Dads Electronics Entertainment Games Holiday 2011 Kids Misc Play Time

A Wii Under the Tree

Don’t get pulled into the thinking that the only good gifts are brand new. There are lots of great gift ideas that have been around for a while and guess what – they are still awesome. Take the Wii for example. Originally released in 2006, the Wii is still the worldwide leader in gaming console sales with new games being released throughout the year. The nice thing about the Wii is it can appeal to the whole family. There are sports games, fitness programs, games for kids, teens and adults ranging from driving, cooking and surgery to music, dancing and of course destroying alien invaders.

And it keeps getting better. Current Wii consoles are shipping with the brand new Wii Plus remote with built-in MotionPlus technology (it used to be a separate, add-on accessory). This new hyper-sensitive remote controls your Wii games with the natural, fluid movement of your hand, without having to think about pressing a button. You get better control with less work. A win-win.

There are also a bunch of recently-released Wii games that will make a perfect pair with a Wii console.

Barbie: Jet, Set & Style: Budding style mavens will jump at the chance to perfect their hair, makeup, nail and fashion skills. Travel around the world with Barbie picking up style tips from Paris and London to Tokoyo and Moscow. Hone your glamor skills to win the ultimate prize – styling Barbie herself for an international fashion show! Rated E (THQ)

Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident: New to Wii for the first time is the exciting hidden object puzzle play of the Mystery Case File series. Scour the island, locate hidden objects and use clues to solve inventive puzzles throughout the game. My kids love the I Spy-style of this game, and while it was too hard for them to play alone, it was a great family game using our collective detective skills and eyesight. Rated E (Nintendo)

Family Game Night 4: Your kids may think that board games are soooo old school, but now you can introduce your kids to your favorites – with a twist! With Family Game Night 4, you’ll be off the couch and laughing as you choose between CONNECT 4 Basketball, YATZHEE! Bowling, SCRABBLE Flash, BOP-IT Boptagon, and SORRY! Sliders. My kids were hooked on YATZHEE! Bowling having just learned how to do both parts separately in the last few months. This was a great game to enjoy as a the whole family! Rated E (EA)

Monster High Ghoul Spirit: If your daughter loves the Monster High dolls, they’ll be of fan of Ghoul Spirit where they can work to become the coolest ghoul in school by making friends, building a reputation, doing all sorts of “creeptastic” activities and more. Select your hair, skin, and outfit to create your own creepy character and do you best to win the ultimate prize – winning the title of Scream Queen. Rated E (THQ)

Wii Play Motion: If you already have a Wii, this is a great introduction to the Wii Plus remote which comes bundled with the game that highlights all of the new remote’s hyper-sensitive capabilities. With 12 mini games to choose from like Jump Park, Skip Skimmer and Treasure Twirl, the games are easy enough for younger kids to play while still offering enough challenge for adults. Rated E 10+ (Nintendo)

Rayman Origins: From the creator of Rayman, Beyond Good & Evil and the Raving Rabbids, comes Rayman Origins. Choose from over 100 characters while you adventure through 12 beautifully drawn worlds and over 60 levels attempting to save their home, the Glade of Dreams, from trouble. Pick up important skills like swimming, diving, slapping and of course the “HairlyCopter” in an attempt save the Glade and defeat the enemy. A fun game for older kids and adults alike. Rated E 10+ (Ubisoft)

Skylanders – Spyro’s Adventure Starter Pack: This unique game comes with three creature action-figures called Skylanders and a “Portal of Power” that syncs with the console and “teleports” the creature into the game. Each Skylander has a different ability or power and remembers its place in the game – even if you use it on a different console. Use your Skylander’s special power to battle Kaos, an evil tyrant, and protect your homeland.  A multiple player function allows you to join forces with a friend or battle head-to-head. Plus you can expand the game by purchasing separate Adventure Packs. And the Skylanders are perfect entertainment on their own. Rated E10+. (Activision)

Add on the new uDraw Tablet from THQ and you can try out these new games.

Pictionary – Ultimate Edition: You know the game, but not like this! Pictionary Ultimate takes drawing to a whole new level. Play regular Pictionary with over 3,000 drawing clues (junior and adult levels) or try out Pictionary Mania with crazy drawing modes like tool confusion, eraser only and rotation frustration where the screen rotates while you’re trying to draw! Plus when you’re done playing, the free draw mode is perfect to hone your skills. Rated E (THQ)

Spongebob Squigglepants: Join Spongebob, his friends and the president of the Spongebob fan club, Patchy the Pirate, in this dizzying adventure of more than 100 fast-paced mini-games and challenges. The games are easy enough for younger kids, but the time limits add an element of challenge for older kids too. You can also draw, paint and color tons of never-before-seen images of Spongebob from the Nickelodeon vaults. A must-have for Spongebob aficionados. Rated E. (THQ)

Disney Princess – Enchanting Storybooks: Budding artists can bring color and life to scenes from their favorite Disney princess movies staring Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Tiana. With over 100 coloring pages, activities, sticker pages and stories, your little princess will have fun recreating her favorite scenes from her favorites stories. Sadly this one was lost on my boys, but I admit I had fun reliving some of my own Disney memories. Rated E. (THQ)

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Note: MWS was not paid for this review. Samples were provided for the review.

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