Friday, December 17, 2010

Three Great Video Game Gifts for Boys, Teens, and Tweens

When it comes to buying Christmas gifts for the tweens, teens, and boys on my gift-giving list, I’m more likely to give them a video game than something green because I want their gift to be meaningful to them. It's hard to find a green gift for older kids that they'd actually like and use beyond a t-shirt, which they already have tons of.

Being influenced by their Dad, two uncles, and World’s Most Fabulous Aunt (that’s me) who all work in IT, I know that the boys will actually use and enjoy a video game. I can almost guarantee that if I give them something green just for greenness sake, like hemp gym towels, those towels will never make into their gym bags. (Although I would enjoy a set of hemp bath towels if you’re listening Santa.)

I stick with giving Wii games because at least with a Wii you have to jump around and move to play the game. Depending upon the game, you might get a bit of exercise and drain a bit of hyper boy energy in the process.

For the sake of the children (heh), Husband and I have been buying and testing Wii games for Christmas. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Raving Rabbids Travel in TimeRaving Rabbids Travel in Time by Ubisoft  Rated E (for Everyone)– Husband and I love playing Raving Rabbids TV Party. I couldn’t wait for the new release Raving Rabbids Travel in Time. I gave a happy Rabbid like, “BwwwAAAAAAAAAAAH!” when a sample showed up at my door (now the Fed Ex guys runs away quickly after dropping off  all deliveries.) The Rabbids (as in insane little guys) don’t say bad words and generally yell Bwwwaah! Gwwaah! Daaaah!, etc. because they are either falling, causing trouble, about to fall because they are already in trouble.

In this game, the Rabbids time travel in a washing machine. They break things, like the nose off of the Spinx in ancient Eygpt and generally and mess up history. You have to play the games with the controller and numchuck to (hopefully) put things back to rights. There are the similar types of flying games, bouncing games, dance games, and shooting games as in the other Rabbid titles that we’ve know and come to love. One thing about the shooting games, the Rabbids weapon of choice is a toilet plunger gun. Things shot don’t die horribly like in other games. More often than not the injured party walks around with plungers stuck on them like some sort of demented porcupine and then disappears.

The thing Husband and I like most about Raving Rabbids Travel in Time is the party mode. It’s appropriate to bring with us to play on extended family get togethers and we all enjoy it because it’s so silly. Which is saying something because I have nine nieces and nephews from 5 months to 17 years.  You can play with up to four players and the games are short enough that it doesn’t take all night to play. Travel in Time is fun to play alone but even better if you play it in a group.

  • SwordsSwords by Mesjesco Entertainment rated T (for Teens) – I took a fencing class in college and later did stage combat with a sword. The review copy of Swords appeals to me because I’m terrible at games that shoot things or use with a traditional controller. In Swords, you are being trained by Sensei Musashi to eventually fight various opponents (Lanelot, a Viking, a futuristic robot) who use a variety of fighting styles and swords. 

This game is a workout! Just like in real life, I’d rather get my exercise dancing or playing a game or  fencing. Swords is definitely for older teens and adults because you have to fight opponents and zombies and it is violent. The game works with the Wii motion plus controllers which adds a little extra to the game when you play. Swords has a two player mode which can be tough if you have a small living room to play in.  I think this game is fine for adults and teens (depending upon your teen) but it stays out of view at my house when the younger kids come over.

  • Mario Kart Wii with Wii WheelMario Kart Wii by Ninetendo  rated  (for Everyone) – After playing endless games of Mario Kart Wii with Mr. H over Thanksgiving, Husband went right out and bought Mario Kart Wii as soon as we got home. This is something Husband doesn’t normally do; he’d wait and ask for it for Christmas, which means this game is something special. 

We bought the steering wheel version which is a little easier than the nonsteering wheel version Mr. H has, but both versions are playable and enjoyable. Well, as enjoyable as it came be being trounced by a 9 year old during every. single. race. 

You can play Mario Kart Wii in single player or multi player mode. You play as almost any character in the Mario universe and select your vehicle. The race courses are twisty and with road hazards that you’d only find in the Mario universe like driving over a series of toadstools which is really hard to do without crashing! The thing that made us adults go back to Mario Kart Wii from a NASCAR driving game after Mr. H went to bed, is the power ups and the ability to leave a trail of banana peals and other sabotages for your appointments. Husband and I both agree after playing the game that we’d actually enjoy NASCAR if it was more like Mario Kart Wii.

What are your favorite Wii games? I need some ideas since Husband already bought himself the game I wanted to give him for Christmas!

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