the Xbox 360 Edition or the PC version, kids love Minecraft. It's this generation's LEGOs. Ages four and up -- all the way to adults -- are going to love this game. And if you get the 360 version, you can play together on the same couch. It's crafting and building a world. Adventuring and then retreating to your shelter at night to avoid skeletons and creepers. It's hitting sheep with a block of wood and listening to it 'bah' while your kids cackle maniacally. It's Minecraft. And you can't go wrong getting this for your kids.
Does your child love the Cars movies? Mine does. He's obsessed with them. So, naturally, he loves Planes, which takes place in the Cars universe. It features some of the fastest planes in a race around the world. Among them is a small-town crop duster that has dreams of being a racer. The one problem is that he's afraid of heights. It's not Pixar's best work, but it was entertaining. Needless to say, kids love it.
Animated racing movies are really popular among kids. DreamWorks' take on it features snails. That's right, snails. One snail in particular, Turbo, that gets sucked into the supercharger of a drag racer and comes away from it with super speed. Again, not the most amazing movie, but definitely enjoyable for kids.
Monster's University is the prequel to Monsters Inc. that shows how Mike and Sulley met in college. It centers around both of them in Scare School trying to become scarers. But after getting kicked out of the program, their only way back in is to join a fraternity of outcasts and win the Scare Games -- the annual competition featuring a series of challenges. It really is entertaining and enjoyable, and I found it very underrated. If you're a fan of Pixar or Monsters Inc., this present is a no-brainer.
Despicable Me 2
Here it is... the movie my son and I enjoyed the most this year. Despicable Me 2 has laugh out loud moments and those adorable minions that everyone loves. If you're going to gift one movie to your kids this holiday season, this needs to be the one.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animate series is great. Is it as good as the cartoon that I grew up with? No way -- #nostalgia -- but it's really great. It has an awesome storyline line, the animation is gorgeous, and it feels fresh. Each episode has been fantastic, and it's given my son his favorite two words to say: butt sandwich. The first season is divided into three DVDs, which you can find here: Rise of the Turtles, Enter Shredder, and Ultimate Showdown.
Sophia the First
Yea, I'm a grown man, and I watch Sophia the First. I don't know a child under the age of five that doesn't love Disney Junior's Sophia the First. Heck, I don't know a parent that doesn't like it. If you have a daughter, or son because I'm not one for typical gender norms, you can get everything from dresses and outfits to toys and the DVDs of Sophia the First right HERE.
LEGO Ninjago or Legends of Chima
If you want to get less video games for your children and prefer them to play with the real thing, two of the hottest LEGO sets you could go with are Ninjago and Legends of Chima. Ninjago is a line of LEGO sets that has an accompanying computer-animated series. It centers on the world of Ninjago and features ninjas, mechs, vehicles, serpents, skeletons and more.
Legends of Chima also has an accompanying TV series. Chima is a land filled with anthropomorphic animals like eagles, lions, crocodiles, wolves, ravens and gorillas. There was peace and a state of balance in Chima, but now the tribes have divided into two factions in a war over Chi, a mystical energy source that gives energy to animals and special powers to them and their vehicles. The toy line has a fantasy theme to it, with vehicles and swords and all of the tribes are represented in great fashion.
Bill Murray Kid's Tee
It's Bill Murray. Does it need a better reason? Your kid could be the coolest kid in school with the Chive's Bill Murray Kid's Tee. I don't care if they don't know who Bill Murray is! Them wearing the shirt is more for you than it is for them anyway!
Minecraft Kid's Shirt
Remember what I wrote about kids loving Minecraft? The same stands true for anything Minecraft-related. So this shirt is a great gift IF you have to get your kids clothing.
Super Hero Kid's Hoodie
It's winter. Keep your kids warm with one of these awesome themed-hoodies of some of the best characters to ever appear in comics, cartoons, movies, books and TV.
Be sure to check out all of the other awesome gifts, games and consoles in GameZone's 2013 Holiday Gift Guide for Gamers (Click on the image below).