2010 was a robust year for games rated “E” for Everyone. We’ve outlined several choice titles for the holidays that can be gifted to and more importantly enjoyed by gamers of all ages. Everyone’s favorite plumber Mario makes a Holiday splash with several titles to mark 25 Years of Super Mario Bros. He’s also coming home with a special 25th Anniversary Edition of the DSi XL.
Other iconic characters to check out this holiday season include Mickey Mouse in Epic Mickey, Sonic the Hedgehog in Sonic Colors and Harry Potter in Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4. For family and friends who love to race, you’ll want to check out Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and Gran Turismo 5. While sporting fans will delight in NBA 2K11 and Fifa Soccer 11.
Two big 2010 gaming innovations will delight casual gamers this holiday: the Apple iPad and the Xbox 360 Kinect.
As a note, we’ve also added Rock Band 3 to the list, despite its “T” for Teen rating. The Teen rating applies primarily to the songs included on the game. This is the first time a musical sim game allows you to use both a real keyboard and a real guitar. With proper supervision of song choice, you can introduce your children to a whole new appreciation of music.
BuzzFocus 2010 Holiday Gift Guide for Gamers of All Ages:
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an action platformer for Wii that continues the space-based fun begun by the 2007 runaway hit Super Mario Galaxy. Featuring out-of-this-world platforming across a wide array of unique planets and space environments, players can go it alone as Mario or team up with his old buddy Yoshi as they platform and puzzle-solve to their hearts content. Additional key features include new and returning power-ups, special power-up abilities when teamed with Yoshi and the new drill mechanic that allows Mario burrow into and through planets.
NBA 2K11 is the latest installment in the best selling, and highest rated NBA videogame series. NBA 2K11 is the best way to plug into NBA culture. It’s the most fun, authentic NBA videogame experience and is for any sports fan with that competitive fire who wants to play the best NBA simulation on the market. It’s the NBA series that everyone is playing – from the most elite NBA athletes and superstars to the local court gym rats. NBA 2K10 delivered on its promise to TAKE OVER, and NBA 2K11 will build on that momentum by dialing up all of its features – gameplay, AI, presentation, visuals, audio, online and more – to deliver the best basketball videogame experience EVER.
Pokémon HeartGold Version and Pokémon SoulSilver Version return players to the scenic Johto region first introduced in the beloved original Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver games nearly a decade ago. The richly detailed adventure of Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver is now enhanced for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi systems with updated graphics and sound, as well as new touch-screen features and a host of surprises. Pokémon HeartGold Version and Pokémon SoulSilver Version bring dozens of Pokémon characters back into the limelight for a new Pokémon generation – and longtime fans – to catch, train and battle.
The Pokéwalker (included) is a special pedometer that you carry with you that lets you take Pokémon fun wherever you go.
Rock Band 3 is the next generation of the ultimate social and interactive music gaming platform developed by the category’s leading pioneers, Harmonix Music Systems. Featuring innovative game modes and instruments, Rock Band 3 will change the way fans think about and play music games.
Kinect brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary newways – no controller required. Easy to use and instantly fun, Kinect gets everyone off the couch moving, laughing and cheering. See a ball? Kickit. Control an HD movie with a wave of the hand. Want to join a friend in the fun? Simply jump in. With Kinect technology evaporates, letting the natural magic in all of us shine.
Disney Epic Mickey is an action-adventure platforming game for Wii™ console that sends Mickey Mouse on an epic journey of creativity and discovery. As Mickey, the player is propelled into Wasteland, an alternate world made up of Disney’s forgotten creative efforts, and is given the power to wield paint and paint thinner to dynamically change the world while determining Mickey’s path to becoming an epic hero.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is a new take on a beloved Nintendo franchise. The first Donkey Kong Country game developed for play for Wii, this new iteration blends familiar actions, levels and characters with a whole new graphical treatment and feel, as well as new control schemes and play options. Features include: a co-op play option allowing you to team up as Donkey Kong and Diddy, radically different visuals ranging from nearly 3D treatment to others that appear in silhouette, two different controller schemes and more.
The diabolical Dr. Eggman has hatched another plan for world domination! He has built an amazing interstellar amusement park, floating in space around Sonic’s home planet, bursting with incredible rides and attractions. However, all is not as it seems as Dr. Eggman has abducted an alien race called Wisps and is harnessing their colorful energy to fuel a sinister plot. However, before Dr. Eggman completes his evil plans, Sonic discovers his mysterious theme park in space. When he arrives, Sonic finds he is also able to use these alien powers and is ready to help.
