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Best for the Real Little Ones: Start the Party at Amazon
"A fantastic way to first reveal to your young ones the magic of gaming."
Best for the Mini-Game Lovers: Carnival Island at store.playstation.com
"Virtual Skee-Ball, Pop-a-Shot, and more carny favorites recreate the nostalgic experience of going to the arcade."
Best for the Dancers: Michael Jackson: The Experience at Amazon
"With both single and multi-player options, this game makes for the perfect dance party experience."
Best for the Movie Fans: Toy Story 3 at gamestop.com
"Take a deeper glimpse inside the world of Toy Story 3's lead characters than you would in the movie."
Best for the Middle Schoolers: PlayStation Move Heroes at Amazon
"A great introduction to the idea to co-op play: siblings can team up as one of the legendary duos."
Photo from Amazon
Released at the launch of the Move, "Start the Party" introduces the whole family to the basic functionality of the new technology and was even bundled with systems in Japan. It’s a remarkably simple game in which the PlayStation Eye (which comes with the Move) serves as a camera and the developers basically overlay the game on an image of whatever is happening in your living room. Like most kids' games, the Move becomes something that can mimic understood actions – swing a tennis racket, move a paintbrush, etc. The idea that a kid can hold an object (the Move controller) and then that object can be turned into something magical in a virtual world is one of the building blocks for the entire concept of video games. It’s a fantastic way to first reveal to your young ones the magic of gaming.
Virtual Skee-Ball, Pop-a-Shot, and more carny favorites recreate the nostalgic experience of going to the arcade. Kids of a certain age love to play the same game over and over again, just trying to beat their own high score, which is one of the main reasons arcades existed in the first place. Just ask the inventor of Whack-a-Mole! The fun of being entranced by the same repetitive joy for hours on end is recreated in this entertaining, yet simple title that mimics a trip to the carnival complete with unlockable treats and prizes to be won.
Have someone in the family that likes to dance? Perhaps the most stunning gaming development in the last few years has been the success of games designed to get people to move their feet. Who would have guessed that an industry initially built around sedentary teenagers sitting on couches with controllers in their hands would eventually evolve into parties of kids bouncing around to the beats of “Billie Jean”?
Video games based on movies are generally horrendous, but this one is an exception and a great bridge between your kids’ favorite animated trilogy and the machine that they probably use to watch it on Blu-ray. The developers of the "Toy Story 3" game wisely don’t try to copy the action of the Oscar-winning film. Instead, they give fans a world in which they can play with their favorite characters from the Pixar franchise. The game requires a lot of controller-based action, but it also includes Move-based missions, making it a great example of how a family game can merge both traditional controls and new technology.
"Playstation Move Heroes" brings classic Sony characters like Jak and Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper to the new technology, allowing players to pick their favorites and work together to complete more than four dozen levels. It’s a great introduction to the idea of co-op play as siblings can team up as one of the legendary duos – one kid plays Jak and the other Daxter, for example. While the story is paper-thin and the title is essentially just a series of mini-games disguised as levels, this is a great introduction to not just these award-winning franchises, but also the entire world of Sony entertainment.