GAMES FOR THE FAMILY
PIKMIN 3 DELUXE (Switch)
This remaster of the classic Wii U title brings that series to a whole new audience that may have missed it before. Guide your adorable Pikmin through a beautifully rendered planet filled with plant life, weird creatures, and all the fruit you can drink. This new deluxe edition comes with all new content as well for those that played through the first time, and with a great co-op mode it’ll be a blast to play with your loved ones as you relax after opening all the gifts. (Rated E10+)
ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS (Switch)
If there is any game that will be associated with the year 2020 when we look back, it will undoubtedly be Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The game was released right as the world was shutting down and gave players both a calming world to relax in as well as a communal experience to discuss with all their friends. This game truly took the world by storm, and if you somehow haven’t started your island vacation yet, now is the perfect time to jump in. (Rated E)
HYRULE WARRIORS: AGE OF CALAMITY (Switch)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the greatest games of all time. Period. #Facts. Any chance to go back to that world is a welcome one, and Age of Calamity is taking players back to 100 years before the events of that game to see the history behind that world. This game isn’t an RPG though, and instead ratchets up the action as you hack and slash your way through hundreds of enemies at a time. A definite must have for Zelda fans and anyone hungry for more Switch games this year. (Rated T)
MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN: MILES MORALES (PS5, PS4)
The original Marvel’s Spider-Man game for the PlayStation 4 was one of most thrilling superhero games ever made, and while this “spin-off” style follow up is a much smaller experience (clocking in at between 6-10 hours) it makes up for it’s shorter playtime with tons of heart pounding action and fantastic characters. For many players, Miles Morales is their Spider-Man, so to see him finally get the spotlight all to himself is fantastic. It’s a game that both kids and parents will love to play. (Rated T)
MINECRAFT DUNGEONS (Switch, XB1, XBX, PS4, PC))
Minecraft is one of the most popular franchises in the history of gaming, and this new title takes those familiar characters and worlds and drops them into a great co-op dungeon crawler. Up to 4 players can join up to hack, slash, and blow up zombies and creepers together. It’s the perfect game for the family to enjoy together and is a great gateway game to introduce your younger gamers to new and more complicated games. (Rated E10+)
BUGNSAX (PS5, PS4, PC)
From the same bizarre minds that brought you Octodad, Bugsnax is a goofy, weird, and fun romp that has you chomping on all sorts of half bug, half food critters. It’s kind of tough to describe what makes this game so unique, so you’re better off just checking out one of the trailers to get a true sense of the magic of Bugsnax. While some of the subject matter might go over the heads of your youngsters, the whacky characters will be enough to pull them in and have you all singing that song. (Rated E10+)
GAMES FOR MOM AND DAD
CYBERPUNK 2077 (PS4, XB1, PC)
One of the most anticipated games of the entire generation, Cyberpunk 2077 is the next game from acclaimed developer CD Projekt Red (The Witcher series) and places gamers in a grim, wild future where anything you want is just a cybernetic enhancement away. It promises to be one of the biggest and most beautiful open world games in recent memory and is the perfect game to play after the kids go to sleep. Also it has Keanu Reeves, which could be reason enough to check it out. (Rated M)
ASSASSIN’S CREED VALHALLA (PS5, PS4, XB1, XSX, Stadia, PC)
The latest entry in the long running series puts players in the shoes of Eivor, a Viking warrior staking their claim in England. This game will both feel at home to veterans of the Assassin’s Creed series, but also feels fresh with new mechanics like the ability to upgrade your settlement and recruit new Vikings to man your longboat and accompany you on raids. With stunning vistas and a compelling story, it’s a great world to get lost in for a 100 hours or so. (Rated M)
GHOST OF TSUSHIMA (PS4)
Speaking of Assassin’s Creed, one of the most requested features of that game has been a trip to feudal Japan, and since Ubisoft hasn’t made the trip developer Sucker Punch decided to make that game for them. Ghost pretty unapologetically mimics that series’ popular gameplay, but also adds a stunning visual style to give the game it’s own identity. There are no shortage of large, open world games to play this year (and plenty are on this list), but don’t skip out on this one if you enjoy the genre. (Rated M)
TONY HAWK PRO SKATER 1 & 2 (PS4, XB1, PC)
Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. This fantastic remake of the glory days of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater will have you reliving the glory days of the 90’s as you strap on your Vans and crank the Goldfinger tunes. It’s amazing how quickly the muscle memory returns when you start grinding rails and collecting letters to spell out S.K.A.T.E., even after a couple of decades. Perfect for old school fans and new players alike, it’s a great game for both parents and kids alike. (Rated T)
HARDWARE AND ACCESSORIES
TURTLE BEACH STEALTH 700 GEN 2 HEADSET
A great gaming headset is one of those items that makes a huge difference when using them, but many players often don’t splurge on a pair for themselves. That’s why they make such a great gift for the holidays! The new Stealth 700’s from Turtle Beach are both fantastic sounding and easy to use. They pair effortlessly to your hardware and you can control the tiny details from the accompanying phone app meaning you can tweak the sound to just the way you like it.
OCULUS QUEST 2
VR has had a bumpy road these past few years. Hurdles like cumbersome wires, a high price point, and the need to be tethered to a PC or console have prevented it from truly living up to it’s potential. Well the new Oculus Quest 2 aims to solve all of those problems for a very attractive $299 price point. You won’t need any other piece of technology to enjoy these games with everything included in the box, it’s truly the cheapest, easiest, and best way to get into VR this year. As long as you’re okay with having the necessary Facebook account.
SEAGATE STORAGE EXPANSION CARD FOR XBOX SERIES X/S
Next gen consoles are fantastic. The 4k visuals, ray tracing, and 120fps add up to games looking and playing better than they have before. It also means that those extra features are making game files bigger than they ever have before. Thankfully if you’re playing on a new Xbox there are a few options for quickly filling hard drives. You could buy a USB external hard drive to store your extra games for sure, but if you want them to take full advantage of the hardware’s features, invest in a solid state expansion card to make sure you have plenty of room for all the games your family gets under the tree.
HALO TOY LINE
While Halo Infinite slipped from the Fall 2020 schedule for Xbox, it’s clear that they were going to have a big push behind the game with the loads of Halo related marketing and new products on store shelves. You can find all sorts of cool toys like a Mega Construx Master Chief Helmet, MA40 Nerf gun, and a fantastic Best Buy exclusive Master Chief statue. Just because you won’t be stomping Grunts until 2021 doesn’t mean you can’t still have a Very Halo Christmas.
GIFT GIVING TIPS
Here are few extra tips to help your holidays go off without a hitch!
- It might be a good idea to open up any new consoles or games to get everything installed before the kids open them. The process can sometimes take hours depending on your internet speeds and this way you know everything is ready to roll when the wrapping paper gets torn off.
- If you’re getting a new Xbox console, there really isn’t a better gift idea than a subscription to Game Pass. The “Netflix of gaming” gives you access to hundreds of games, both new and older, for a low monthly price.
- If you aren’t sure if your kid wanted Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War or Call of Duty Modern Warfare… don’t guess. Buy a gift card. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and with digital downloads you don’t need to wait until the stores are open again to redeem it! They can use the gift card right away.