Kirby’s first console platform game since the Nintendo 64™ days introduces an amazing new look based on animated yarn and a world of cloth and textiles. The creative approach is woven directly into the game play and allows the ever-morphing Kirby™ to take on a variety of new forms. It’s a one-of-a-kind platformer that lets players explore high and low for hidden objects and fun adventure.
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 brings the action, adventure and fun of the first 4 stories in the Harry Potter catalog to the video game screen in the way only the LEGO franchise can. Featuring all your favorite characters and story environments, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 lets players play as the wizard of their choice, combining them piece by piece as is only possible in the LEGO franchise of games. Play options include single player story mode, free-play and two-player co-op.
The DSi XL is the second hardware release in Nintendo’s DSi product line and is a high-powered handheld video game system with an two extra large, 4.2-inch diagonal viewing angle screens that are 93% larger than those of the DS Lite. Not only does it possess all the features of the standard DSi, it is backwards compatible to all game cards designed for the DS, DS Lite and DSi, allows for access to downloadable DSiWare games and applications through the Nintendo DSi Shop and comes bundled with three DSiWare titles. Additional features include touch screen control via the included full size, easy to hold stylus, the ability to snap, edit and share photos with friends using the two built-in digital cameras, music playback with Nintendo DSi Sound and Internet browsing with the built-in Nintendo DSi browser. From playing games to just playing around, the DSi XL does it all.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary Super Mario Bros. game franchise, Nintendo is releasing a special, DSi XL gaming system bundle for the 2010-2011 holiday season. The bundle is headlined by a beautiful special edition version of the DSi XL handheld console in Mario’s favorite color, red.
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit players will experience the thrill of the chase and the rush of the escape as they play through full careers as both a cop and a racer – solo or connected. The blistering speeds, brutal busts and heart-stopping getaways are all connected via Need for Speed Autolog. This network not only connects friends for epic head-to head pursuits and races, but also enables players to compare performances and stats, thereby setting the stage for the ultimate in friendly competition.
Mario and Donkey Kong clash in a new action-puzzle game. Mini Marios. Grab your stylus and tap the Mini-Marios to get the toys marching into action, then use the touch screen to build a safe path through over 200 puzzling levels packed with traps set by DK! Place girders across pits, build ramps, and set springs under ledges to get them safely to the goal but you better think fast – the Mini Marios won’t stop marching. Tap into a endless stream of new levels created by other players.
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is an action RPG designed specifically for handheld play on the DSi. The ninth game in the beloved Japanese Dragon Quest series, like its predecessors Sentinels of the Starry Skies features third-person oriented turn-based battles and a deep combo/multiplier system. In addition to this the game possess powerful new features including multiplayer and online functionality, extensive customization options, new play modes and a means to share content with other players.
Puzzle Quest 2 marks the return of the world’s leading puzzle adventure series and its trademark blend of match 3 gem-based gameplay and fantasy role playing. Rewarding and accessible for all levels of gamer, it is the ultimate delivery system for the mental escape that puzzle gamers seek.
The best way to experience casual gaming, the web, email, photos, and video. Hands down. All of the built-in apps on iPad were designed from the ground up to take advantage of the large Multi-Touch screen and advanced capabilities of iPad. And they work in any orientation. So you can do things with these apps that you can’t do on any other device. A large, high-resolution LED-backlit IPS display. An incredibly responsive Multi-Touch screen. And an amazingly powerful Apple-designed chip.
The next installment of the award-winning Gran Turismo simulation racing franchise, Gran Turismo 5, is designed for play exclusively to the PlayStation 3 system. Known for its signature beauty and precision, this highly anticipated racer showcases new jaw-dropping cars, real-life tracks, and diverse racing styles. Gran Turismo 5 promises to deliver exciting advancements to the series, and in the process deliver in the most comprehensive racing experience ever.
FIFA Soccer 11 is the 18th game in Electronic Arts’ popular video game soccer series. Continuing with the franchise’s unique blend of realism and innovative features that bring the authenticity to the video game pitch that fans crave, FIFA Soccer 11 is an exciting must-have title for both longtime and existing fans of console sports gaming. Game features include: a roster of over 15,000 real players represented in-game, the Personality+ system which mirrors the abilities of every player imported into the game, all-new passing abilities, finer dribbling controls, extensive customization options and more.